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Hellraiser: Deader - Winter's Lament
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NEWS
 

December 25, 2008 - "If I don't get Internet access and post something soon, they're going to think that I've either died or abandoned the film."

(Neither of which are true.)

This is roughly the conversation that I had with my fiancee two weeks ago, and yes it has taken me that long to get Internet access. See, I actually moved to a new residence at the end of November, and have been engrossed in extensive renovations almost continuously since then. (The renovations were largely completed three days ago.) So, November was almost taken up with preparing to move, and December was almost entirely taken up with doing renovations while essentially living on a construction site. As you can imagine, it leaves one somewhat isolated from the rest of the world.

That being said, there has been progress, even if that progress has been somewhat delayed due to life circumstances. (What can I say? New job, new house, renovations, book chapter authorship, impending wedding and film editing all within a six month period leaves one with a need to prioritize.)

So, where do we stand right now? The last half of Act 4 is mid-roughcut. Most of the dialog is voiceover narration by Winter, and that audio has been cleaned and fully assembled. Right now, about half of the inserts into the scene (which include flashbacks involving the Archangel Simon, Amy Klein, etc.) are assembled.

There's still a lot of work to be done, and though it's being done a bit slower this month than in months past, it is definitely being done consistently...

Thanks, all, for your continued patience and support... and happy holidays.

Screencaps from Act 4 to follow soon...
 

November 08, 2008 - Alright, I ended up taking an extra week to finish not only Act 2 but also to clean up the audio to Act 3. I've put together the first 14 minutes of the film and have sent it off to Adonis for scoring... So, I'm waiting to hear back his thoughts.

In the meantime, I'm moving forward to do Act 4. When that's done, I polish off Act 5, and add the one last scene to work I've already done on Act 6... Still aiming for the end of January to complete the workprint. So far so good... So very busy...
 

October 23, 2008 - Trying hard to stick to schedule, but it's gonna be close. I think I'll make it; it gives me eight days to finish Act 2. Almost all of the visual effects are complete. (Kudos again to Avrill, Pete, Manila and young Spencer for the great performances, and especially to John and Danny for the excellent lighting that you'll see below.) The only visual that's left is another shot that needs some CGI blood, and for that, we turn once again to Michael Joseph, who's working on it as we speak. While he's working on that, I'll be working on audio... It needs a bit of filling, a bit of cleaning up, and a few sound effects. It should be an interesting week.

There are a few surprises in this Act, including some cenobite footage that I hadn't expected to put into it, but I'm pretty excited about it and am pleased with the way it looks, so I'm going to hold off on posting the screencaps and let people see the cenobite clips after the film is done.

So, here's a few screencaps from the final cut of Act 2. None of these should come as a big surprise...


Members of the Merchant family: Phillip, Bobbi and Jack


Angelique threatens Jack


Bobbi takes umbrage at Phillip's disbelief.


Professor Merchant may have just found a new hobby
 

October 09, 2008 - Just a quick note this time... Wanted to inform that the (very) rough cut of Act 2 is assembled. It's clocking in at 6 minutes, 11 seconds. This number will fluctuate by about 5 seconds or so in either direction, depending on visual effects, changes, etc., if I don't decide to change something a bit more radical, like pacing.

Will keep posting updates about progress with a cleaner cut...

Most importantly, a hearty congratulations to friend, colleague and fellow Hellraiser fanfilmmaker Mark Adams, for completing and releasing his first (of, hopefully, many) Hellraiser fan films, THE HELLRAISER CHRONICLES: LIFEBRINGER (2008). This British production is the newest episode in the anthology that began with RN Millward's THE HELLRAISER CHRONICLES: A QUESTION OF FAITH (2003). Bravo and kudos to the cast and crew of LIFEBRINGER! Information on the film and the DVD may be found at http://www.cenobite.com/forum/showthread.php3?threadid=7618
 

October 04, 2008 - First off, a warm and grateful welcome to our newest Co-Producer, Mr. Brad Garris. Thank you, sir, for your generous support and kind words. :)

Secondly, on to news about Act 2. I'm about 65% done with the rough cut, and that 65% is clocking in at about 4 min, 15 sec. I'm not sure how we did it that day, but we had about 25 setups, about 20 of which are being used in the cut. (I'm exhausted and my brain hurts.) Again, my kudos to D.P. John Hudak, gaffer Dan Weiss and the talented actors and crew who volunteered on that grueling day.

Now, even when the rough cut IS done, there's still 1) lighting corrections, 2) sound editing and 3) visual effects that need to be done before I can send this all to the composer. I'm aiming to have the rough cut done by the end of the coming week, but I'm starting a new job on Monday, and I'm not sure how that will factor into my existing plans.

That being said, the gameplan is to have Act 2 tidied up by Halloween, at which point the footage of the first three contiguous acts gets sent to the composer, and I dive into Act 4. Still aiming for the end of January for the full assembly (minus music.)

