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So I came to LA on Sunday to hang out on the set of my film, that is two weeks away from finishing. Just got back from 9 hours of it and it was a complete blast.
The crew is amazing and the actors are truly the characters that I wrote. I told the producer not to tell anyone I was the writer, I didn't want to make anyone nervous and I didn't want the actors to be distracted. So I was Lola, the craft service PA. LOL. It was HYSTERICAL!
The director, DP and key PA figured out who I was but kept it our secret. So I helped set up the snack table and quietly listened to people talk about the film and how things were going. Then, since I was "new" on the set, I asked some people how they liked the script and what it was about. It was so cool to hear people talk about my work and not know that it was mine.
I about lost it when one of the PA's who was "over" me came up and said, "Lola we need some coffee made right away!" with a very authorative voice. I quickly grabbed the key PA and said, "I have no idea how to use this coffee maker." So the key PA started to help me and the other PA turned to him and said, "No, just show her how to do it and let her do it." I was dying.
I'm sure the secret began to leak out when the prop guy was calling me over to ask me certain things about scenes and what I thought about certain props. Not to mention the fact that I was slacking off on my duties as Lola because I was too busy chatting with those who found out my true identity.
The key PA grabbed me and pulled me down the hall to the set where one scene was being shot. We stood before the monitors and I was able to watch as they filmed. It was amazing. Meanwhile, the set dressers were getting the next set ready as the director and I sat watching. During this scene they let me be on the set with head phones on to listen as I watched the monitor.
I was invisible as Lola, the actors on the set had no idea who I was. I watched them deliver my lines and improv a few and rehearsed and then it was action. Two takes and the close ups and cut aways and it was done.
Then the behind the scenes camera was floating around and snap shots were being taken of the crew with the cast members who were totally done at this point in the film. So the producer told me to get up there and get my picture taken with the actors. Many were looking on with quizzical looks as to why Lola the PA was taking photos on her first day on the job.
Then the producer announced that Lola was really me, the writer. Everyone looked at me and began to applaud. The actors all hugged me and thanked me for writing a great script. Some of them gave me thier contact info and said they knew other people who were looking for scripts if I had any more. (I have ten) One actress said she wanted to write scripts as well and that I inspired her. It was so incredible to get this great feedback.
Then it was on to the producer's house to look at some dailies from the days that I was not there. I was blown away. Everything looked great.
So now I better get to sleep, gotta be back on the set in 6 hours and I'm beat. I'll be back with more fun stories about tomorrow's shoot.
Linda aka Lola
Her name was Lola,
She was a PA,
but she couldn't make coffee..
think I'd better stop before the origiinal lyricist gets pissed...I understand he has a temper.
Linda, is that PA still working in LA? He used to work on some of my sets in LA 12+ years ago. Either that or he is cloning himself.
Congrats. Nothing better than hanging around the set, especially if someone really does know how to make good coffee!!!
Hsve a SUPER time!
Great writer, lousy PA. That's better than lousy writer, great PA! (I think.)
Sounds like you have the makings for a new script, here, Lola. Add a love interest and you have a romantic comedy. Add a killer, you got a thriller (or Scream III).
Keep on posting. We love hearing about your smashing success.
Good read there, Linda. That keeping mum on being the writer for as long as you could was entertaining to read.
What a great story. Enjoy the whole experience and keep posting when you have time.
All the best, Heather
I laughed. Fascinating and brilliant, chills and mysterious. Lola the PA, rated PG.
coming soon to a one chaired theater near you.
I really liked your story look forward to hearing more, thank for sharing.
I love the part about the coffee, and the irate PA supervisor? "LISTEN TO YOUR DRILL SEARGENT, SOLDIER!" ha-ha, quite hilarious, as I visualize the expression on her face when she finds out you are the writer, I’m sure you set her to ease though. lol -- classic.
Thanks for taking the time to share with us. What a rush it must have been. Please continue to share.
Day 2-The adventures of Lola.
I have never driven in LA. I always have had people who took me where I needed to go when in town. But now, I needed to rent a car.
When I was at the rental company, the producer called and said, "Get your ass here, we have a cameo for you." I was like, NO WAY lol. I have no desire to be in front of the camera.
