Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Strindberg Pick-Ups

Our Strindberg's Assistant is truly a no-budget project. We have begged, borrowed, and then spent the little cash we have to get this movie made. The cast and crew work for nothing but food and a desire to collaborate creatively on a film that we believe will live up to our expectations. Most of those involved have other jobs that pay their bills. As a result, getting everyone together is often a daunting challenge.

So for some of the pick-ups, Mike the DP and Robert the Director have been cheating the shots. Last week, we needed to get Bjorne the Assistant (Patrick Garvey) coming down a set of stairs, then back up. But Patrick at the time was working in Chicago and unavailable.

Instead, we simply went to Mike's house, put Robert in a pair of black shoes and gray pants, and ran him up and down the basement stairs. Shot from the waist down, we had our 1910 footage of the Assistant on the steps!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Strindberg Pick-Up Shots

Yesterday, we shot pick-ups for a couple of short segments where we still needed footage. The first was a street sequence of Strindberg (played by Colin Cameron) with another 1910 gentleman (Brad Goldworthy).

Next was a shot of our housemaid, Katina (Georgia Curry), waving goodbye from the deck of a "green screen" ocean liner.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Livingston Inn Shoot #1

Yesterday was our first shoot inside the historic Livingston Inn in Madison. The Strindberg's Assistant story involves two different time periods, 1910 and modern day. Both culminate at this Bed and Breakfast

It was a long, intense day of shooting, but by day's end, we'd successfully made it through five different modern-day scenes. Actor Joyce Aasen (below right) plays Agda, a woman who's long dead grandmother is haunting her in her dreams. Grip Ivy Suryana (left) looks on...

Nicholas Wootton (right) plays the modern day Bed and Breakfast owner who's home Agda has been drawn to. Gaffer/Sound Technician Jim Bugge (left) fits Joyce with a lavaliere...

Georgia Curry (right) play Katina, Agda's grandmother as she looked back in 1910...

Michael Haven, Director of Photography...

Tashai handled the script supervisor duties on set...

Robert directed....

Photos by Colin Cameron

We're nearing completion on Strindberg's Assistant. Just a few pick up shots to get this week, then one last all-day shoot at the Bed and Breakfast again next weekend. After that, all principle photography is finished on the project.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rehearsals for Strindberg

Immediately following our appearance at the Edgerton Book and Film Festival today, we darted back to Madison for rehearsals for tomorrow's Strindberg shoot. We met at the home of Joyce Aasen who is playing one of the leading roles in the modern day segments of the film. Practicing lines with her was Nicholas Wootton, who only this week came on board the project. He graciously agreed to fill in at the last minute for a role that had been assigned to another actor but who had to back out.

Joyce, Robert, Nicholas

DP Michael Haven and Co-Producer Colin Cameron also joined us and chimed in with some valuable suggestions.


Photos courtesy of Colin Cameron.

The Edgerton Film Fest "Chickens" Screening

We had a wonderful day today at the Edgerton Book and Film Festival. Mad City Chickens screened at the Edgerton Public Library in the morning, then we sold swag in the afternoon to a very welcoming crowd.

Following our screening, Susan Troller and S.V. Medaris gave a talk on their new book, CLUCK. Susan is pictured below with her husband and the two of us...

And S.V. after the screening...

It is indeed true. Everyone has a chickens story...we heard some doozies. Good times! Special thanks to Caroline and Frank of Itchy Cat Press for setting up this screening. Photos courtesy of Colin Cameron.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Edgerton Fest: Opening Night Reception

Our Mad City Chickens is part of the Edgerton Sterling North Book and Film Festival. Really enjoyed tonight's opening reception. We had the opportunity to chat with a number of fascinating authors and well-known film and television personalities too. Sitting at our table was the humorous Alison Arngrim who made her character of Nellie Olsen famous in The Little House on the Prairie series.

Also very much enjoyed the company of Kathy Garver who played Cissy on the CBS sitcom Family Affair in the late 60s.

And once they learned that we'd made a backyard chicken film, both Alison and Kathy shared their own "chicken stories".

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cluck: From Jungle Fowl to City Chicks

Author Susan Troller and artist S.V. Medaris (both who appeared in our Mad City Chickens documentary) have collaborated on a new book entitled, Cluck: From Jungle Fowl to City Chicks. Published by Itchy Cat Press, the book is a "funny, poignant, wry look at the backyard phenomenon of raising chickens for eggs, meat or just plain pets." Additional stories by Jane Hamilton, Michael Perry, and Ben Logan.

