Fishnet Hosiery In Film

December 3, 2000 - Nightclub sequence #2 (with Beth Lahr)

I feel like I just came back from the dentist. You know the feeling you get when it's all over with? "Aaaaaaahhhh...the last difficult sequence is done." The guys in the film had dragged Johnny to a nightclub, and he attempts to be charming by doing card tricks (as sort of a crutch.) We had already filmed half of this sequence back on August 12, 2000. At the time, I needed to film Darby's stuff no matter what, because he was leaving for Hollywood at the end of September. Now that I had all of the necessary outdoor stuff filmed, I could go back and get the rest of the indoor stuff. I only recently sent all of the outdoor footage to be developed, so I can only hope that it came out. (Gulp)

Good ol' Beth Lahr. If you check out the journal entry on February 6th, you'll see Beth Lahr was part of our little intrepid group from the start. She got the part on that day, and I told her that we would be filming her "in a couple of months." Well, it's not almost an ENTIRE YEAR later...and NOW we're shooting her. I've been sending her e-mails all along going, "getting close Beth! When are you available? Are you ready? Here we go!" Nothing.

Beth is a force to be reckoned with. I believe satellites would drop of the sky and slam into her body if she were any more outgoing, personable and attractive. (And I'm not saying that to make points with her, she's very happily married.) She was an absolute riot to have on the set. Where Lauren Verge is a riot in an intellectual way, Beth is in a physical way. During the scene where she gives Johnny her phone number on a playing card, she runs back into frame and gives Johnny a little affectionate kiss. Just as I stopped the camera, she runs back in and leaps ONTO Johnnys chest and wraps her legs around him in a bear hug. (Johnny had to either catch her of duck.) Friggin' funny as hell, she cracked the whole crew up. Wish I had the camera running. What do you expect from a woman who jumps out of airplanes for fun and excitement?

Dan Bridges pulled "another one" out of the fire for me. Just before we started shooting, I noticed that I had a shortage of women to film all the different sequences where the guys attempt to be charming to all the women at this nightclub. Robin Frank had brought a bunch of people as extras, but I didn't have too many women. I THOUGHT I had more women coming from the feedback from my e-mails. I tell Dan what the situation is. He and Robin immediately go out into the street and starts pulling people in. I think he ransacked a Burger King and a McDonalds by approaching everyone as they were eating. They managed to round up about 10 people to fill out the crowd. On top of that, I think I used most of them in a bunch of assorted two shots with the guys. If you were a woman on Boylston street near the Fenway on December 3rd around 1 pm, you would've gotten yourself a featured extra roll in a film. Who says you need an agent and a head shot to be in the movies?

Paul Norton helped me with lighting one more time (thank friggin' God.) Deirdre Williams came by in a black wig to do assistant directing, Geoff did boom and Robin Frank helped with getting all the necessary release signatures. Did I mention that I'm still amazed at the enthusiasm that I've received from my cast & crew? Try writing that in a movie making manual: "once your done filming with your unpaid actors, have them perform the crew duties over the course of a year." They'd think your fucked.

A quick observation on fishnet pantyhose.

Since fishnets are one of the threads that work themselves through this production, I thought I'd mentioned a few things that I've noticed. Who knew that there were some many different kinds of fishnet pantyhose! I kinda thought that all fishnets were exactly the same, and that this specific article of clothing would keep re-appearing through out the movie. (Same stockings, different women...get it?) I've now filmed three different women wearing three different styles of hosiery, and I just told them to "show up in fishnets."

I just assumed that all women went to the same place (Fredericks of Hollywood) to buy their trashy clothing. I guess my point is, it's kinda interesting that I got a different look on the three women who wear them in this film. I hope no one comes up to me after the film and goes, "wow, how long did it take you to find all those different styles of fishnets? You must've had one pretty big leg fetish." My only option would've been to have women read for the film in costume, then after they were done, I would've had to ask them to hike up their skirt to check out their legs. Not only would I have ended up being a male pig, but probably a stabbing victim as well.

Boom couch

Cast & Crew

Crew at bar

Gang on steps

Geoff boom

Beth smile

John & Christine

Wet tie Phil


January 12, 2001 - Interesting Alfred Hitchcock quotes!

Horray! The money came in! I can finally finish this project with the funds that I now have. I had been working on a CD-ROM project for one of my clients for about a year now. I was supposed to have received a final payment for some quicktime movies that I edited and squashed back in August. My plan was to use THAT check to pay for the rest of the film, developing and production costs. NOW I get my hands on the loot. :-P I've had to pay for all expenses out of my personal living/rent/food money. I've got something like 8 rolls of film to be developed, and I have no idea if my camera has been scratching everything or if it's all out of focus. Darby is long gone for California, so if his stuff is messed up, I'm totally screwed. I guess we'll see.

My girlfriend Therese has been keeping me on a steady diet of books from the library where she works. Practically every day she brings something home that she knows will be of interest to me. A recent find is Peter Bogdanovich's "Who the Devil Made It". It's filled with stories from a ton of great film directors who were interviewed by Peter on how they made their movies. One section that I found very relevant was a portion of the Alfred Hitchcock interview. I may have to post this on every set that I may work on.

Alfred Hitchcock: (from "Who the Devil Made It", page 476)

"I think that montage is the essential thing in a motion picture. You take a shot of Jimmy Stewart, say, looking; then a shot of what he sees; then his reaction. But you see, it's like the old [Russian director V.I.] Pudovkin test. he took the same shot of an actor looking downward with a blank expression, and spliced it between a shot of a baby playing and a shot of an open grave. The audience that saw it marveled at the subtlety of expression and emotion the actor's face has shown. But in reality it was the same identical shot of the actor after both the baby and the grave. Only montage has that power of audience suggestion. I'm very keen on that method of storytelling."

Note: V.I. Pudovkin was a Russian silent film director who wrote a book: Film Technique and Film Acting (First Evergreen Edition, Translated and Edited by Ivor Montagu. Grove Press, Inc. 1976. ) Hopefully Therese will be able to locate it and I'll give you, my humble reader, a report on it later.

Alfred Hitchcock: (from "Who the Devil Made It", page 531)

As I tried to explain to Kim Novak in Vertigo, 'You have got a lot of expression in your face. Don't want any of it. I only want on your face what we want to tell to the audience-what you are thinking.' I said, 'Let me explain to you. If you put a lot of redundant expressions on your face, it's like taking a sheet of paper and scribbling all over it-full of scribble, the whole piece of paper. You want to write a sentence for somebody to read. If they can't read it-too much scribble. Much easier to read if the piece of paper is blank. That's what your face ought to be when we need the expression.'

I thought this really hit home in regards to acting. Bad actors always seem to be doing too much, even when they aren't speaking. Or inexperienced actors aren't confident with what they are doing and feel the need to "sell" their performance. I can remember a couple of times asking everyone to just take their lines and just "throw 'em out there", be completely nonchalant about it. I especially prefer to have a line (that will hopefully be amusing) done with a straight face. If you get the joke, great, if not, let's move on.

I always loved the early Zucker brothers movies. I always thought "Airplane/Police Squad" was refreshing, having everyone say those outrageous things with a dead serious face. I'm sure Leslie Nelson was hired BECAUSE he was known as the actor who did all those "serious" roles on TV. Why they started to make him "sell" his performances and do all that grimacing just bugs the shit out of me.

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