Posts Tagged ‘jean barker’

“Blades”

July 9, 2011

This is where I’ve been… yep, off making movies again. This time shot on location at the awesome Viviane’s Salon, Blades is a dark comedy about a hairdresser who discovers that her best friend is having an affair with her husband, and decides to give her a haircut she’ll dun dun dun NEVER FORGET. Okay, it’s a little more subtle than that really.

Anyhow, I wrote and directed this film as part of Chapman’s summer project run by the awesome prof David Kost, and it was a blast. Busy working on a rough assembly of it as we speak.

Ezra, amazing AC, and an even better AD, a director at the school, earned himself the nickname Ezra "ACD" Lunel over the course of our two-day shoot. And lookeee... my name's on the board. For take six of a very tricky shot involving mirrors, and a handheld 360 turn with a shoulder rig while both the DP and the actress were moving. But ya... we nailed it on this one.

I had amazing actresses Elyse Russel as Viviane, and Camilla Froude as Milly. Had two ADs – Donte Murry (Monday 4th) and Ezra Lunel (Tuesday 5th). Alex Griffin was my awesome DP, with John Nodorft and James Jeffrey gaffing (Mon, Tues). Jessica Goldberg took care of script supervision and continuity, with her boyfriend Steve took care of crafty and gripped and played UPM. Travis Brown (a  hire in via Mandy.com) did an amazing job on Sound. Dan McDonald showed up to help pack up on Tuesday. And Viviane Buchanan (the owner) gets most of the credit for production design, hair, and advising the Elyse on how to look authentic when holding the scissors and cutting hair. I’d also like to thank Paul’s Products for a discount on the wig and Valentino’s for the extra stuff they sent us for Monday lunch. It will not be forgotten when I’m famous, or even on the way up.

A movie is never, ever just yours. And by the time Aaron Sanchez (who also helped polish my 789) has helped me edit it? It’ll be a lot of people’s film. And I love that about this business.

A few negative notes…

I learned this the hard way. Never hire someone without an interview, ideally face to face. Those involved in the production know the details of why I say that. I have removed them to spare Chapman University harassment from a certain individual. I will also be deleting (disabling, actually, as I need them for legal reasons) his abusive and defamatory comments from this blog post’s comments. This is now a matter for the police.

A bunch of our equipment was stolen while we closed the door for sound to do a take. Dear whoever you are: Since it’s not the kind of equipment you’d use for anything except film, and is barcoded and digitally identifiable as belonging to Dodge, that was really dumb of you. If it’s in your possession, drop if off anywhere. The police will return it to us. If you are offered Flags, C-Stands, and a Kino box with bulbs but no Kino, think twice before buying it on Ebay. It’s stolen. Oh, and these two call came through from someone (on a hidden number) faking a really bad accent and pretending to be the thief. Voice recognition will show who you really are. Until then…

Corny but true – South African pride at Atlanta Airport

May 26, 2011

I spotted my first South African on the high-speed railway platform underground between A and E… unmistakeable without her even opening her mouth. And I can’t tell you how I knew she was South African. I just knew.

Then I knew I’d arrived at my departure gate. The last one in the last terminal. With a giant Mielie to mark it.

And in our sports colours... no coincidence there.

And as the guy at the Delta desk said “All those with South African passports” a giant cheer rose up. It was really sweet.

Yep. Careful.

Next, Please

May 18, 2011

I’m switching to a directing emphasis in my MFA, while continuing with screenwriting too. So almost double the workload for me, which I’m gonna love. And this also made me a lot more nervous at the screening of this project. I felt people would be sneering at me: “She sucks. What is she thinking?!” I finally understand why my director friends don’t enjoy going to their screenings. When it’s up there massive on a movie screen with real sound, every flaw is obvious. And the good stuff looks so much more incredibly good… except when the movie is a porn movie. Then it’s just gross. Nothing grosser than a pubic pimple the size of your head. This isn’t, though. A pubic pimple. Or porn.

Compression, or my monitor, has made this all look woefully pink. It looked a lot better playing from blu-ray full size. And the my killertracks.com credit is missing. Something happened on the cutting room floor / buggy lab! Anyhow, the music is all from killertracks.com, who are amazing.

I learned a lot making this film: about actors, about working with editors, about stress, about directing, about cinematographers, about the people in my team for this project – Alex, Dan, John and Kennedy. We literally laughed and cried. Or at least, I did. And not only when I had PMT.

