SHADE OF GREY in LA

So amidst all the music videos I’m juggling (just finished “In Fair Verona” for Blood Tribe, am still editing the promo music video trailer “Se7en” for Cap 1, among others), it’s easy to lose track of time. One particularly cool event that occurred recently – Shade of Grey had it’s West Coast Premiere, playing as part of the New York International Independent Film Festival, in Los Angeles on August 5th. So being that this was Shade’s first festival screening, I figured I’d celebrate it in style with a week of LA shenanigans. Here’s the tale of said excursion, as best I can tell it.

After getting to the airport quite pre-sunlight (had to leave home at 2:30am… yay), and desperately craving coffee, I settled in to start reading the new book Kenzie got me for my birthday – Roger Ebert’s “Your Movie SUCKS” (a great read… hoping to never end up in such a book). Before too long, I switch to brainstorming and writing a new draft of the script for Obsolescence, the short that I’ll be filming with Scott Ganyo whilst in LA-LA Land. Next thing I know, they’re boarding my flight and I’m off to Dallas. Jake’s on a plane. There were no snakes.

Once landed in that small country known as Texas, I make like a good traveler and head for my next terminal/gate/place to wait for three hours. Having a lengthy gap between flights can suck, unless you have a script that you’re about to shoot that needs reworking. Then that time with NOTHING else to do is sort of perfect… at least until my cell phone rings and an automated voice from the airline lets me know that my connecting flight has been canceled (here’s a good time to mention that I initially went to the wrong gate, where another flight was about to depart for Burbank. The guy at the counter directed me to the correct area, but asked if I was interested in getting on this earlier flight. The genius that I am, I said no thanks, thinking it’d be best to stick to my planned flight schedule. Crap.). So I suddenly find myself frantically trying to get on the waiting list for the next flight to Burbank, but it’s a lost cause. I’m going to have to switch and fly into LAX (which wouldn’t normally be an issue except LAX is a madhouse, and Burbank is much more convenient for me to connect with Scott, who is picking me up). Now I learn that my luggage is already queued to go to Burbank, and even if I put in a forward request, it probably won’t get re-routed to LAX in time. Awesome. The opening night party for the festival starts at 6pm and the dress code doesn’t allow for grungy street clothes… which I’m wearing. I wait around Dallas with my fingers crossed till 2:30 when my flight leaves (I got there at 8:30am).

Quick version – I land in LAX, my luggage made it there (yay!), and Scott picks me up and we’re off. It’s bordering on 4:30 (I was originally supposed to get in around noon) and we head downtown for the opening night party. Of course 4:30 in LA is 7:30 at home. So it took me from 2:30am till 7:30pm to get where I needed to be. After finding a parking spot, I grab my clothes to change into and we set out looking for a bathroom I can change in. Honestly I should’ve just ducked around a building and done it quick and indecent exposure-style. It would’ve been more hygienic than the balancing act I had to pull in the skeezy bathroom of a Jack in the Box in downtown LA. Run old clothes back to car and head to the party.

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Scott and I arrive and realize we’re pretty early. Should’ve gone for that whole “fashionably late” approach, perhaps. We then realize, much to our chagrin, that there’s no food (hadn’t eaten all day). So we head to the bar and pay $22 for two drinks in glasses slightly akin to the adult version of a sippy cup, loaded with ice (read: three gulps and they’re empty). Welcome to LA. So the mingling commences. We talk to the other filmmakers in attendance, learn about their films, and pass out promo cards for Shade of Grey and everyone says I’ll go to your screening, come to mine (the filmmaker equivalent of show me yours, I’ll show you mine). We get to meet a lot of cool people, and have our interests piqued about several of the films. After the networking extravaganza, we retire to Scott’s abode for the night.

We spend the next several days in a whirlwind of going to film screenings, promoting Shade of Grey and getting Obsolescence ready to shoot.

Friday = write, pre-production/casting, go to film screening of 9.9.09 (met some of the cast and crew, cool gang), eat, re-write till 5am.

Saturday = write, sight-see, more pre-production/casting, go to a seminar the festival’s holding on distribution, go to film screening of Mangalsutra, get camera for the shoot, head back and film sunset shots over the mountains for Obsolescence’s opening/ending scenes, eat, get access to a better camera and pick it up, grab drinks, head back to Scott’s and re-write till nearly 5am again. Also tonight I got to encounter the Black Widow spider that was hanging out underneath my chair I sat in all day. Amy (Scott’s wife) sprayed it to death while I filmed it’s demise… but not before it charged the camera in a frantic attempt to kill me.

Jerk stared at my butt all day...

Jerk stared at my butt all day...

Sunday = film 4 scenes for Obsolescence (the bulk of the film) with Scott, Jen and Lindi in LA and Ventura, eat, drink daquiris in the hot tub overlooking the mountains at night, re-write a bunch more, realize that we’re going to have to re-cast the final role for the film, realize that I’m finally getting tired and crash.

Monday = writing, sight-seeing, hanging out, re-casting, and that evening experience my first night in LA with nothing to do. Finally got to see Scott’s first feature film he was in, coming out this year, called Zorg and Andy, and liked it quite a bit!

Tuesday = meeting with potential producer representatives for Shade of Grey in Beverly Hills, back to Santa Clarita to film the final scenes for Obsolescence with Scott and Luca, wrap principal photography (word!), eat, back to Scott’s to pack my crap, return camera, head to meet Brandon (where I’ll be crashing the rest of the trip), drive down to Rancho Palos Verdes and watch Adult Swim whilst ingesting Budweiser. Also get to encounter the freaky, furry, red demon-spiders that like to drop out of the trees in the back yard. Scott had evil black spiders, Brandon had evil red ones. Screw nature.

Wednesday (8/5/09) = wake up finding several new video clips on my camcorder that I don’t remember (apparently Brandon and I tried to make a short film about him magically teleporting his dog into a big rubber ball, which he kicked around the yard as punishment for the dog being… the dog). Oh, and prank phone calls were made to a retail establishment that shall remain nameless inquiring as to if they had the new Barack Obama t-shirts, because we wanted to purchase one in every color. Because apparently we’re in sixth grade. This is the day of Shade of Grey’s screening. Brandon and I decide to go hang out at Redondo Beach for awhile before leaving for the cinematic greatness. After cramming a buttload of tacos down our gullets and chasing seagulls for a decent interval, we head back to get ready for the premiere. Then we’re off to the theater in LA. Walk the red carpet, enter the theater and the show starts. The film seemed to go over pretty well. Afterwards, we did some last minute sight-seeing around Hollywood Boulevard and then headed over to the Pig N Whistle for drinks. Then I made my way back to Indiana the next day.

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All in all, it was a successful, fun trip. I filmed a lot of these goings-on (or at least conversations regarding them) whilst I was there, mostly for the Shade of Grey and Obsolescence DVDs. I’ll try to get some video snippits up online so you can enjoy the week’s festivities for yourself. Check out the blog on Obsolescence for more details on those happenings, and peep the red carpet interview from the festival with yours truly below!

More to come…

Best,
Jake

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~ by cinephreakpictures on August 24, 2009.

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