I was going to include screen captures, but because I haven't corrected most of the lighting yet, I don't want to throw in any final caps, but here's two more screencaps that were between takes. (#1 - I show Manila how she should restrain Spencer. #2 - Pete and Avrill after one of the takes came to an abrupt halt... Hint: this one's going in the gag reel.)

P.S. All this editing while riding the Long Island Railroad has made me long for the days of editing poolside at a resort in Curacao... :)
 

September 16, 2008 - Alright, I'm back on the horse, beginning the editing for Act 2. It takes place in Winter's apartment and contains a great deal of background and exposition. The questions of who Winter actually is and how he came to be involved with the Lament Configuration get answered here.

In the script, the Act comprises scenes 5 through 11. This was Day 3 of filming, and was easily the longest, in terms of actual footage captured (even though Day 6, with Pinhead, was a longer day, due to time for set preparation, makeup and cleanup). The dailies for Day 3 took up almost 3 digital tapes, so I've begun by parsing the dailies for Day 3 into its component shots: 10 in all on the first tape, not sure how many yet on the second. I'll be back home tomorrow night to take care of tape 2. I'm shuffling many files off of my laptop onto temporary storage to make room for all of the shots.

It's too early to tell (because I've only begun to edit this act together) but it's looking like this act will run about 8 minutes or so.

All in all, I'd say that we're doing pretty well. Acts 1 and 3 are done. Acts 5 & 6 have been (very) roughly cut. I'm starting Act 2 now, which leaves Act 4. Still, we're on track to get the assembled film over to the composer by the end of January.
 

September 01, 2008 - For those of you living in the States, Happy Labor Day. :) Speaking of labor, one might wonder, in looking at my last news posting, whether or not I've actually been working at all. Rest assured that I haven't been on the coast since the end of July, and that this past month has been spent finishing Act 3, which I am happy to say is now complete.

So, some stats: Scenes 12, 13, 13B, C, D and 14 were shot at four locations, and run at 5:53, bringing the total runtime of the edited footage so far to 7 minutes, 54 seconds. In debating between finishing the last 30% of Act 5 or going for broke with Act 2, I'm aiming for the latter. When Act 2 is complete, that will give us the first 40% (or so) of the film contiguously complete, which I can give to Adonis Aletras for scoring. Right now, it's still piecemeal, so I'll try to bridge the gap.

I've got some screencaps from Act 3 below, hopefully not enough to give too much away. In truth, I thought Act 3 was done this past Wednesday, but when I decided to view it on a TV screen (for scale), I found a few items that needed adjusting... The most notable adjustment was the use of a moderately tight shot that was filmed outdoors. It turns out that there was dust on the lens, and the particular angle that we shot at had the dust glowing from the reflecting sunlight, tracking all over the shot. And though I spent two days arguing vociferously with Adobe AfterEffects in an attempt to "Remove Grain" from that shot, it was utterly futile. My attempts to remove the dust also removed any detail from Winter's face, and while I could go and manually remove the dust speck-by-speck, that would take the better part of 2-4 weeks that could be better spent on further editing. In the end, I replaced that shot with a wide shot, which I'm slightly less happy with, but the scene ultimately still works... The resulting cut actually adds a layer of symbolism to the imagery, which works for me. Still, I've retained the original cut (dust and all) for either an Alternate Scene on the DVD (way ahead) or to edit out the dust and cut it back in, in the future (the DVD version.) Either way, it will be seen someday...

My immediate plans for the next week are actually to wrap up the PASTICHE OF THE DEAD DVD as best I can to get it off my sodding hard drive. This should give me enough space to work with Act 2, which is fairly long, and probably has a greater number of shots than any other Act in the film... but again, I'm eager to do this, if for no other reason than to work with the Bobbi Merchant, Jack Merchant and Angelique footage.

Speaking of Hellraisers past, I'm thrilled and honored to welcome aboard noted Hellraiser historian
Paul Kane as a Co-Producer. Mr. Kane is best known in our circles for his seminal work, The Hellraiser Films And Their Legacy, a 247 pg. hardcover filled with history and analysis of the eight feature films as well its reflections in popular culture. Welcome aboard, and thank you, Mr. Kane!
 

July 22, 2008 - Well, doing editing every morning/evening on the Long Island Railroad cannot begin to hold a candle to doing editing at a resort on the south coast of the island of Curacao, located off the northern coast of Venezuela between snorkeling excursions. Good times, indeed. good times. (Here's me editing.)

Anyhow, I lied. It turns out that with the PASTICHE OF THE DEAD DVD remaining incomplete I have a limited amount of space on this laptop's hard drive, and I couldn't fit all of the source files for Act 2 onto here, so I decided to move on to Act 3 instead, the library scene.