I was a little nervous driving from the valley burbs into downtown LA. Just worried about getting lost. But it was a piece of cake. I made it to the studio with no problem an thank God, I missed the shoot with the cameo.
I was finally going to meet my leading lady. We had spoken on the phone many times about her character and I couldn't wait to meet her. As I walked down the hall, I saw her come out of the make up room with her hair in rollers. She was even more beautiful than her pictures. She knew right away who I was, even though we never met, she said she felt my energy right away and she ran into my arms.
My leading man was already shooting down the hall and I peeked at the monitors to see how it looked. The DP and set dressers are amazing. I was in awe at how the set looked. Then we were on to a few big scenes between the two leading females. I hung out in the dressing room while the girls got ready. Then it was on to the set.
During the scene, the girls had some questions and they both turned to me and asked what to do. I had to stop myself from being a director, and have respect for the real director. I looked to him and asked what he thought, even though I knew what I thought. He sort of smiled and motioned for me to take control. I gave my input and the scene went on. The director put his arm around me and we sat and watched the scene. After, he looked at me and smiled with approval.
I felt a strange pull and had to get myself away for a bit. I am not the director, but the actors keep looking to me for advice. I didn't want to step on the toes of the director, so I walked away, even though I was dying to help and take control.
When the actors kept asking me things, I would just say, ask the director, and then he would give his input and then at times, turn to me and tell me what he thought and ask what I thought. We both began to walk this fine line of who is directing this film. As long as I kept pushing it back to him, he was open enough to pull me in on it. It became a comfortable dance between us.
It was getting late and I wanted to leave, but I couldn't pull away from watching my words being brought to life. At the end of the night, the leading lady and I decided to have a slumber party lol. She came over and we sat up and talked about how great the shoot is going. She feels that something magical is happening. I don't want to get my hopes up, but I feel it too. She said I brought a new energy to the set. We have this great bond between us. She truly has become the character I created and to look into her eyes and see her portray this person who was once just a thought in my head is unreal to me.
I'm too tired to go on, I'll write about day 3 later, as for now, I must get to bed and get ready for tomorrow.....
until next time...
Thanks for the detailed report, Linda. Sounds magical. Too bad you can't bottle it and take it home with you after all is done. Keep the reports coming.
Are you going to take any meetings on other possible writing jobs or script sales while you're in LALA Land?
Are you any closer to saying goodbye to your job and writing full time?
Yes I was in meetings as much as possible last week. Tough balancing act because I was asked back to the set every day, and the only day we had off of shooting was friday. So I had meetings in the early part of the day and then would run to the set and stay until the last shot which was sometimes at 3 am or 6 am and then go to sleep for a few hours and do it all over again.
Just got back last night at 3 am from morro bay where we were shooting all day yesterday. It is so beautiful up there. I had to get back here to LA, but the rest of the crew is up there until Thursday and then shooting is wrapped and we go into post.
The DP is amazing and the dailies look great. Everyone is really excited about how it is going. I'm trying to squeeze two more meetings in tomorrow and then I go home on Thursday.
so far, I have made all my meetings that I had planned, except for one, but, I did have other meetings that were last minute that I didn't plan ahead of time. I think I have gotten a lot done. I would have done more if I had more time, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be on the set every day and work with the actors like I have. I'm so fortunate to have been given this opportunity.
Sounds like you are having a blast.
May I make a suggestion to those of you who are reading this and showing a little envy around the edges? Linda's journey to the set has been a real Godsend for her and now she has the experience now of knowing what it's like there. It is my wish that each one of you could know that experience.
Before I started writing I worked as a background actor in L.A. Now hear me out on this; Why not do the vacation time in L.A. working in the background on a set or two (or more) during that time? I might just be able to work out a deal with my old agency boss (who runs an agency that schedules non-union background actors to work on film and tv sets. Now you could try and book yourself with Cenex casting (the non-union side of Central casting), but again, it's who you know. For a small fee (usually 2-3 days of work), you can retain the services of several casting companies who will schedule you for work the next day, or even several days in a row. That fee is a monthly fee.
Still listening? Work 4-5 days a week for a two week vacation and see what it's like on a set. Observe who does what and how things do, or don't, get done.
