Friday, September 28, 2007

basic facts/FAQ

Semi-Official Title: "Don't Call Us"

AKA: "Don't Call Us, and We Won't Call You"; "Don't Call Us... and We Won't Call You"; "Human Resources"

Production dates: July 27-29, 2007

Production locations: various locations in Manhattan and Queens, N.Y.

Projected running time: 5-6 minutes

Production company: Ducks in a Row Productions

What is it about, anyway?
It's about six minutes. OK, kidding. Don't Call Us, or whatever we end up calling it, is a comedic exploration of the similarities between dates and job interviews. It follows one character through the offices and singles hangouts of New York on her heroic quest to find a career and a boyfriend. (Or at least a single man she can tolerate, and a job that won't drive her crazy.) Spoiler alert: dates and interviews are similar and frustrating.

When will it be done?
Hard to say exactly. We've been editing for a couple of months and are close to having a rough cut in place. The short is in good shape, at least in the opinion of its director and editor, but it's always the finishing touches--music, sound mixing, color correction, fine tuning--that take longest. So to answer the question, let's guess that we'll have a presentable rough cut by early November, and be applying to festivals by early next year.

How can I see the short, once it's done?
Any number of ways. Ideally, in a major festival. Eventually, on the web. Possibly, on a cable TV station. Frighteningly, by breaking into my apartment and stealing a DVD.

Why make a short film, anyway?
All the long films were taken.

Who are you people, and why should I care?
Check out the bios link on this site for more about that (once we get around to putting up our bios). That said, here's a quick glimpse of how we've all worked together in the past. Writer/director Zack Ordynans and co-producer Randy Mack went to Clark University together and made a feature film ("Burning Annie," now available on video) about their college experiences. A few years later, Zack and producer Janna Trevers made a short film called "Yin/Yang" that starred Dayci Brookshire. "Yin/Yang" editor Russell Dreher is editing DCU as well, in addition to having been DCU's script supervisor, photographer and a cast member.

What was your budget?
Less than a million dollars. In fact, it was almost a million dollars less than a million dollars.

Is it true that you blew half your budget on insurance, even though the director works for an insurance company?

How does that make you feel?
Somewhere between :/ and :(

What format did you shoot in, and what kind of camera did you use?
We shot it in DV, using DP Sebastian Capilli's Canon XL1.

You've got a lot of stuff going on--more than 10 locations and a similar number of cast members--for a five minute movie.
We're masochists. Seriously though, that's what the script called for, and we wanted to find enough interesting actors and locations to really make it sing. Ironically, being in New York made casting easier than it would have been elsewhere (except perhaps L.A.), but it also made finding locations tougher than elsewhere (again, excepting L.A.).

What was the casting process like?
The script was written with Dayci Brookshire in mind as the lead. Zack and Janna had worked with her on their previous short, "Yin/Yang," and thought she was not only a terrific actress, but also a true professional and a pleasure to work with. Frankly, we were lucky to be able to pick up the phone and call someone as talented as Dayci, and have her agree to work on this project. Unlike "Yin/Yang," where we worked with a casting director and went through a more elaborate casting process, this time around, with a far greater number of parts to fill, Janna and Zack found their cast among friends and friends-of-friends, with a broad range of acting experience. The goal was to mix talented actors with interesting people we knew, who could essentially play themselves. Without naming names, Dayci recommended several actors. Seth Shelden, who Zack and Janna had been itching to work with for years, also suggested actors. Two of the director's college roommates (both, incidentally, inspired characters in Zack and DCU co-producer Randy Mack's feature, "Burning Annie") have roles in DCU. It's also possible that the director's mother makes an appearance. As you can see, we have our priorities straight.

Did you work with union actors?
Yes, though they're not all SAG members. We made this short under a SAG classification that allows us to mix union and non-union actors. It ended up being about a 50-50 split. Dayci, for example, is SAG, and in contrast, the director's mother is not.

Where did you get your locations?
If there was a more stressful aspect of pre-production, I'm glad I don't remember it. We made a lot of phone calls, knocked on a lot of doors, sent out a bunch of mass e-mails. After struggling in Manhattan, our big breakthrough was shlepping to Janna's neighborhood of Sunnyside, Queens, where there are a number of interesting bars and restaurants that were more accommodating than much of what we were finding in Manhattan.

What's with all the different titles?
We're thinking...

What about a tagline? Have that one figured out yet, smart guy?
Um, no. But if we end up calling the flick "Human Resources," we'll probably go with a tag of "Don't call us, and we won't call you." Clever, eh?

Anything else?

I'm good if you're good.

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