Having worked on this on and off for the past few days, I cannot begin to express what a relief it is to do editing rather than visual effects. (That, and the island setting helps. And the alcohol.) Here are a few screencaps. So far, so good, only two obstacles so far: 1) having worked with the Act 1 audio previously and now switching to Act 3 makes me wish that we could have secured Allison Jackson to do sound on the entire film, rather than just Act 1/6... Still, under the circumstances, it's going pretty well. 2) I've got a single "crossing-the-stage-line" issue to resolve, which I'll come back to, but for now, I'd like to finish the rough cut of this act... Will keep people posted...


 

July 16, 2008 - First off, many thanks to our new associate producers Darrell Ray Herman and Jose Leitao. Thanks for coming aboard!

Act 1: As I've mentioned before, the visuals are done, and it's about bloody time. It's been two months of continuous work specifically on this Act (particularly Scene 02), and now I'm actually happy with it. The audio is done as well, and a special thank you goes out to Charles Hall who emailed in after the last news update and recommended that I visit SoundDogs.com, where I found the two sound effects I needed.

Mr. Hall, a hearty thank you, sir. Boulder hits, rocks and debris, hm? Never would have come up with that on my own...

So, I sent Act 1 to Adonis Aletras (our composer) a few days ago... We've had some hearty discussions about Because there's so much of the film left to go, I've left it up to him to decide whether to work his magic now on what's done, or to wait until more of the film is more available for him... Right now, there's no rush on music, just a rush on editing.

And we know whose responsibility editing is.

Next week I'm off to the island of Curacao for a week's vacation. Rest assured that I do think of editing as both business AND pleasure, so there will be a goodly amount of editing worked on next week, both on the plane and on the island. I'm shifting my priorities to finishing Act 5 and editing Act 2. Being that Act 6 completion depends upon completing the end credits, I'd rather just focus on the earlier scenes and worry about the end later... There will be news on these fronts soon...
 

July 03, 2008 - So, it's about time I give an update. The news is good. The video from Act 1 is essentially complete. It's been a long process of frame-by-frame editing, but at this point I'm reasonably satisfied with the result. (Remember, folks, five seconds of footage is still about 150 individual frames to modify, even if it'll be pulled down to 24fps later on.) All overlays are likewise done, and all that's left is a bit of foley work. Specifically, I need the following: Chattering teeth, blood-filled scream (below), exploding wall and a short bit of ADR.

The first and the last won't be a problem. However, the exploding wall and blood-filled scream will be a but trickier. First off, most of the exploding wall sound effects involve the sounds of massive explosions, like a bomb or grenade. I'm looking for something more like a cement wall being run through by a steel pillar. Unfortunately, searches for "bursting wall" usually turn up empty, so I'm still trying to figure out how to word what I'm looking for...  Likewise, the bloody scream will be interesting. I've decided to do that myself as most of the male scream sound effects I've found involve this hollow wailing which is completely off-track. I'm probably going to set up a camcorder, tripod and a bottle of pancake syrup, and then just record the audio of myself spitting out mouthfuls of syrup while screaming.

That's a lovely visual, isn't it?

I'll admit that I'm quite relieved to not have to go through the tedium of more frame-by-frame editing... The bright side is that this is likely the only scene to require this level of visual effects, but because it's also the first impression that the film makes, I wanted to make sure that it would come out as good as possible. (So, the amount of time spent on this Act was disproportionate to the amount of time that I will spend on far lenger scenes in the film.) The remaining sound issues should only take a week or so to resolve. Following that I'll like finish off the elusive Scene 50B (Act 6) and then return to complete Act 5. At this point, it looks like I'll probably aim to finish and polish Acts 1, 5 and 6 before starting the other acts. I'd rather have those complete than have the rest of the film concurrently in various states of completion.

The response we've had on Facebook has been far better than I'd hoped... We've got over 200 fans now! Also, I'm almost done paying off the rental fees on the equipment from the shoot... Many thanks to my D.P. John Hudak for his faith and patience. I'd also like to shout out to our #1 fan, Michael Waskelis who has thankfully reminded me that another Producer Newsletter is probably quite due... I will definitely try to put a more comprehensive update together with a few exclusive screencaps for them, as time allows.

Lastly, and most importantly, I bid a fond "until-next-time" to Hermann Eppert (in pale green, below, between takes adjusting Drummond's costume, with Pete looking on), who plays "Ivan" and who helped us with the production design for Day 5. Not only is he a gifted actor, but he drew upon his prior experience as a furniture maker and volunteered his time and skills to draw us a set of blueprints to use for constructing the Pandora Estate set... Hermann, I wish you well on your return to Germany! Don't be a stranger...

 

May 29, 2008 - Act 1 proceeds. To say that I'm thrilled to have Michael Joseph aboard as Visual Effects designer is an understatement... He rendered us a fantastic blood eruption from Winter's mouth, and a fantastic chain to follow... (If you're reading this, I'm assuming that you've already seen the original HELLRAISER: DEADER, so you already should know what happens at the end.) In either case, I threw in some color correction, some digital blood on his robe, some motion tracking (halfway there) and a timecode overlay and we've got ourselves a good work in progress...

