A nasty trick for treats

Last night was Columbus’s night for trick-or-treating. Last year, when we lived in the G-H-E-T-T-O, we didn’t get any trick-or-treaters at our house, so by hour two we took up my aunt’s invitation to go to Clintonville and help her and my uncle hand out candy.

This year, I was sure things would be different; we live on a street with a lot of families, so while I helped Joe and Jessie move yesterday after work, Brandon’s dad went out and bought some Halloween candy. I was so excited. While waiting on dinner, I sat outside with a silver mixing bowl of candy, waiting expectantly under the porch light. After about ten minutes, I went back inside for something, leaving the bowl on the porch, out of plain sight. Or so I thought.

A couple minutes later, we heard footsteps on our porch. I jumped to the door to hand out some candy, but when I got there, I saw the kids were running away. “Wait!” I shouted. Then I looked down. “Oh, they took the bowl,” said Brandon’s dad. I ran after the culprits and they dropped the bowl in the street. A girl was left behind, but what could I do to her, really? I gave her a dirty look, picked up my mixing bowl and did the Charlie Brown music walk home.

Rule Number One of Trick-or-Treating in the city: Do not leave the candy bowl unattended. NOT FOR ONE SECOND.

Brandon hobbled out to the porch to try to cheer me up and/or coax me back inside.

“They are going to eat all that candy, get sick, and have to have their gallbladders taken out,” he assured me.

I told him I was sitting there until at least one kid came up to me and asked me for some candy.

It became clear after a while that children were avoiding our block like the plague, so I ended up walking over one block and handing out candy from a second bowl (good thing we had two) to kids outside of other people’s houses. But, I talked to a nice older man about Halloween and growing up in a small town.

My hopes for next year are pretty much dashed, unless I move to Clintonville.

Meanwhile, Brandon’s gallbladder surgery went well Wednesday. His parents have been up since Tuesday night, and they took care of him yesterday while I was at work. It has been nice having their company.

Gnomewhere, Weekend Three

I wish I could post every little detail, but it’s already Thursday and I want to get this out there. So, a list of the best quotes of the weekend, a short blurb, and a photo montage.

“‘Gnome is where the hurt is!’ That’s the tag line for this movie.” -Unknown

“Amber, don’t be afraid to really scream. You’re scared, you’re vulnerable. You turn around and see, ‘Oh, there’s a gnome on the stove.’ React as such.” -Brian, directing an actress

Me: “When will we use the crane?”

Unknown (but probably Brian): “When won’t we use the crane?”

One of Plum St.'s newest built this crane

One of Plum St.'s newest built this crane

...And this dolly

...And this dolly

This last one refers to one of Plum St.’s newest, most awesome pieces of equipment. See, Amber the talented actress was cast as one of the leads in the short film. Through her, the group met her husband, Mike. He is a jack of all trades, and built Plum St. a small dolly on wheels a couple of weeks ago. This past weekend, he brought more to the table: a new and improved dolly, and a crane. He works fast, it seems.

Another bonus addition on set this time around was an extremely helpful monitor, which displayed what the camera was getting. It’s a cheap flat screen TV the guys bought on sale and hooked up to the camera. I can’t even tell you how helpful that was. I no longer had to remind the director of photography to call the time code at the end of every scene because more often than not, I could see it on the monitor. And, we could see a more true version of the footage. Remember my earlier posts this year cursing my camera’s display when I realized it didn’t show 100% of the frame and the lighting wasn’t accurate? The monitor solves these problems. That means before I film anything this spring, I’ll be investing in one of my own.


The monitor can mount to the base of the crane

I feel so inspired every time I work with these guys. The more they grow as a team, the better experience I gain from helping them. If I get the chance to help them write something I might feel more like I am pulling my weight. Anyone can record time codes, pretty much, although I guess they need the manpower, which I am happy to contribute.


Using the monitor inside = extremely helpful


That gnome, he's a killer


This is what I think the movie poster should look like: Terror in suburbia!

Go get me a book deal, please

You may or may not have been wondering if there was any follow-up to that post a while back about wanting to lose a few pounds. There is. It turns out it is easier to write, cast, produce, and edit a half hour movie than it is to lose 15 pounds by Thanksgiving. Just because I blogged it does not make it so.

I lost a small amount of weight while in San Francisco (you would have too, marching up those hills) but I gained it back days later. However, there is a new element in my life that is keeping me a little more focused.