The other day I had a meeting with a casting agent to discuss finding the right talent for two of my scripts, including possible name talent. She gave me a comment as to why she liked my scripts; She told me that the reason my scripts were interesting was due to my experiences in production as well as my imagination.
Linda, Steve and I and perhaps a few more of us here have a distinct advantage over the rest of you: we have experineces on the set, in some form or fashion, which the rest of you lack. I highly recommend that you resolve that in some way. You could do your homework and take a two week vacation working in L.A. (granted, it's about %50/day), but it isn't about the money...it's about the experiences.
Anyone interested? If so, contact me and I will run interference for you with my old extra casting agency and see if we can get you lined up for a couple of weeks.
You can also do the PA route in most cities. I recently volunteered as a PA on a 35mm Indie shoot (I had also done a couple others that weren't 35mm ). I worked, but I got to see how others set up and handle a shoot. I'm a lot more comfortable with my own directing skills, now.
Great advice Randy. I agree. I learned so much from being on the set. Any writer who gets an opportunity to just be on a set, even if it isn't your film, I say do it.
I just flew home from LA tonight and after a little nap, I am happy to be home. I got a text message from my leading lady telling me they wrapped today and all the scenes I missed out on, looked great. I also talked to the AD and he said everything went great and we have so much coverage.
I was able to have a few meetings with some studio execs concerning my other scripts and they all want to see the film when it's done and consider helping with distribution.
I made so many great contacts from the film. And I had some incredible meetings. Ten years of hard work and networking my ass off has paid off. Some people I had meetings with are studio execs that I have been in touch with over the years through cold queries. They had rejected my stuff in the past, but once I told them I had a film in production, they were happy to meet with me and read my latest scripts.
During a meeting yesterday, a producer said, "you should be so proud, you have done what is unheard of for a new writer, you sold a film that is in the can and you were allowed on the set to work with the actors. That doesn't happen."
The most rewarding moment came yesterday. My very first major contact in the indurstry was about ten years ago, I contacted him with a cold query and we began emailing back and forth. He was kind enough to read my script, that back then was total crap. He is a TV producer and has been very kind to me over the years. He gave me notes on my crappy scripts and as I progressed, he took one of my later scripts to pitch to major studios.
In the past, we would have lunch together when I was in LA and just shoot the shit. We began a friendship he gave me so much advice. He was there to boost my spirits when in the past, I had near misses and bad experiences in the industry.
He took me out to lunch the other day and then stopped by to say goodbye to me yesterday. As he was leaving, he hugged me and I said, "hey, I'm making a movie finally!" And he said, "No baby, you just made a movie, it's in the can and I'm so proud of you."
Another golden moment came on location. We were shooting the beach scene and the locals had started flocking around. A little girl about 12 years old came up to me and said, "you're the writer." and I said, "yes I am." And she said, "I want to be a writer too someday." And I said, "Just start writing and never stop."
Guess you are the living proof that becoming successful isn't just a rumor started by the publishers who make books for writers.
Some make suggest Linda was "lucky", although she might agree with the old sage, "the harder I work, the luckier I get". Even though a great deal or work and persistence is a part of Linda's resume, I would be willing to bet that a certain amount of talent was cultivated over the years in order to "hedge" that bet.
Congrat's, Linda. This kind of success is to not only be admired and emulated, but your sharing it with us makes it also "infective" (if I may be allowed to create a word).
Luck does play a part. I prefer to call it good Karma. For me it was preparation meeting opportunity. Also never giving up and finding back doors to open when the front door closed.
I did what every writer tries to do. I found someone who was as passionate about my script as I was and willing to invest a lot of money into making it a reality.
Everything just fell into place. And some things that seemed like bad luck at the time, turned out to be something positive. Everything seemed to happen for a reason.
My leading actor's character was sort of cursed it seemed. The original actor had to leave the project because of a prior engagement. Then the second actor who we ended up liking a lot, was not working out and was replaced after two days of shooting.
One of the actors who had a smaller part was asked to then take the lead. He ended up being the best choice for the role. He was perfect. Two days of shooting were down the drain and had to be re-shot with the new actor but couldn't happen until the last week.