Portions of screen captures; of everything mentioned above, only the motion tracking and blood eruption are showing.
Left side: Raw dailies. Right side: After processing (overlay not shown)

Anyway, I wasn't really looking to show these cards quite so soon, but the truth is that I've been spending a lot of time tweaking this, and I did want you to know that there's definitely progress, and again, that my absence from updates is not an absence from work. It may be a long bloody road, so to speak, but believe me, every day we're getting one step closer...

Act 1 - Completion of remaining Pinhead adjustments (motion tracking for first five seconds of footage) and sound editing.
Act 5 - Rough cut ~85% complete (on hold until Act 1 is polished)
Act 6 - Rough cut ~80% complete (on hold until Act 1 is polished)
 

May 14, 2008 - Well, it's about 1 in the morning, I've got to get ready for work in five hours, and here I am writing a quick update. Today was interesting, as it marked my return to Adobe AfterEffects, to delete a lighting rig that appeared in the top of the frame in Act 1. It's been a while. A long while. But, it's like riding a bike.

So, my meeting with Michael (Visual Effects) is tomorrow. I'm very confident that he'll do a great job with the single blood-effect in Act 1. After that gets dropped in, all that's left is a timecode overlay, some foley work (recorded my chattering teeth just a few hours ago) and sound cleanup. I'll send the rough cut of these scenes off to Adonis (Composer) but I'm not certain we need the music this early in the assembly. Really, I'd just like for him to get a feel for the mood of the film, as it develops.

Quite pleased with Act 1. Next I'll re-attack Act 6/Finale. I had some interesting ideas on how to address the continuity issue that's remaining, in a way that will be visually interesting, and much less cut-and-dry than how it was scripted.

Some sleep would be nice.
 

April 28, 2008 - One hopes that silence is not mistaken for absence. Apologies for having been so lax on adding news lately...

Well, to begin with, editing is going fairly smoothly. Currently in the pipeline:

ACT ONE - The first half of the Pandora Estate scene. Well, the rough cut of Act 1 is done, and it's clocking in at a little under two minutes. The audio track has been mostly cleaned up and Pinhead's voice has been reasonably lowered. I still need to layer on chain sounds in the background, a scream and perhaps a little bit of chatter (literally). Visually, I need to edit out a light source that made its away into frame (twice). Also, our visual effects artist, Michael Joseph, will be working on some blood effects in the next few weeks.

ACT FIVE - The hotel room scene. This was the first day of shooting, and arguably the most problematic. The rough cut is almost done, all but the end of the scene, and several more insert flashes need to be added as well...

ACT SIX - So, we filmed two different endings for the film. Originally, the goal was to include one ending after the end credits, and save the other ending as a "supplemental ending" to be released on the Internet or with the DVD. Problem is that I really like both endings, and they're not mutually exclusive. So, I've threaded one ending into the end credits, and am editing together the supplemental ending to run after the end credits finish rolling. That being said, the first ending is done, but I may need to shoot some inserts to bridge some continuity problems in the supplemental ending... We'll see...

So, believe me, much is indeed being done...
 

March 28, 2008 - A few quick things of note... Editing effort continues; we've added a Gallery and Links page to the website. But most importantly...

...the trailer is done! You can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npExTO0fSxw
 

March 20, 2008 - I'm very gratified to announce that our crew is now joined (at a significant remove) by Cypriot composer Adonis Aletras. And he's actually IN Cyprus, not just FROM Cyprus. This will be my second Internet scoring collaboration, and I'm excited to have Mr. Aletras aboard. Our first job will be to complete the trailer, and then we'll move on to the rest of the film.

I've started a bit of editing in Act 5, which was the first day of shooting. That will likely be the first scene to be done...

As to the website, I'll be adding a Links page soon as well as a FAQ page, mainly to address comments/concerns that I anticipate fans will have... Please note that the Credits page is incomplete, and does not include several crew who joined us for Day 6. John has actually compiled the list of those not yet included, and I hope to have those up soon as well. I may put up some additional photos here soon, but I'll likely put existing photos in the Gallery section (which I'm also working on) when I have a chance... Will keep you posted, especially on the trailer!
 

March 13, 2008 - Well, the video for the trailer is done, now I'm cleaning up the audio as best I can... The ad for a composer that I put up on Craigslit a little over 24 hours ago has met with surprisingly prolific response! It'll take me a while to go through the submissions, but it's good to know that I have options... Many thanks to all who have submitted so far. The truth is, I haven't had time to look/listen yet... I'm actually on deadline for a website launch tomorrow for something else entirely... Just finished. For now. :)

On the other hand, I've located the missing behind-the-scenes tape from Day 6! The footage is not lost after all! :)

Right then, so a trailer should definitely be ready either at the end of this month, or early next month... (In fairness, the reason for the quick turnaround is that this trailer has been planned since before we started filming. So it was kind of a leveraged project.)