The result of all this tears and trauma? Four minutes. A fun little piece about a teenage girl who goes to get birth control, and encounters a really weird guy in the waiting room… With Matt Green, Claire Gordon-Harper and Dalia Perla, cinematography by John Nodorft, edited by Dan McDonald. I wrote and directed this for my Production II 16mm 3-2-1 project (3 pages, 2 characters, 1 location).

No blogging. Filming in progress.

April 22, 2011

I haven’t been blogging. I’ve been working instead.

The door to the set of the short I wrote and directed. Each person in our group of five made one, worked on each others and on other people's. It's been a busy Spring "break". Thanks Alex Griffin for the photo.


Back next week.

Brothers and Sisters of America* – The overflow of the News24 Column

April 1, 2011

So it’s that time of the month again. Yes, you guessed it. My column for News24 hits the virtual stands. This latest is sure to lead to an online hazing for me, as they all do. Last time people got so mad they started insulting my teeth. Is it true? Are straight teeth more important to most Americans than the words that come out of my mouth? I kind like my skew teeth, along with my lumpy nose-profile. Screw you guys. They’re cute. They’re unique. They’re… cheaper. My parents spent the braces money sending me for music lessons instead and I’m glad they did. I also changed my column photo…

Grade this! I give it an A for Attitude and a D for Doggy. Whatever... I got your attention right? The only connection with my column topic is that the guy is a member of a Fraternity that got into trouble recently for a sexist email circulating... And no, that is NOT me in the photo. Don't you even read the like, news in South Africa? OMG WTF ROFL.

So, this week’s column is about Sororities, and Fraternities, and other Greek stuff. Greek means something totally different here to what it means in SA, although you wouldn’t guess that by looking at the picture above. What… you’re still looking at the picture. Oh, I’m sorry. Whenever you’re done… (Perezhilton has all the details but one: where the girl goes to school. The answer is UCLA – who also have a pretty good film school. Personally I don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, they’re consenting adults. And I bet having sex on a roof is awesome. I bet you’re all just jealous. Nothing this exciting ever happens at my school, Chapman… although we did just score some film school brownie points thanks to a recent announcement that we’re going to be making and distributing five low-budget student features every year. For more on that, go to this LA Times link.)

So, I did do my research, as you can see. Only joking, I also went to Wikipedia. And I googled it. And I didn’t watch Dying to Belong cause I know it’s a bunch of bullcrap. And I asked people what they thought. Most of them declined to comment, probably because they’ve read my column before.

Here’s this month’s column:

Brothers and Sisters of America
I was driving to a movie date with another student when a girl without pants stumbled in front of my car.
..
Read it on news24

Here are some of the things people said on the topic.

Michael McClelland – @magicmike1313 on twitter
Michael may let me publish his full comment. Here’s part of what he said…
“I enjoyed your perspective on fraternities and sororities. I would caution, however, that the more sensational stories about them tend to get most of the headlines and are often untrue. Hazing is universally banned in the Greek community, and though it still obviously occurs, that is almost always the fault of the school’s policies and not the fraternity/sorority. The second hazing is reported in any chapter of any nationally (“internationally” haha) recognized Greek institution, it is shut down, usually with a zero-tolerance policy. We had two chapters in our region accused of hazing and both were closed for five years, at which point they could be invited back on – but on probation. Similar punishments occur for drinking offenses, low GPAs, or any kind of sexual misconduct. I had to jump out of the window of my own fraternity house with two bottles of beer taped to my hands (Edward 40-hands) so that we wouldn’t lose our charter.”

Right. So it happens, but not legally. And it’s the school’s fault for not stopping it. All I want to know, is what kind of misconduct he was being punished for. I bet Perezhilton wants to know, too. Unfortunately I only got Mike’s stuff after I’d submitted. I encouraged him to publish a full version somewhere, if not on my blog.

Rose Cohen @rose_cohen on twitter
Responded to my question to South Africans. I asked whether we had anything comparable to sororities. She said:
“Hmmmm. Can’t really be much help here. I went to TUT (Tswane
University of Technology). It’s an Afrikaans institution in Pretoria.
We had horrible HKs (short for Huis Kommittee/House Committee) in res.
There was one per floor and there were 12 floors in our res. They were
like prefects. They met every Monday evening and then came back to us
minions with news/rules from the front such as:
1. Thou shalt not sleep over at a men’s res.
2. Thou shalt wear a dress on a Sunday (true story I fucking HATED
that, eventually I stopped getting out of bed on a Sunday).
3. Thou shalt choose a theme for your floor and decorate it. (Hated
that too, so childish. We did under the sea  one year and a space
theme another, whoo hoooo).
So our HKs wore a uniform: navy skirt, navy high heels, navy blazer.
They were voted into place by us minions to be holier than thou,
because they DID sleep over at the men’s res.
Not sure if that ties in with sorority.”

