July and Half of August: Some Screengrabs

Last February there was the madness of making a movie, with serious discussions about pool balls, how to film neon signs, how to hide Green Bay Packers memorabilia, Annika/Monica confusion, plus what kind of ice cubes go in a glass of whiskey. Everything matters, especially if you want to tell a whole story in only 12 minutes.

Of course I could see how beautiful it all looked on the monitor but that was a very different thing from seeing it all put together as I did last Saturday in Albuquerque. Director Brandeaux Tourville took on this project with passion: He knew what he wanted it to look like. He didn’t want to “conceptualize” it, he wanted the characters to be the focus. He worked with the cinematographer, the talented Peter Mosiman, to get it right. They were both very excited about filming in black and white. I loved the idea because black and white is a little bit more universal than color (for some reason), but it’s also romantic, maybe a little bit sad too. The film is two people sitting at a bar talking but Brandeaux and Peter thought hard about how to make it cinematic without taking away from the story.

I know how movies are made. But this is my first script and my first time watching something I wrote get filmed, as a bunch of people lugged boom mikes and lights around that small bar, and the two gorgeous actors – Annika Marks and Robert Baker – kept their focus to make the scene happen.

Here are some glimpses of what the film looks like.

















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21 Responses to July and Half of August: Some Screengrabs

  1. tracey says:

    OMG. It’s perfect, Sheila. I can hear some of your dialogue in their faces. That makes no sense, but then again, maybe it does. I hear it on their faces — and their hands, those hands! I see it, but I hear it too.

    So expressive, so evocative. When can I see this?? I want so badly to see it! PROUD of my friend!! You are a wonder.

    • sheila says:

      Tracey – thank you!! I’m so glad you like what it looks like – and, best of all, that you can “hear” what they’re saying from looking at them. They’re both so expressive.

      There’s a lot of hands-stuff in it – and I love that too!!

      Thanks for your support in this whole process!

  2. mutecypher says:

    Those shots are so striking: crisp and beautiful. The empty bar images have a The Last Picture Show-level poignancy.

    • sheila says:

      Thanks! It’s just amazing to me how Peter Mosiman somehow – with his camera operator and the lighting guy – was able to transform that pretty run of the mill bar into THAT – which looks just slightly magical to me – the blurred-out neon lights and stuff. They really know what they’re doing!

      and yes, the empty bar shots. So cool – I had no idea they were even going to use those shots. I just thought they were test shots, but they work really well!

  3. Lyrie says:

    That is beautiful. There is such depth! Now I desperately want to know what they’re saying – I already want to know what happens next. The two shots back to back where their hands behaviour mirror each other – you know, the one where she looks at him with *something* in her eyes and the one where he laughs… it’s so beautiful I kinda want to lick them (oh boy, I know shouldn’t write that, it’s not what civilized people say). I am very intrigued. I hope I get to see it someday!

    • sheila says:

      I LOVE it when he laughs. It’s surprising that he laughs – because she says something pretty mean to him – but his laughter was totally perfect and completely the character I had written.

      Robert really GOT that. It’s one of my favorite moments!

    • sheila says:

      and yes, I love how much depth there is in the screen – particularly in the shots of him.

      We needed to have people back there in the bar – but of course the place was totally empty except for us. So we had Monica (the girl who did the makeup) and a PA (“copy that”) back there “playing pool” (of course they had to be totally silent the whole time – ha! They were having a whole drama back there.)

      And then the wife of one of the producers was sitting at the bar, “talking” with someone – again, totally silently.

      I love movie-making magic.

      But it makes such a difference to have just a little bit of movement back there – it makes it feel real – like they really are meeting up for a drink in a bar that has OTHER patrons in it.

      Eventually, I’m sure, I’ll be able to share it – not yet though – we want more festivals, more, more!!

    • sheila says:

      and – wow – I hadn’t noticed that their hands behavior mirror each other.

      Thanks for pointing that out!!

      • Lyrie says:

        // I love movie-making magic.//
        Ha, so great! Like the dance club scenes where you know people are dancing and shouting in total silence.

        // Eventually, I’m sure, I’ll be able to share it – not yet though – we want more festivals, more, more!! //
        Oh yes, I wish you tons and tons of festivals! And maybe one in Montreal, who knows? Or I might one day finally come to The Huge Scary City.:)

        • sheila says:

          I know – I love the festival in Montreal. I went back in … 1999, I think? I’ve always wanted to go back.

          And yes: dance club scenes!! Crazy, right? People whooping it up SILENTLY. Extras-casting is so important – because all of that stuff needs to look real. And it feels SO SILLY while you’re doing it!

        • sheila says:

          The festival I attended was the Montreal World Festival – it was like the whole city had been taken over!

          I was there with a short film I acted in – my life has been so weird. Not linear at all.

          I was talking with these two women in Albuquerque who had set up a “film concierge” company in Georgia – basically helping the filmmakers who come to shoot in Georgia make it happen. (So many things are filmed in Georgia now – including my cousin’s TV show – basically because of the tax incentives.)

          Anyway, I had met them in the elevator my first day there – they were practically the first people I met – and we all had badges on so we knew we were all there for the same thing. We only had 3 floors to introduce ourselves – they asked me about my film and I gave them the briefest of synopses – and these two women – unbeknownst to me – circled it on their calendar so they could catch my film. So nice!

          We talked after my film and then I ran into them at the concert later that night – and they were asking me about my background. I gave them a brief timeline, and then I heard how weird it all sounded – or, how random – and admitted, “I’m a late bloomer.”

          Both of them – who were in their 50s – said, in unison, excited, “We are too!!”

          Ha!! They set up their company just 3 years ago and now there’s so much going on that they actually have to turn down work.

          Anyway: Late Bloomers Unite!

  4. sheila says:

    A friend of mine has actually organized a private screening for New Yorkers. There’s a great place in Williamsburg where you can screen movies – and it’s free as long as everyone drinks while they’re there. :)

    It’ll be a small group – invite only – but at least my New York pals will get a chance to see it on a screen – and we can get feedback, or discuss what people “got” from it – always interesting for me. I like to just say “So what did you get from this or that moment?” and then let people answer, and NOT SPEAK. It’s always so interesting what comes out.

    Anyway, so that’s the next thing – but I do hope for more festivals!

  5. sheila says:

    aren’t the two of them just so gorgeous? So talented too: we really lucked out.

  6. Kate says:

    Sheila – it looks like a gorgeous film – just the vibe for the storyline. I can’t wait to see it! Congratulations!

  7. Dear Sheila,
    My husband and I would dearly love to se the film of your play. As you know, we are big fans of the play and we are curious to see how it was condensed to 12 minutes, especially since you are happy with it. Please let us know of any NYC screenings, and if we can make it, we certainly will!

    • sheila says:

      Anne – you are so supportive and I so appreciate it!!

      I’ll keep you posted – screening information coming together now. It’ll just be family/friends but I will be sure to let you know. Thanks again!

  8. Dan says:

    I love that is in b & w. So cool. So classic.

    • sheila says:

      I was really excited when they told me that was the plan. Because you know me and old movies! Peter Mosiman, cinematographer – who’s brilliant in color as well (his Instagram feed is one of my favorites) – was really excited at the prospect/challenge – because how often does he get to do that, right?

  9. Dear Sheila, As big fans of your play, my husband and I would love to see the film version. I hope you will let your adoring public know about screenings in New York.

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