Thursday, June 26, 2008

'Franny, get out of the shot!'

That was Gina, director, barking instructions to her sister this afternoon as they were setting up to film a scene of "Stella" in the historic Pioneer Square district of Seattle. As Franny pointed out, the camera wasn't even turned on and there was no danger of Fran winding up in the scene, since she was there only to operate the camera for Gina and her friend Katy, the film's star. Me, I was the roadie and the chaperone, happy to stay out of camera range and watch the next chapter in Queen's filmmaking career unfold.

When we left off, before Michelle and I departed on Pie in the Sky II, the girls and their friends were in the middle of their big "Sweeney Todd" remake. But that production didn't make it to completion. Details are hazy, but something about artistic differences and a flaking co-star.

Anyway, after a day or two of sulking about that, Gina got back to work, writing the original screenplay "Stella," about a girl who has suffered some traumatic brain injury and may now be insane, but whose life is slowly revealed in metaphoric flashback. I've read the synopsis, though not the full script, and I'm impressed by the imaginative writing and the story's clever construction.

Most of the same crew working on "Sweeney" are back for this one. If anything it's more elaborate, and the planning and cooperation are, so far, a wonder to behold.

Here are a couple of pics I took this afternoon, followed by screen shots from last week's shoot.


Michelle said...

That's awesome.

freda said...

how very cool, way to go Gina and Franny, great pics Mark, hey Michelle

Jason Bellamy said...

Even in still form it's better than 90 percent of the 'real' movies I've seen this year. Super cool!

The closest I came to anything like this was when in high school I directed an interpretation of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" for an English class project. I had a few clever POV shots (and thus reverse shots), but mostly the film was memorable because Macomber's wife wasn't the only one having an affair with the hunter, if you know what I mean, and the guys playing Macomber and the huner really, you know, sold it in their rock-the-tent scene.

Which is the long way of saying that I was too much of an Apatow, I now realize. These young ladies are true artists. (The shot of them lying down reminds me of "The Virgin Suicides" for some reason, though I've only seen that once and long ago. So, should it?)

Rita said...

Can't keep a good Director down.

Go Gina!

Mark said...

Jason, your movie sounds fun. You must have a copy around someplace, don't you?

That lying down shot reminds me more of "Across the Universe" and, knowing Gina, that was the genesis of that one. From the synopsis I also see the influence of "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and maybe "Alice in Wonderland."

I think it's going to rock.

Jason Bellamy said...

Good call on "Across the Universe." That's right on.

I would have killed for a digital recorder when I was growing up. Heck, I would have killed for one of those bulky VHS recorders, which were still the norm through my high school years. Alas, we never owned one. Which is why I don't have a copy of the "Short Happy Life" adaptation. Bummer.

Anyway, with digital cameras and anybody-can-do-it editing programs, it's awesome to see young people have the chance to experiment in moviemaking. Friend of 'The Cooler' Hokahey is by day a teacher of middle and high schoolers, and he directs the annual drama and has started a film club. They do projects that he directs and they do their own. He sends me the DVDs of their finished works and I'm always blown away by their ingenuity.

So rock on, Gina. And make sure the roadie and chaperone carries his weight.