Kelebetsung Scheppers (@kelescheppers on twitter) says
“Nope, we didn’t have sororities that did any of the below-mentioned things. In fact, that list sounds like something about of a bad American horror movie. At Rhodes, we just had societies – students joining up to chat about social issues and raise funds etc. But seeking approval on whom you date? Not so much.”

Riekie Human, Freakflagmedia says
Eish. The only knowledge I have of those things are what I’ve seen in American flicks! We didn’t have sororities or fraternities where I went.” And she went to Stellenbosch, which is famous for scary initiations – and drinking. And high academic standards.

Shaheema Barodien @Shaheemab on twitter
“@JeanBarker In SA they’re called rugby teams and, er, their girlfriends.” (I quoted her in the story).

Dave Chislett @bigdavesee on twitter
“@JeanBarker Rhodes has a long history of ‘drinking clubs’ similar though not quite the same scale or influence of fraternities.”

Kelsey Marie, a producer/MBA at Chapman says (only got this post-publication – I forgot to mention my deadline)
“I went to a small, private, liberal arts university called Whittier College. It is located in Whittier, CA, in Los Angeles county, and has about 1500 students. At Whittier we had societies instead of sororities and fraternities. It was the same idea, just not national and not Greek. This meant that we could be more specific to the needs of our students and our school, rather than having to answer to a national organization. This also meant very inexpensive dues (around $100 a semester as opposed to around $2000 a semester that members have to pay in the National Greek system). Lots of people think that being a part of a sorority or fraternity or, in my case, a society, is about partying and getting wasted and having lots of sex. While that isn’t completely untrue (I mean, come one, we were all young once) there is a lot more to it than that. People also think that being a member of a fraternal organization is like buying your friends; it isn’t like that either. First of all, to address the “buying your friends” rumor, yes, we do pay dues every semester. Thing is, these dues are used to pay for activities and events for the society. Fun things that we’d have to pay for anyway if we did them. In this case, however, we are just paying for them in advance. Therefore, the “buying your friends” argument doesn’t work. As far as what a society is about, and why I pledged… well… that’s a great question. When I was a kid I got made fun of a lot. I am kind of a quirky person and not everyone knows how to accept me. When I first got to college I thought that I didn’t want to join a society because I didn’t want to be labeled. I didn’t want to be stuck in a box and not be able to hang out with other people or do other things. Well as time went on I got to know some wonderful people. It turned out that most of the people that I was becoming friends with were in societies. I decided to at least check it out. I went to two societies rushes: the Palmer Society and the Thalian Society. Now rush at Whittier College is a bit different than at other schools. For us it is a day where the active (current) members of the society take out prospective members for a day of fun. The Palmer Society took us to Chinatown. We were put into teams and were given a Scavenger hunt. Then they took us out to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we went to an alumna’s house where we saw a slide show of the Palmers and looked at scrapbooks and photo albums and ate cake and drank Palmer punch (the non-alcoholic version because prospective events and pledging are dry). At the alumna’s house we also heard from all the actives and alumni why they pledged and what Palmers means to them and what they do now. For the Thalian Society rush we went to the horse race track. I was only able to stay for the morning, unfortunately, but I had a great time. After careful consideration I decided that I fit in better with the Palmer Society and, thankfully, I was given a bid (asked to join the society). When I pledged the hazing was VERY limited. Basically just a lot of information to memorize and a lot of late nights. It’s stressful because you are tired but really, I’d do it all again. I decided to pledge because I wanted a place where I could be my quirky self and people would still love me. That’s why I love Palmers. Sure, we are like every other family, there are times when we fight and don’t all of our sisters all the time. In the end, though, we are a family and we love each other and we have each other’s back. That’s what sisterhood means to me.
You may credit me as
Miss Kelsey Marie
“RMO Linus FHC” (we all get big drinking mugs after we pledge with coded nicknames on them)
Palmer Society of Whittier College
NME 2004 (NME = New Member Education –> Whittier’s name for pledging)
Class of 2007 http://web.whittier.edu/palmers/

Anyhow, Chapman is huge on Greek Life. I learned tonight that about 65% of people at my school are members of a sorority or a fraternity. Compare that to NYU – about 10%. But then I guess NYU is traditionally a cooler school. *ducks*.