Anyhow, I'm off to Monster Mania X this weekend, but I'll be back to work on Monday...
 

March 10, 2008 - So, there's good news and bad news.

The bad news is that all of the behind-the-scenes video footage for Day 6 was lost. Right now, our best guess is that we taped over it for Day 7. Ah well...

The good news is that Christina Purpi has sent me 250 behind-the-scenes pictures, some of which I'll share here. (Thank you, Christina!)

In other news, Allison, John and I are meeting up next week to transfer the DAT footage for use in editing. That notwithstanding, I've already begun editing together the trailer. It's about a third of the way done. I'm hoping to have the video set by the end of the weekend, and the audio set by the end of the weekend after. So, hopefully, by the end of the month, we'll have a trailer.

My next step, as I continue editing the film proper, will be to find a composer. Our tentative composer is still tentative, and with all gratitude and respects to him, I'll likely begin the process of looking elsewhere.

...but I will say that it's a damn relief to be done with production. :)

Right then: pictures! (Note: 1) they're not really in order, and 2) Don't get the wrong idea: this day was an insane amount of work and time for everyone involved, but these scenes are by NO MEANS the center of the story. Remember: The Cenobite scenes are crucial, but ultimately this is a story about Winter...)


Dan and Pam Moody early in the day,
beginning the makeup process on Drummond.


S. Plum working on Meagan's hair,
Meagan playing "Despina"


John with an Arri light.


Gina as "Marla" as gaffer Dan W.
mans the bounce board


Jaclyn Reid as "Amy Klein"
resting between takes


This insert should look familiar.


John filming Drummond as "Pinhead"


Pete and Drummond
posing as "Winter" and "Pinhead"


Matt Bialowas as "Spike,"
being worked on by our sister Christie.

 


Just to give you a sense of the sets assembled on the stage.
These were a modification of Hermann Eppert's reverse-
engineered design, constructed by ST Kui and myself
after work each day for two weeks,
painted first by Teresa Bohn, then moved to NYC,
and touched up by Jeremy Howell and Allison Jackson.
Assembly assistance also by Jules, Stanford, John and Dan W.
This picture was with the house lights on.
(And Pinhead is in jeans.)


...and now with the stage lighting.
This was rehearsal for a "Marla" scene  insert.


Dan Moody as "Chatterer,"
Pete as "Winter" and Drummond as "Pinhead"


Me directing two of the cenobites,
with John and Jeremy.


John filming Gina


With flash, you can see the Deaders.
Again, the basic setup should look familiar.
I really wish we had gotten more screentime
with the Deaders on the left. It's my only regret.

 

March 03, 2008 - Well, its done. Production has concluded, following three very successful days of hard work by over two dozen people.

Im afraid this post may come off as boring, what with an absence of pictures, but rest assured that pictures are on their way, with many thanks to still photographer Christina Purpi, as well as pictures by Dan Aitchison (and possibly others.)

To summarize, however, in words: Friday night went far more smoothly than expected (though it did go longer). Matt Bialowas (Spike), S.T. and I picked up our cargo van (never rent from Enterprise Rent-a-car), loaded up the set pieces, costumes, props and crafty, and hauled them over to Liberty Studios, where we met with S. Plum, John Hudak, assistant director Jeremy Howell, Stanford, Jules and actors Dan A. and Heather Blaikie. It took us about three hours to assemble the set pieces, after which John soldiered on with pre-lighting.

Saturday was an adventure unto itself. With 16 cast, 3 makeup artists, and over half a dozen crew, coordination was of paramount importance. (Many thanks to Jeremy and Dan W., our assistant directors.) We began with the Marla scenes, then moved on to Ivan inserts, Spike inserts, a few Amy Klein inserts, then Act 6, Act 1 and finally Pinhead and Chatterer inserts. (And that sentence just summarized 10:30AM to about 8:00PM.) My deepest gratitude go to cast and crew for their hard, hard work, and long, long hours. Bravo to you all.

One of the central themes of the Hellraiser storyline is suffering, and I just wanted single out a few people who suffered above and beyond the rest of us First, Drummond Doroski, sat in the makeup chair for about six hours sans food, and mostly sans bathroom as well, as the tireless team of Christie Bialowas, Pam and Dan Moody toiled away. Id also like to single out Nadia Suen, who waited in holding for about eight hours, without complaint, for her one scene, which was regrettably shifted to the end of the night for practical reasons. Yes, Saturday was definitely the most difficult day of the shoot, with some actors waiting over five hours for their almost painfully brief scene in Act 6, a few of whom traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania (Matt) and Connecticut (Dan A. and Heather). Id also like to thank John Hudak for helping to secure crew, and for helping me coordinate production as a liaison between our project and both Liberty Studios and its incredibly generous, enwizened and supportive owner, Tony Lover. My eternal thanks go to all of the cast and crew who made Saturday not just possible, but indeed, a success.

