Film Music Recording

April 26, 2001 - Recording the Rubber Ass song & Wonderbar pickup shots

I needed to replace the scratch music tracks in the club sequence. I had used "Groove Is In The Heart" and Madonna's "Lucky Star" just as temp tracks to give the scenes some background ambient. There was no way I was going to pay for the rights to use some major hit songs. My opinions were to go back to MP3.com and spend a couple of miserable days just listening to dance music that I could use on-the-cheap or come up with something on my own.

Eric Barao was a guy I know who went to Berkeley College of Music and has written stuff in an assortment of styles. He easily churned a couple of dance/techno tracks out with a piece of software called "Re-Birth". I felt that the songs should have some sort of vocal track to give it more dynamic, so I asked Phil Rectra and Juliet Bowler to come by on April 26th so I could exploit their larynxes. (Note: the incredible irony here would be the fact that Phil is IN the club scene, yet we would hear him singing in the background. Hardy-Har-Har!)

I insisted that since this is to be dance music, it must have the most inane lyrics possible. I had done a cheap knock-off of "Groove Is In The Heart" for a music track and Juliet had racked her brain earlier in the week to come up with some pure tripe, but we still needed some more lyrics for the second tune. We figured since it was Phil who would be singing, why not have him sing about something he's "passionate" about...like "Petunia", his Rubber Ass! (We all had some up with that pet name a while ago.) Johnny joined in and we all came up with some pretty wacky shit on the background of this vinyl piece of anatomy. Phil sang it with his best Tom Jones voice and we all had a good laugh. I'm sure Eric Barao thinks we trashed his tune with our stupid vocals.

I had sent all the past footage out to Cinepost to be transferred about a week ago, and a couple of days later I got a call from the telecine guy asking if I had under-cranked my footage. (Shot fewer frames per second than usual. This would cause the footage to play back in fast motion. Great if you are trying to mimic the Keystone cops...sucks if you weren't.) For about a day there I was shitting my pants. One of the causes of having your camera shoot fewer frames is having the camera motor slowly die on you. The Eclair ACL was notorious for having it's original motor burn out if you attempt to shoot 400' loads. (Which is what I have been doing of course.)

When I spoke to the guy who transferred the footage and asked him WHICH footage looked like it was under-cranked, he said that the dog I filmed appears to be moving faster than normal. It then occurred to me; I bet he's never seen a spaz of a mop of a dog like Mei-Li, the hyperactive Shih-Tzu. When I got the footage back I found that I was right. Everything sunk-up fine and remarkably, almost everything was in focus. Woo hoo!

I've been booked at my corporate gig almost every day for the past few weeks. This has been wonderful for my checkbook, but lousy for being able to finish this project. It's almost turned into a joke when I get hired down there. I'm the only freelance person who grumbles when they want to give me more days and money. They keep asking me, "so how'z the movie coming along?" I go, "it's NOT....cause I'm HERE!"

Golden freelance rule:
never turn down work.
Golden indie filmmaker rule:
never turn down money.
Golden shower rule:
always stand over plastic.

Note: I'm not sure if the last one is indeed a rule, but I only feel it should be true.

Absolutely true story: After a day in the corporate office, I was walking through downtown Boston and was waiting at a stop light to cross a street. This woman looks over to me and goes, "Aren't you Eric Bickernicks? Didn't you direct the film "alt.sex?" Just for a split second I felt as famous as Quinten Tarentino. If I had a camera I would've filmed someone cutting some else's ear off. I go, "yea....?" She says, "I was in the club scene you shot at that nightclub. I was one of the people that was asked to come in off the street and be in your film." She then told me how cool it was for someone to attempt to do something like this, etc. etc. etc. We walked for a couple of blocks and I reminded her that she's invited to everything and anything related to the film. How often is this supposed to happen in your life?

On May 11th, we snuck back into the Wonderbar and shot some additional reaction shots of Johnny and redid a couple of bits that were initially out of focus. We were able to give a copy of the Boston Globe Magazine article to Neil the manager and the owner who happened to be there that day. The Wonderbar was mentioned in the article and everyone on the staff was able to read it and give us some positive feedback. It felt like it gave us some legitimacy for being there, instead of the assholes who were holding up the production of their pizzas.

After the shoot we went to the Coolidge Corner Cinema and checked out their video projection cinema. It's a small theatre that seats 45. It's rigged just to present video on a very large screen, but it has seating just like in a real theatre. (They sorta tilt back and have little cup holders. Candy stuck on the floor. The works.) I'm thinking of showing a work in progress to select members of the cast and crew in this nice little venue. It'll probably cost me 300 bucks to rent it out on a Saturday night, but I think it'll be worth it. I stood there looking at the screen and thinking, "yea..I can see it up there...with 45 of my newest friends. We'll have a ball. Who the fuck cares if the rest of the world sees it. WE'LL have a fun time and it'll be worth it."

Eric recording

Juliet sings

3 guys & basket


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