I wish they all could be alpha phi california girls, I wish they all... I'm tired.

This girl's packing it in, with Jesus and the sorority. What's the bet she's also on the cheer squad?

* For those of you who do not know… the title is a play on how Mandela addressed the nation as president.

Nude ladies, “Friends”, pool, karaoke and hamburgers at Barney’s Beanery, West Hollywood

March 24, 2011

Do I have to blog about it every time I go to Los Angeles? Well, probably, until it stops seeming like a place of magic and dreams; everything I expected of it and more.

Traffic. Rain. 35 Miles in three hours. Thank God for CD changers and conversation.

Been going to LA a lot at the moment because the Writer’s Guild is holding a weekly interview / screening / discussion series with famous TV writers – last week was an amazing session with Steve Levitan of Modern Family. Today I got roped in to checking out Friends‘ Marta Kauffman and David Crane. And I didn’t expect it to be half as amazing as it was. I loved it so much that I now… briefly wanted to watch the whole 10 episodes of the series for (believe this or not) the first time. I doubt I’ll actually go through with it though, don’t worry.

The original pitch and treatment. Check it out - it seems Friends was originally titled "Bleeker Street" (like in the sad Simon & Garfunkel song) and later the slightly cheerier "Insomnia Cafe".

Anyhow, we wound up at Barney’s Beanery afterwards. It is awesome – and proof that America will turn anything – ANYTHING, NO MATTER HOW ALTERNATIVE – into a commercial undertaking. The place is basically a collection of all the USA’s rock ‘n roll glorification, thrown together in a faux dive bar atmosphere, with a technology coulis.

Great burgers, better mash, and a beer list that made me very happy. A 10pm happy hour too. And all the healthy options and mild food choices that keep All-Americans and Hollywood types content.

Of course, you want it to seem “real”, right?

This picture of a sexy lady pasted on the booth wall, the slightly worn leather seats, and the Wednesday night karaoke all contribute to the pleasant illusion that you might be somewhere in the real world.

LA: How is this is not as good as it gets?

March 3, 2011

I drove to LA for a meeting yesterday morning. I felt like a real screenwriter. You know, driving to LA with a pitch to meet a director in a coffeeshop. On too little sleep. Let’s just say it – it felt real and unreal.

I feel a rising excitement as I get closer to LA, as the grafitti and wall art gets more sophisticated, as the drivers get ruder and the smog gets thicker.

The thrill is still not quite gone.


And sure, it might not work out (thought the meeting went well) but I’m just enjoying this. This is the time when, even if I’m consumed by panic, there’s still time to dream. Everything could still be perfect. And LA is a wonderful place to dream because in LA, a dreamer is never alone, although not every dreamer can afford the coffee.

"I promise you are not just a waitress" - a poster stuck to an electricity box opposite a french bistro staffed by suspiciously attractive waitrons who are probably, actually, actors.

I sat next to two old guys. They were discussing something one of them had written. On the left, two women gave each other notes on a screenplay. A few tables down, two Americans had an intelligent political discussion about Libya. Then went back to discussing a movie they’d like to make. Dreams, dreams, dreams, everywhere here.

If I’ve learned anything in the last four years is that nothing – no matter how wonderful or how terrible – is impossible. I could… find love? Maybe when I’m not looking for it, cause like, I need it like I need a hole in the head. Another hole in the head. It’s possible.

My fellow-blogger Dorothy Black (acaseofnerves.blogspot.com) collects pictures of "random hearts". Here's one I photographed. Spotted on the floor of a coffeeshop in Vermont Ave., Hollywood.

Or I could wind up a struggling screenwriter, working somewhere, writing something, living in a small but beautiful apartment in an area with really good fish tacos within walking distance.

I could live here. I'm a single.

Or they might send me home to South Africa, where I could… write that movie nobody here ever sees. Or that movie that wins a foreign movie Oscar. Same thing really – except then South Africans won’t watch it either.

Or... they say the sky's the limit. What was once in that building that's now leased as storage? Who's the latest porno superstar at Adultcon? And where are all these cars going to? What new building is that orange cement mixing truck mixing cement for?

I guess I hung around for a while. I bought three different colors of nail laquer so that I could paint all my nails different colours. Then I left. And on the way, I passed this writing on the wall: THIS IS NOT AS GOOD AS IT GETS.

Right now, just being near this alleyway leading to a dumpster excites me.