Sunday was a bit more laid back. We shot the latter half of Act 3 in Cold Spring Harbor, NY, with Seema and Pete. Everything there went smoothly, and I think we just tried to enjoy ourselves a bit. More thanks go to Despina Siolas for helping us coordinate with location. After wrapping there, we returned to Liberty Studios where Pete and I recorded voiceover dialog for Act 4.

And that, as they say, is that.

Pictures will come soon... Again, my thanks to everybody who was helped in this production. The past month has been arduous, but with the assistance of over 30 volunteers, weve taken this project one stage closer to completion. Your time and work are deeply, deeply appreciated.

In other news, Id like to plug the upcoming project from my friend and colleague Mark Adams, over in England, with the teaser for his upcoming fan film,
THE HELLRAISER CHRONICLES: LIFEBRINGER. Do check them out, as well!
 

February 25, 2008 - Alright, I would have posted sooner, but I was vomitting profusely most of yesterday. Well, vomitting and other bodily ejections that you probably don't want to hear about...

...still, I wasn't vomitting enough to stop myself from showing up at Drummond's apartment at noon with Ms. Plum and my sister Christie who drove in all the way from Freehold, NJ just to do the fittings. (Granted, for most of the fitting, they had to put up with my whining as I was curled up in a fetal position on his couch,) but I did manage to take a few pictures. Left: Christie repairs the Spike mask and costume. (It's the first time it's seen use since 2005... Storage has not been kind. It needing some patching.) Right: Drummond during costume fitting for her Pinhead costume; the mask prior to alterations. (The grid will be less dark, and the nose/upper jaw will be applied separately).

I'll have more costume pictures for you shortly (tomorrow?)... I'm grabbing the very last costume pieces that we've been missing (fishnets for "Despina," gold-rimmed sunglasses for "Joey," gloves for "Spike" and "Chatterer," etc.)

Sets are about 60% built. Those 60% will be painted tomorrow, and the remaining 40% will be built, we'll see if we can get to painting them... Some would say that this is last minute, I say that it's the price of doing a fan film of this scale on zero budget, with essentially 2-3 people working on it after work. Still, either way, it will be done. :)

The good news is that all fifteen cast (which includes background and understudies) have checked in for Saturday, so we're good to go. I'm working on confirming the remaining crew, as well as cast for Sunday.

Right, back to work... Three days left for prep...
 

February 23, 2008 - Set construction continues... We have 12 wooden frames, 12 sheets of sheet rock and 6 days left.

All but two or three people have checked in, so we're in pretty good shape... A lot to take care of between now and then. Drummond, Christie, S. Plum and I are meeting in Brooklyn tomorrow for makeup/costume fitting.
 

February 17, 2008 - Alright, we've had to reschedule some of our scenes (Act 3B) to March 2, due to an illness, and we've therefore decided to combine the NYC scenes into one day (March 1), to reduce transportation, location and makeup costs.

The bright side is that we really did some good work today... Pictures follow below. :)

Right, with two weeks left, we're constructing set pieces in earnest for the Pandora Estate scene. Christie is coming down to do makeup/costume fittings with Drummond on Feb 24th, and we're good to go!


Jonathan S. Kui and Jaclyn Reid as "Amy Klein"


Jaclyn on location, with D.P. John Hudak shooting, Pete Mizzo and S. Plum.


John Hudak filming "Amy Klein" on location


Dan Weiss, John Hudak, Pete Mizzo, Jonathan S. Kui


So, does this library look familiar to anyone?


Jonathan directs Pete and discusses framing.


Pete Mizzo holding up the Grimoire of the Gash
 

February 11, 2008 - Or, again, more like 1:16AM on February 12...

Well, our four-day marathon of filmwork is done. :) I'm exhausted, but exhilarated that we're more than halfway done with filming. The past four days were grueling, but we've covered most of the script.

Today's thanks go, of course, to John, Dan W. and Pete, but more importantly to Allison Jackson who joined us today as Sound Recordist (she will be back on March 1/2) and Brittany Mosher who stepped into the role of "Natasha." Also, innumerable thanks to Katie of Mamma Cucina Restaurant for being so hospitable. We were very disruptive to the restaurant during the dinner rush, and despite our blocking of the hallway to the bathroom, they were not only exceedingly kind, they even agreed to lower the volume of the music to minimize its presence on our audio track. The large number of patrons did make things challenging from an audio standpoint, but in the end, it ended up being an ideal location for us. Thank you again, all! It wasn't the easiest day, but we all pulled through!

Not too many pictures from today, but here are a few: (#1: Brittany Mosher goes blonde for the role of "Natasha." #2: Brittany and Pete before we got started. #3: Back row - Dan Weiss, Jonathan Kui, Pete Mizzo. Front row - Allison Jackson, John Hudak, Katie of Mamma Cucina's and Brittany Mosher)

Still to come: Re-storyboarding for Act 3B (library now, not antique store), set construction for Act 1/6.