Oh, iPhone. I’d be lost without you. It’s hasn’t been two weeks, but what a whirlwind romance it has been.

I downloaded an application called “Lose It!” onto my phone, on a fellow female iPhone user’s suggestion. She knows all the good apps. Anyway. You keep track of what you eat throughout the day by tappa-tappa-tapping it into your phone. This is easy, because naturally, the iPhone is always with me. At all times. Then, assuming you do some sort of exercise, you type in what you did and it tells you how many calories you burned. I’m allowed to have around 1,750 calories a day, which isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not sure how, but this app has kept me motivated enough since last Monday to go to the gym six times in nine days. I will be going back this evening. Okay, so I won’t be losing 15 pounds by Turkey Day, but it turns out you’re only supposed to lose 1-2 pounds a week anyway. Since last Monday, I’ve lost 2 pounds, which sounds like hardly anything, but is encouraging all the same. If I keep it up, I might be able to lose 7-10 pounds by then. We’ll see. I know if I can shed the 10 that crept up on me this summer I’ll be happy.

I did great all last week, and of course the weekend killed everything. But, when I might normally have given up, instead I picked right back up yesterday morning. If this crazy method of motivation continues to work until I reach my goal weight, I’ll be writing a book called “I Lost ___ Pounds With My iPhone.”

But, I get too cocky. The odds are stacked against me, and there’s a very good chance I will seriously regret this post in a few days. Root for me anyway.

Neighborly behavior

This post is going to make me feel old and cranky.

We have new neighbors. They are no more than three or four years younger than me. But it feels like a much bigger gap. Brandon and I were without upstairs neighbors in our duplex for a couple months. Our old neighbors, who once ran us a $150 electric bill after plugging their dryer into the power socket clearly marked with our address in the shared basement, moved out over the summer and took their giant dog with them. We danced for joy. No more late-night games of fetch being played overhead our living room; no more electricity thieves (AEP sided with us, by the way).

Then, at the beginning of October, two OSU students moved in. They seemed alright; we were willing to let go of the fact that one of them drives an electric blue clunker with a ridiculous spoiler. However, it became immediately clear that, as bad as our former neighbors were, they obviously did not use whatever room lies above our bedroom. These guys? They use it. A lot.

I got used to the new source of noise pretty easily, until last night. We went to bed around 11:30, although at first I thought I’d never fall asleep because there was this crazy bass rhythm coming through the ceiling. It stopped long enough for us to fall asleep, but after midnight I woke up again. The music had started again, and had gotten louder. After a few minutes I walked up the stairs to knock on their door. It turns out they don’t have a door leading into their place; I could have just walked right up the steps into their living room. If I wanted to get shot in the face.

I went back downstairs and dragged Brandon along for back up. Together we stood, pounding on the walls from the stair well, shouting “Hey!” until one of them (not the one with the douche car) poked his head out and stared at us.

“Hi!” I said relatively brightly. “I’m your downstairs neighbor. Can you turn your music off?”

“Or down,” hinted Brandon politely.

“Or… down,” I repeated.

Our neighbor nodded, and the music went at half volume. We fell back asleep, but when we woke up this morning around 7:30, the music was still playing. I could hear the familiar sound of fake plastic drum sticks beating fake plastic drum heads. They’d been playing Rock Band for eight hours straight.

I so would have done that a couple years ago, in their defense. Just probably not on a Monday night. Good God.

Gnomewhere filming, weekend 1 of 3

I will be going home this weekend to visit my dad as well as my best friend to celebrate her birthday (and her daughter’s first birthday). I’m taking the weekend off from Plum St., but I will be back for the third and final weekend of shooting – unless there are re-shoots needed Halloween weekend. I’m not sure what my involvement will for any re-shoots. The script runs 15 pages/15 minutes and is cleverly written, and I look forward to sharing it with you once it’s complete later this year.

Look, professional lighting!

Look, professional lighting!

Last Saturday was a crazy day. I woke up late and may or not have sped the whole way to Cincinnati. When I called Brian from outside his apartment, he told me they were filming in a neighboring city in Kentucky. I had to wake up Brandon and have him direct me over the phone to the set location, and I was very, very late as a result. Don’t even get me started on the Plum St. parking garage I got stuck inside of.

