Year in Review: 2009

This was the second year of The Sleeper Hit’s existence, and this blog documented a lot of changes in my world in 2009. Granted, 2008 was my first year in a new city, living on my own, buying a car, etc. But 2009 brought lots of new things as well. After all, 2009 was the year I decided to make movies and actually did. As I did last year, here is a recap of the inane and the important, a.k.a., the things I deemed worthy of blogging about.

January: Brandon started his job at OSU. Coincidentally, we stopped cooking dinner in the apartment around the same time. The pipes in our old place froze. Obama was sworn into office. I started the screenplay for “Beacon Alley” (untitled at the time) and read lots of books about how to write screenplays. I cut nearly a foot of hair off, and so did Brandon. The Sleeper Hit turned one year old.

February: I left my car unlocked and someone rifled through it and stole my faceplate but not my stereo. I discovered Club Trillion and did not do much work for a of couple days. Owen and Jamie found out they would be having a girl, which I totally called. I discovered my undying love for curry and finished writing “Beacon Alley”.

March: I began seeking donations from local businesses for the movie but got poor response. Casting for “Beacon Alley” took place this month, starting with heroine Becca and ending with villain Melissa. Brandon and I went apartment hunting and found our new place near campus. I switched from Live Journal to WordPress. I joined and promptly quit Twitter. A generous friend donated some gift cards to use to buy food for cast and crew on shooting days. I bought a high-def camera. Filming for “Beacon Alley” began.

April: Brandon bought me a new faceplate for my car stereo. Surly Girl allowed me to film at their place. Filming took place every weekend this month and I woke up shaking with fear every day of it. During the actual filming I felt awesome, and even better after we wrapped for the day. I named my production company Wilmer Productions, an homage to Owen’s former Willow Films. We made t-shirts. I juggled moving out of our old apartment with the final days of filming. It was slightly stressful.

May: I chose the name “Beacon Alley” after taking a photo of a street sign by our old place. Editing began. I co-hosted a baby shower for my sister-in-law with my aunt. I ran into many technical issues and discovered the importance of lighting. I got the idea for my web series, “Paper Cuts”. I threw a cast party to debut the trailer of “Beacon Alley” and scheduled the premiere with Studio 35. I watched the “Glee” pilot and flipped for that show before the rest of you bitches. Count it. I re-joined Twitter and saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

June: Saw the Decemberists with Brandon after he won tickets from CD101. I began casting for “Paper Cuts” and met my muse, Taylor. Editing of “Beacon Alley” continued, and I wrote the first four episodes of the show. Met Monsterbeard who advised on my scripts. Watched a lot of web series. My beautiful niece was born. Participated in Cincinnati’s 48 Film Project and met the awesome folks of Plum St. Productions: love at first shoot. Michael Jackson died.

July: Production of “Paper Cuts” began as editing of “Beacon Alley” wrapped. Showed episodes one and two before the movie at the premiere, which was well attended to my relief. My blog stats hit an all time high the week of the premiere as people googled “Beacon Alley” after presumably seeing it on the marquee at the theater. Brandon and I planned a fall trip to Colorado.

August: Filming of “Paper Cuts” continued and involved casting new extras for each episode, one of which included child actors. It was weird. Brandon dressed in a borrowed tiger suit. I had a last-minute cameo in episode six after a friend had to cancel her role as a bridezilla. Filming wrapped at the end of the month. I lamented majoring in journalism rather than engineering or nursing or some other field that is still hiring.

September: Realized I had somehow gained ten pounds over the summer. Brandon’s gallbladder attacked him in his sleep. Went to Ft. Collins, CO and San Francisco, CA to visit friends on my first-ever vacation as an adult. I tried to write a one-hour TV show pilot while in California. Got one of the worst sunburns of my life.

October: Plum St. Productions exploded into prominence. I helped them with their short film, “Gnomewhere to Hide” and loaned them my camera. Got an iPhone and began using it to help me lose weight. Brandon got his gallbladder removed and his parents paid us a visit for Halloween. Became obsessed with roller derby after seeing “Whip It!” and visited a retro rink by the interstate.

November: Spent time with my dad on a sad anniversary. Spent Thanksgiving in Chicago with Brandon’s family again, saw Second City. Became very interested in both improv acting and stand up comedy (influenced partly by seeing “Funny People”). Started announcing my weight loss progress (or regress) on my blog. Actually lost some weight.

December: Visited my mom’s parents in Cleveland with my brother and his family. Lost the ten pounds I’d gained over the summer. Brandon got new glasses. Wrote 2009 Year in Review. Oh, wait…

Surly says YES

I have a restaurant that is willing to let me film in it and it is a block and a half from where I am filming the REST of my movie. Life is good. If they hadn’t called, the back-up plan was not going to be pretty. Trust me.