Jesus loves Amusement parks

February 21, 2011

I’ve discovered Adrenaline – the miracle drug that has remarkably few side effects, unless a slightly stiff neck or the odd bruise counts. In the last few weeks I’ve been to Disney, Skiing, and to Six Flags, where the rollercoasters stretch for a mile.

Those things stuck to the pole are gum. I thought they were beautiful.


These places are so artificial they make Venice look like a real city. But often they’re exactly what I need.

A joke? Took me a whle to realise it was. On Disney's Monstor's Inc. ride.

This ride - the Pinnocchio ride - cures paralysis. Get up and walk! We nicknamed it the "Jesus Ride"

Damn! If only I'd known it was as easy as this, I'd never have wasted all that time thinking.

Tee-heee...

Jean Pierre Something. Viva la Sexy. Downhill Red. Fragrances of Failure.

February 8, 2011

Have you lost all hope and self-respect? Well then one of these smells is perfect for you.

I love my local “$99c and up Bargain Mart”. They’re always selling something nobody should really buy. And this Valentine’s Day Season, they have what every woman who just can’t get it right is looking for: fragrances so bad that they can be held to blame for the fact that she won’t have a date on the 14th Feb.

I love the fact that you can sample it before you buy, just like in a real parfumerie.

Jean Pierre …Something, a fragrance with realistic scent of Unwashed Frenchman – guaranteed to attracted Doberman Pinchers and really drunk guys at 1.30am. By which time, if you’ve drunk enough of it, you won’t really care.

Then there’s Viva la Sexy – bringing out the communist in your vagina just in time for a threesome. Don’t forget to film it and post it on facebook.

And finally, Downhill Red! The fragrance for the woman who smells like 40 cigarettes a day, anyway, so like, it can’t really get any worse, can it? Or can it? With Downhill Red, yes it can!

I’d say they’re ready for their close-up.

I just want to know where the factory is that makes this stuff.

Some final films of the fall semester at Dodge College, Chapman

December 18, 2010

The pros and cons of movie making… what I learned from the last month of filming all our final projects.

How many filmmakers does it take to change a light bulb? Depends on the gaffer, I guess.

Well let’s start with the cons: You can never control the results as much as you’d like to. The hours are long, and always longer than you expect. You don’t get to sleep. Creative egos are bound to lead to clashes. And technical stuff will always trip you up at the very last minute. So, nothing I’m not used to from working as a journalist!

The pros make all the cons worth it: The end result of what you made with other people is better than anything you could do alone. It doesn’t matter how long filming or editing or writing takes, because you love every minute of it. Sleep is overrated, unless you have nothing better to do. Creative egos challenge you to do your best. Technology allows amazing new things to be done every day, reviving that sense of wonder you had as a kid.

I took a whole bunch of photos of signs, but I’m sure you’d rather watch movies than look at photos. So I’ll post links to those I was involved with. And a few I just happen to think are really good, too.

Mine – Steal My Heart
I wrote, directed, edited and produced this – on a $30 budget. But I could not have done that without the help of my amazing cinematographers, actors, and everyone else who helped me out – all credited. Not bad for a 4.5 hour total shoot time. The editing took a little longer!

John Nodorft – Rifle Ave.
We talked about it a lot, and I co-wrote the screenplay with him. He did what every writer dreams of having done – he made it happen even better than I could have imagined. He is now my hero forever.

Ezra Lunel – Lucky Guys
Very much a work in progress. But I love what he’s doing with this so far. He and I workshopped his initial idea in a over coffee. Then he let me go mad writing, gave me frequent and fast feedback, and made me star in the movie at the end. It was great working with him – the actors will back me up here. And the movie was shot by John Nodorft – so it looks fantastic. Designed to be watched full screen.

John McKay – Punchline
Suspect you’ll only be able to watch this if you are his friend on Facebook. I helped write the screenplay, and learned a lot about how collaboration works in the process. Sometimes you got to just let go, and let the director make the final decisions. The results may surprise you.

That’s what I can find. I guess I’ll add others as they show up.

I had nothing to do with these, but I like them

Kennedy Phillips – Autopilot

Daniel McDonald – Sorry I Forgot Our Anniversary

Mike Fitzgerald – Niko and Claudia

Nikolas Passaris


Also liked but can’t embed vimeo on stupid wordpress.

Sarah Wilson Thacker – Freeze Dance
Watch

Windsor Yuan – The Day After
Watch

Charles J. Gibson – First day
Watch

Bruce Meyers – Cousins
Watch