Both Susan and S.V. will be at the upcoming Edgerton Sterling North Book and Film Festival where their book presentation will follow the screening of our film. More details coming in next post.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Billings to Screen MCC

Mad City Chickens returns to Montana this Saturday, September 24th in Billings. Sponsored by Magic City Hens, the group is working to get their local city ordinances changed. The public screening will start at 6:30 pm at Harvest Church Lockwood, 1413 Rosebud Lane in Billings.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Chickens" Feedback from Humane Society

It's good to get unsolicited feedback about our work, especially from people we don't know personally. Sometimes it's not easy to take. Yet it does keep us on our toes...and striving to create the best movies possible with the resources we have available. Of course, it's terrific when our work has an impact. Afterall, that is the goal of Tarazod, "to entertain and evoke."

Mad City Chickens recently played at a screening sponsored by the Dane County Humane Society in Madison. The following is a note we received from the event organizer after the showing.

On behalf of DCHS many thanks! For me personally, it is a life changing movie, in addition to being very informative and entertaining. --Michelle

Thanks Michelle. We appreciate it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mad City Chickens Returns to La Crosse

Our documentary screened in La Crosse, WI back in December of 2009 when the keeping of urban hens within city limits was illegal. The battle to change the laws was heating up when the film played again in February of this year.

Now the laws have changed and backyard poultry is legal within La Crosse. So once again, Mad City Chickens is returning. On Sunday September 18, the La Crosse Public Library is sponsoring a free screening. The film starts at 1:30 pm at the library, 800 Main Street.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Livingston Inn Location

Front Exterior

As we near the completion of production on Strindberg's Assistant, we are left with one last major location to shoot--The Livingston Inn in Madison, Wisconsin. Built in 1854, this Bed and Breakfast is on the National Register of Historic Places as the William T. Leitch House. "It was constructed of local buff-colored sandstone which was quarried in nearby Westport, barged across Lake Mendota, and cut on the building site."

It's a huge house inside with a myriad of rooms, three staircases, a cupola, and just the right look. The inside is decorated to approximately the period of our film. It's a beautiful setting.

Front Sitting Room

Main Staircase with Servant Stairs in rear.

Images copyright The Livingston Inn

Monday, September 12, 2011

Filming "Strindberg's" Katina Character

Actor Georgia Curry plays Katina, the Swedish opposite of Bjorne (Patrick Garvey) in our short film Strindberg's Assistant. It was just over a week ago that we shot a number of Georgia's outdoor scenes. Much of the period sequences within the film are meant to be silent. As a result, we don't have to be concerned with getting sound; shooting was quicker and easier.

DP Mike Haven, Actor Georgia Curry, and Director Robert Lughai

Early Sunday morning steadicam shot, downtown Madison.

One scene in particular we thought might pose some challenges. Taking a shortcut through a city park, the Katina character comes upon a stray cat that she subsequently 'rescues' by placing it in her basket.

Outdoors. Cat. Basket. Could be a problem.

But as it turns out, all went rather smooth. Our DP Mike Haven brought his own cat, Phoenix, to the set. While she was by no means willing to "act" for the camera, she still did a terrific job of posing just long enough to get the shots.

 Images shot by Ivy Suryana.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

MCC Public Screening Follows Madison Coop Tour

Public Showing September, 10th Madison, WI - Sponsored by the Dane County Humane Society in conjunction with the Mad City Chickens Coop Tour- 2:00 pm screening at the Humane Society, 5132 Voges Road. Film follows tour, free admission, raffle prizes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

MCC to Screen in Tennessee

The folks in Johnson City, Tennessee are working to get their chicken laws changed. So to raise awareness, on Friday, September 9, a public screening of Mad City Chickens is being presented by C.O.O.P. (Chickens On Our Property). The film starts at 7:00 pm at The Next Door, 415 W. Walnut Street in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

More Strindberg Weekend Guerrilla Shoots

On larger projects, it's important to always make the effort to get all the proper paperwork signed, release forms in order and licenses paid for. Otherwise, when it comes time for distribution and sales, these things could come back to haunt you.

However, our Strindberg project is a no-budget narrative short. So there's no money for getting permits or permission...or practically anything else either. Rather, we show up on location in the early morning and shoot with a fast-working skeleton crew.

Anatomy of a guerrilla alley shot...

Ági Rédei plays the prostitute and Colin Cameron is August Strindberg.


Robert directs as DP Mike Haven shoots Colin and Ági.

Mike takes a bead on Ági's prostitute boots.

We had another scene where Patrick Garvey as the Assistant must enter and exit a building on two to three separate occasions. Our location was an old house-converted-to-apartments. We shot it in the morning and then returned later in the day to catch it with the changing light. But on the second time around, the landlord of the building came out and shagged us off the property.

Illegal Shoot

We weren't done, though. We still needed to shoot Patrick exiting, this time with black soot exploded on his face. So when the landlord finally left in his truck, we returned once more and shot the fastest takes we've ever done on this project.

Patrick on ground waking up with soot on his face.

Skeleton Crew: Mike Tashai, Robert