However, as it so often goes, there is a challenge in this. I was hoping we could come in and film from 8-10 on a weekend morning, since they are open from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. every day (including Saturday and Sunday) but they recently started serving brunch on the weekends, and that has been keeping them pretty busy. So, the general manager is proposing a weekday, from 2 – 5-ish.

I have no idea what my three necessary actors’ work schedules are like during the week, since I recruited them based on the plan that filming would be on weekends and some weeknights. I have e-mailed them and asked them if there are any days between now and April 17 that they could make it during that time, so here’s to hoping for the best. One guy already got back to me and said he works second shift, so any day works fine for him.

I’m not gonna lie, Brandon and I went to the restaurant last night after work for happy hour. Even though I hadn’t heard back yet, I couldn’t help going over there to scope it out again. We got our usual red bean hummus and a couple other appetizers we hadn’t tried yet.

I am making my shot list up for the scenes this weekend. That is where you make a check list of the shots you will need once you sit down to edit. For example, there will be an establishing shot of the house we are filming at, and some cutaways that will really quickly show things like someone holding a wine glass, a close-up of someone laughing, and stuff like that to edit in to the main action. The main action requires a whole different list, especially since the scenes we are doing are going to show two people’s different perspectives of something that happened.

And since I only have one camera, I’ll have to shoot the scenes with the camera on Becca and Ryan, and then shoot them again with the camera on Melissa. And I will have to avoid mirrors at any cost, because I’m going to kick myself if I play any footage back and see the camera looking right back at me.

To purchase this weekend:

1. Camera bag

2. New tripod?

3. Two waitress aprons

4. Two navy blue t-shirts

5. Mirrors from craigslist to be placed in green room area

Surly Girls

My brother is awesome. He is the only one who will let me ramble on about the movie (aside from you, dear readers; I appreciate the lack of comments demanding I change subjects before your eyes fall out. (Eww)).

I was telling him about maybe getting to film at Surly Girl (I should probably stop telling people about this in case they say no, and then I can pretend it never happened). “You better give them a big credit,” he said.

“Are you kidding?” I said. “I’ll name the flippin’ movie after them! Not really.”

“That could work, actually,” he said.

You know, “Surly Girls,” kind of like “Mean Girls,” but slightly more hostile. Ooh, and would that in turn make me Tina Fey? I am liking this more and more. And that screenplay is hardly short of rude, rude ladies.

An actor had a good suggestion for making fake vomit last night, after the inevitable fake vomit question was raised after the read-through.

“Chicken and stars,” Curtiss said. “It looks just like vomit.”

That is certainly not the worst suggestion I’ve ever heard, and soup (or at least one that is not tomato-based) is less likely to stain than fruit punch. Lazarus, who is playing Drunk Guy, said that he is already planning to wear something he doesn’t mind getting fake vomit-y.

Becca suggests we hold a fake vomit work shop and spend a couple hours mixing combinations of slimy, edible ingredients to see what creates the best barf-like result.

She and I are going thrifting at some point this week, because she needs a dress to wear in the flashback party scenes Saturday. I’m having trouble getting extras to take part, so seriously, if anyone wants a little screen time, I’m your girl from 4-8:30 p.m. this Saturday. There will be food, compliments of food donor and preparer Jessie E. Bonus: she makes a-maz-ing food. Eh? Eh?

At this shoot, it’s especially important for me to have extras who are people I know, because unlike most of the other scenes, it’s not being filmed at my house. I’d rather not bring strangers to Seth and Amy’s, and I’m sure they’d rather I didn’t as well.

One scene I haven’t been thinking enough about is the one to be filmed in Goodale Park. Does anyone want to make me one of these by Sunday morning? It’s either that, or Brandon pushes me backwards on a bicycle while I film. And I don’t think any of us want that.

The good news and the bad news

A woman from Surly Girl called yesterday; I *may* get to film my restaurant scene there, if the general manager approves. Oh my goodness. I would be so excited if they let me film there.

I e-mailed the woman the screenplay and she said she’d get back to me.

The read-through went really, really well, despite the fact that four actors couldn’t make it. People seemed to loosen up and have a good time together. Here’s the schedule for this weekend:

March 28, Saturday

#11-13, Seth and Amy’s apartment


4-6 p.m.

#26, 27, Seth and Amy’s


6:30-8:30 p.m.

March 29, Sunday

#21, Goodale Park (WEATHER PERMITTING), outside


12-2 p.m.

On a bad note, our landlord called today to say he’d made a mistake; our lease IS up May 1 like we thought. We have to be moved out by the end of April, and really, a little bit sooner because a crew has to come in and clean the place before anyone moves back in. So if I thought I had a rough deadline on this project before… whew.