These kids played a role that might just make the movie

These kids played a role that might just make the movie

We filmed one scene outside the house in Kentucky, and then one inside. Like many days on the set of “Beacon Alley,” we wrapped early for the day. Afterward, we went to the Plum St. Cafe, which was one of the settings for the 48 hour film project. We had an informal meeting, one in which I was barely a participant of, since I don’t live in their city and am more or less a guest of Plum St. However, in this meeting, I stated that, because the production company is growing so quickly so fast, I would be more than happy to be a contributing writer from afar. To this, Kevin said if I wanted, I could come down and direct. I was floored. Big things are happening on Plum St.

A very, very talented actress involved in the project

A very, very talented actress involved in the project

When I last checked in with Plum St. Productions in August, there were plans in motion for the short film, “Gnomewhere to Hide.” The guys were taking it slow, making sure they had enough time to get the script just right, and prepare for everything they would need. As a result, the timing of production got pushed back once or twice, but they used their time well. In August, they had just become an LLC, officially, for the going rate of $125 in paperwork and signatures. Then along came a certain barbecue joint with a notorious, scantily-clad mannequin. Plum St. Productions was commissioned in September to make their first-ever commercial. It was big. Also big for me, because I had lent them my camera for the month of October, for the short film. When I asked how they were going to shoot the commercial, Brian said, we’ll have your camera by then, won’t we? They did. The commercial was shot shortly before production on “Gnomewhere” began. I haven’t seen it yet, but it airs in Cincinnati tonight between 9 and 10 p.m. on the Food Network. They are slated to film a second spot for the restaurant before the end of the month. Technically, this is all taking place in the month of October, the time during which I agreed to part with my camera, but I can’t help but worry that Plum St.’s workload is growing outside the realm of their time and resources.

This is only some of the crew from Sunday

This is only some of the crew from Sunday

Additionally, a very exciting but potentially troubling element is about to get involved: money. Plum St. produced the first commercial free of charge, in order to begin a portfolio of commercial work. Now, they are drafting a one-time contract for the second commercial and hope to get a flat rate out of it. Any future commercials, if requested, will be under a second contract. This is the point where I would begin to wonder how worthwhile it is to turn your hobby into your business. For some people, this jump is a natural one. For lazy people like me, it’s terrifying. I am watching the goings-on at Plum St. with an anxious eye as I hope they will be able to safely navigate this new territory without losing money or friendships. One thing I will say to this is that you can’t beat the feeling of solidarity and camaraderie on set. All people involved cares so much about the filmmaking process and are happy to spend their weeknights and weekends doing it.

On Sunday, we shot at a third location, and the main set of the film. We wrapped early, although we were unable to complete all the shots scheduled due to loss of natural lighting in the afternoon. I left Cincinnati around 5 and headed back to Columbus.

One terrifying gnome

One terrifying gnome

So, I got an iPhone

I had a great weekend in Cincinnati, and I have today off. It’s been a strange 48 hours. And I am blogging from my iPhone! Which I got Saturday after finding out last week that I was eligible for an upgrade. I would take a picture to show you, but you can’t take a picture of your iPhone with your iPhone (one of the device’s clear flaws). More soon!

Gnomewhere to go but up

Plum St. Productions borrowed my camera while I was on vacation and made a Halloween-themed commercial for a local barbecue joint. I saw the pictures from the two-day shoot, and they were awesome. I can’t wait to see the commercial. Once the 30-second spot is online, I’ll be sharing it here.

Since I am (supposed to be) writing this fall and not needing my camera, they will still be using mine for the short I’m helping them with this month, “Gnomewhere to Hide.” As I mentioned earlier this week, principal photography starts Saturday morning. I failed to convince Brandon to come with, as it turns out he is more interested in watching free ESPN at our friends Joe and Jessie’s place / watching their cat while they’re away. The lucky dog. He’s managed to see all Tennessee’s games, despite our not cracking and getting cable, whether it meant finding a sports bar in Ft. Collins, babysitting Dean and Rachael’s tot, or cat-sitting.

Meanwhile, Magazine Week rages on at work, so blogging has been limited. But I am making an effort to post more this month than I did last, even if it means brief updates like this. Much like Club Trillion in the off season, my blog seems to have calmed down considerably since “Paper Cuts” wrapped, but bear with me; the best is yet to come.

Check back Monday/Tuesday for a sure-to-be lengthy post about filming this weekend.