To everyone involved over the past four days: THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK.

Alright, I'm ready for some damn sleep...

Update: I was going to hold off on this picture from yesterday to save for a later date, but Pete requested that it be put up, and how can I not, in thanks to his hard work:


"It's mine. It belongs to me." - Winter
 

February 10, 2008 - Well, more like 1:30AM on February 11, but who's counting?

Today was our longest shoot by far, and probably the longest on the entire projected schedule. (March 1/2 will be more complicated, but the days won't be as long.) We shot over 2 hours of film today, covering all of Act 2 and the beginning of Act 3. It was extremely productive, and again, my thanks go to S. Plum, S.T. Kui, Kerri McKenna, Avrill, Pete, Spencer (and Lane) Hall,  Manila and, of course, Dan and John.

The most important thanks of the day, however, go to Erin Coughlin and family, who allowed us to take over their house to film all day. Erin, I am deeply grateful, truly.

Well, we started at about 10:30AM and wrapped at about 8:30PM, which was a good, solid day. Tomorrow, call time isn't until a leisurely 2PMish, but I'm definitely looking forward to working with Brittany Mosher as our new Natasha. (She's come all the way down from Ithaca, NY to film with us!) Extra thanks go to Katie and Michael of Mamma Cucina Restaurant!

Once again, Erin: our entire cast and crew thank you for making today possible.

Here are some pictures from today:


Pete Mizzo as "Winter", Avrill MacCuliash as "Bobbi Merchant", Manila Oua returns as "Angelique" and young Spencer Hall as "Jack Merchant."


Pete and Dir. of Photog. John Hudak set up a shot.



Spencer guns for John's job


The cast/crew remaining at the very end of the day...


I debated whether or not I should explain this picture. Those of you who recognize the significance will know exactly what this image refers to.

 

February 09, 2008 - Day two is complete. We got absolutely everything we needed today, and we finalized arrangements with Mama Cucina Restaurant in Lake Ronkonkoma for photography on Monday. Many thanks to S. Plum and S.T. Kui for making today possible, and to Seema, Nadia, Dan M., Spencer T. and John H. for making today complete.

Tomorrow will prove to be an extremely busy and extremely challenging day, as it is our most packed filming day yet. Let's do it.

In the meantime, here are some images from today. (In chronological order, from left to right: 1) Seema Ramji in costume as the Puzzle Guardian. She'll next film with us again on Feb 17th. 2) Nadia Suen at the end of day, on location, as Yolanda. She'll film with us again on March 1. 3) Jonathan Kui, S.T. Kui and John Hudak holding up a scafolding that was used for... well, it would take too long to explain. This shot actually finished what was left of the blood from the gallon we originally bought for Hellraiser: Prophecy. 4) Dan Moody as the Archangel Simon, John Hudak, Spencer Teplin as the late Colonel Hawthorne and Jonathan Kui on set at the end of the night. Dan will be filming with us again, as well as helping with makeup, on March 1. Spencer may help us out with set construction as well.)


A very special thanks, which I shamefully almost forgot, goes out to Hermann Eppert for helping design an incredible set for the Pandora Estate. I was blown away by the work he's done, all for the love of the project, and I hope that we will at LEAST come close to what he's drawn out for us... We're certainly going to give it our best!
 

February 02, 2008 - Day one of Principal Photography is complete. And boy, was it memorable.

I suppose it began a little before midnight, when Siu-Tsang and I left for Manhattan to pickup our D.P. (John Hudak Jr.) and the equipment. It was nothing short of miraculous that we were able to fit three tripods, three C-stands, the video camera, a monitor, about half a mile of cables and extension cords and all three of us into one Saturn Ion. (S.T. is a wizard at packing in.) (Sadly, none of us had a camera on us.) Gaffer Dan Weiss followed us in to Ronkonkoma and we checked in the equipment at the hotel at about 2:30AM...

About four hours later, I was back on the road to Manhattan to pick up actors Hermann, Oleg and Pete in Manhattan. We made it back to the hotel at about 9:30AM, where we met up with actress Meagan, makeup artists Pam and Dan M., Erin C. and Craft Services Siu-Tsang Kui and S. Plum. So, it was a pretty crowded hotel room.

The day was a very strong success, and we captured about 90% of what we needed. We're still scheduling out the remaining inserts; they'll probably be shot on March 2nd, but the plans haven't been finalized yet.

So, I don't have very many pictures on me yet (I was a bit occupied), though I'll endeavor to get a few up here in the next days, and maybe a screenshot or two as well. In the meantime, here are two quick photos. (Left: Pam and Dan Moody apply makeup to Meagan Moir, as "Despina," while Oleg Volinsky and Pete Mizzo look on from outside. Right: Director of Photography John Hudak Jr. sets up a kino with a green gel.)