This worked out well, because the scenes that were shot are very important opening scenes in the film and show relationships between the characters. Since the scenes couldn't be shot until the end of production, the actors had a lot of time to become comfortable with each other and by the time we shot, they all knew each other so well that the scene played better and they did a little improv as well.
We all said it was good luck, not bad, that the actor had to be replaced twice until we found our "Mikey" It was meant to be this way.
Linda, You're an inspiration. Can you give us any details regarding the film? Are they keeping the title? Is it heading for small, wide, fesival, DVD, TV? How long from legal pad to into the can?
I have to ask. What page color have you guys ended on? Have you framed your colored script?
The original title of the film was called, Is It Cheating? The producer and I began calling it, Cheaters from the beginning of our negotiations. Two weeks after he purchased it, he called to ask me what I thought about changing the name to Behaving Badly and I loved it. So that is the title.
We are hoping for it to be released in theaters and are going to take it to a few studios once a rough cut is ready. The producer thinks within a month he should have a cut ready to show to people to consider distribution. We have a few ins at a few major companies for distribution.
As far as time frame, I wrote this script in two weeks. It was my first draft actually. It was around January that I wrote it and was working on a second draft when I started to pitch it around. This producer wanted to read it and even though it was a first draft, he didn't care. I sent it to him on February 13th and he wanted to buy it right away. We spent about 4 weeks in negotiations and then I got my option check.
Then it was late March and he began pre-production. Early June he began casting and scouting locations. The crew started to come together and production was set for late August, but delays happened and shooting started on Sept. 8th and wrapped on Oct. 5th. The week that principal photography began, he wired the purchase price into my account.
Walter, I'm not sure what you mean by what page color did we end up on. The original script was revised once to reflect location changes and then it was shot from that script. I don't have a copy of the shooting script to frame, I only have it on my computer.
How long were you on the set?
Most shoots are three months. I worked on one that lasted almost a year.
I know how you feel. I usually had to be on film sets at 5:30 in the morning (though, on Studio pics, they never seem to start shooting until after lunch) and even when the clock struck as late as 4 a.m.--I NEVER WANTED TO GO HOME. For me, the filmmaking process is so fascinating to watch.
I asked how long you were on the set because, every set I've ever worked on, though most people take the same people with them to the next production, on the last day of the shoot--it was always sad. The wrap parties were always fun, but the last day of the shoot was ALWAYS so sad! (A real tear jerker!!!!)
I worked on one shoot for almost a year. I was one of two females with a couple hundred men. On the last day of the shoot, I'd never seen so many bawling men in my life.
Working in film is fantastic. But it's also sad. You work with the most wonderful, loyal people you will ever meet--then, after a few months, it's technically over and everyone has to move on to the next job.
Now you can probably understand why it upsets me when people who have never really worked in the Industry, say bad things about it. You work with these "Industry People," you soon discover--THEY ARE ALWAYS THERE FOR YOU!
I got to be on the set for seven days. It was the last five days shooting in LA and then I went to Morro bay for two days.
The Morro bay stuff went on for 4 days but I had to get back to LA. They only took a skeleton crew up to Morro and only five of the actors had scenes to shoot up there. So the last night in LA was sort of the last night for many people on the set. It was sad. We all exchanged info and said goodbye.
That was Saturday night, then I spent the next night at my leading lady's house. We had so much fun talking and running lines together. Then I drove her up to Morro Bay with me on Sunday and we had a great time. It was like being on a little vacation. We stayed up late and ran lines and just enjoyed the time we had together.
The next day we shot a bunch of scenes and then at night after we wrapped, I had to drive back and my leading man hitched a ride with me. We talked all the way home and it was great to get to know him. We talked about a project to work on together in the future.
As I was leaving, everyone hugged me and we were all kinda sad and my leading lady walked me to my car and we had gotten so close and spent so much time together and we hugged each other and didn't want to let go. Then she said, don't be sad that it's over, be happy that it happened.
In many productions, the page color changes to reflect the revisions (white, blue, yellow, goldenrod, salmon, pink, tan, buff, etc). So, by the end, the shooting script is a virtual rainbow of colors. Often, they go through "2nd goldenrod" or "3rd salmon" or something.