UPDATE: Here are a few more. (#1: Jonathan S. Kui directs Pete Mizzo and Meagan Moir. #2: Oleg Volinsky, Gaffer Dan Weiss and John Hudak. #3: Pete, Meagan and Oleg.)



 

January 30, 2008 - Three days left and counting. I'd like welcome aboard Dan Weiss, our gaffer and associate producer, who comes to us by way of John Hudak. Our deepest thanks go to them both for their assistance!

Plans for this Saturday are pretty much set, as you can see from the pictures of provisions, some of the props/equipment (not including John's camera kit and Dan's lighting kit), and some of the costumes.

We're already pretty deep into planning for the weekend of Feb 9/10/11. Transportation details have been released for the ninth, though I'm still waiting to hear back from one person. The plans for the 11th are done (though haven't been communicated yet), and I'm working on firming up details for the 10th. On the bright side, the storyboards for Act 2 are done. There's 73 frames, but here are a few:

Three days and counting to begin production on a project that I've been planning for about two years... Good times. (I'll sleep next month. :) )

 

January 22, 2008 - Two weeks until we start filming, and things are going well. We are all set for Feb 02. Transportation, food, props, equipment and actors are all good to go. Our Myspace page is up and running and the Facebook page is almost up. We've also pleased to have aboard Allison Jackson as sound recordist. Additional thanks go to our newest contributors, Steven Feldman, Stoney Buckler and my friends at Auricle Media, as well as our newest (and first!) Co-Producer, Geoff Varney.

Less than two weeks to go!
 

January 08, 2008 - With less than a month before principal photography commences, we have a lot going on behind the scenes.

Most importantly, heartfelt thanks go to Pete Mizzo, Jaclyn Reid and John Hudak for helping me out with the schedule. The complete schedule is as follows:

Act/Scene

Date

Location

Act 5

Feb 2/3

Ronkonkoma, NY

Epilogue & Alt. Ending

Feb 9

Ronkonkoma, NY

Insert: Funeral Home

Feb 9

Pt. Jefferson Stn, NY

Act 2

Feb 10

Pt. Jefferson Stn, NY

Act 3 (first part)

Feb 10

Pt. Jefferson Stn, NY

Restaurant flashback

Feb 11

Ronkonkoma, NY

Act 4 and Amy Klein scenes

Feb 17

Cold Spring Harbor, NY

Act 1

Mar 1

NYC, NY

Marla interludes & Act 6

Mar 2

NYC, NY

So, with that in mind, we're almost good to go. Hermann Eppert and I are meeting on Wednesday, and he's going to give me some advice on my set piece ideas for the March shooting dates. Christie Bialowas contacted me today with progress on the two cenobite costumes. (Two, because the Spike costume is still here from HRP). S. Plum and I went shopping for cases of water, food and soda on sale this weekend. Remember, folks, it may be a low budget independent fan film, but the least we need to do is make sure that the people who are volunteering their time aren't hungry and thirsty.

When I asked everyone if anyone had any nutritional requirements I should adhere to for food services during the shoot, I did receive this:

"I'm glad you mentioned dietary needs. Mine are as follows:
Basket of soft boiled quail's eggs
8 bottles of Fiji Water, liter size
A Wii in my trailer (not dietary, I know, but I thought I'd put it here)
Roast Duck with Mango Salsa for lunch
4 boxes of Samoan Girl Scout Cookies (And don't give me that "not in season" crap)
3 half gallons of Butter Pecan Ice cream, Bryers brand
Fragnache Pasta wth Limoncello and Lobster for dinner"

HEHEHEHE outSTANDing.

I did have to do some rewriting this week, however. The antique store scene isn't working quite as planned. An antique store which gave me the tentative go-ahead a few months ago backed out. (They decided that a film with "Hellraiser" in the title and the words "pleasure," "desire" and "temptation" in the dialog would not "work" for them. Not kidding. Nice.) That being said, Ms. Plum and I scouted out about half a dozen other antique stores in a twenty mile radius about two weeks ago. Of the ones that actually weren't closing down, one was not very sanguine about the prospect, and the other would allow us to film on a Monday. Unfortunately, asking volunteers to donate a second Monday to film an unpaid nonprofit project (with Feb 11 being the first Monday they were asked to donate) was not really tenable. So, the simplest thing to do was to rewrite the scene. Losing an antique store as a setting takes away from a bit of the ambience, but under the circumstances, I'm just grateful that everyone's still aboard.

Our Myspace page is pretty much complete and viewable at http://www.myspace.com/hrdwinterslament/ Also, with production underway in February, this is the last month to make donations for producer credits at their current levels. When February comes, Special Thanks will go up to $30, Associate Producers will go up to $50, Co-Producers (which we have none of yet :) ) will go up to $100, and Executive Producers will go up to $150.

So, our immediate concern is securing the remaining props, costumes and transportation for the Feb 2 and Feb 9 shoots, and working out of the design of the set pieces for the Pandora Estate scene in March.
 

 

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