The fact that yours went through only one revision speaks volumns about your work. That's what I was getting at. The script that was shot was pretty much the script that was on your computer screen. In an industry where EVERYONE wants to put in their input, it's impressive that your script went through untouched. If your shooting script is on white pages (instead of "3rd blue"), that really is an accomplishment. Congratulations, Linda. Tell us when it's released because I would love to see it.
Yes, it went through one revision. Mostly what was changed were locations. Instead of certain scenes taking place in a basement/rec/poker room, they got changed to a patio in Morro Bay so they could shoot the amazing landscapes and sunset.
Some dialogue was shortened a bit, but for the most part, the shooting script was as I wrote it. The producer added a few scenes here and there at the last minute during shooting. He would come up with an idea that added to a scene that was to follow and shoot a prequel to that scene to maybe give more insight to that character. It worked well.
It was nice that he would actually come up to me and say, "hey what if we did this..." and I would say, Brilliant! because his ideas were always good. And the AD would say, "hey, it's your money, let's do it."
Some fun stuff that I hope makes it into the final cut, is when a scene was ending and the actors just kept going. They would improv and say funny stuff that was fitting to the characters. I would watch the director and the AD just sort of smirk and allowed the scene to go on before saying cut. I was like a proud mommy watching my children grow.
It was so relaxed on the set. The actors were given some creative freedom and they ran with it and it was magical. They were so comfortable in character and excited when they came up with an idea and asked what if they did this or that and they were given that opportunity and it worked.
I applaud the crew for allowing this to happen. The AD could have said cut and let's move on, but he didn't, he stood by and allowed things to flow and we captured moments that added so much.
One scene that comes to mind that I loved so much....three characters are playing poker, one goes to the bathroom and the two leads have a semi-serious conversation that is a secret. The leading lady lights a joint and they have their little talk. The scene was supposed to end right there, but, the guy who went to the bathroom comes back as the scene is ending and they just kept rolling as he improved and we captured this moment of light hearted fun between the three and it just added something special.
It was awesome for me to watch them say things that the characters would actually say but wasn't in the script. I'm so proud of all the actors. They were so amazing.
This is Guy, script supervisor on Behaving Badly.
I haven't been to this forum for a long time, not since I was entering contests a few years ago. Found it again googling you and the film.
I'm glad the shoot was a pleasuable experience for you. It was great meeting you and working with a fellow member of our Chicago screenwriting group was a treat.
I was talking to a friend from the Chicago Screenwriters Network last night, a board member, and they would love to talk to you about coming in as a speaker at a meeting sometime.
I'm so glad you found me. I was looking through all my info that I collected and I thought I took your email down but maybe I didn't.
It was amazing to meet you and to watch you work on the set. You were missed in Morro Bay. I spoke with Silvia today and she was saying how Jimmy assumed your role in Morro and it worked fine, but would have been nice to have you up there.
I was only there Sunday and Monday. They shot the restaurant scene, exteriors and the Melanie scene after I left. Silvia and Jimmy both told me they thought it went well. I think Dana added a few scenes as well. It was so beautiful up there, I wish you could have come up.
The whole experience for me was great and the entire cast and crew were amazing. Thank you for being part of this experience for me. I would love to talk to Sonny about coming to a meeting. I'll send him an email.
When I got back to LA, I had a few really good meetings before I had to leave town. Two of my other scripts and my series pilot were requested as a result of these meetings.
I have a ton of pictures. If you want any, I will email them to you.
Always wanted to be the "fly on the wall". Gee, this is fun.
Go on, don't let me interrupt!
Drop me a note via my email (see profile). We should chat about something cooking here in Texas.
It was fun working with you too. Nice to see a writer get serious access during filming. That is very unusual, I can tell you.
It was an interesting shoot with some very talented people.
I'm glad your meetings went well. I've had a few requests on my scripts this week. I still knock on doors but one great thing about doing script supervision is people actually asking to see my screenplays without being prompted(let alone the usual begging).
I know the Chicago group would be glad to hear from you: http://www.chicagoscreenwriters.org/who_we_are.htm You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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