Saturday, June 28, 2008


I haven't updated lately because it's been hard enough getting through the days with the arm hurting, feeling nauseated from pain pills, and operating on very little sleep. I can say that today was the first day I actually enjoyed being on the set since the surgery, as the pain was a little better. I also decided against taking my pain pills, which I'm convinced were the main source of my nausea,

We have about 7 or 8 shooting days left. I really can't wait for it to end -- which isn't to say I don't like making movies! Shortly after it's done, I'll be thinking about the next one. But right now, I'm physically and psychically spent, and the difficulty posed by doing this all with surgery in the middle has really gotten to me.

At the end of it, though, I'll be excited about what we have, and I think we'll have a pretty good movie on our hands.

Below, an early still (photo credit: Mike Davis):

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The day after surgery... a lot more painful than the day of, apparently.

Just FYI.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Award at ReelHeART

CLEAN FREAK picked up an Honorable Mention award at the ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto.

(Sorry for the short post -- hard to type tonight).

Surgery Update

The surgery on my broken wrist was a success -- I now have a metal plate holding my wrist in place. I was actually under general anesthesia instead of a local. I don't mind that -- I'd rather not have been alert for the procedure. But I'm still pretty groggy from it; it took me hours to become awake and alert enough to leave the hospital, and I even slept several more hours when I got home. In fact, I'm still pretty out of it.

So now I'm sitting in my living room tethered to a cooling device (PolarCare) that is keeping my wrist pretty numb, which helps with the pain and the swelling.

And I'm pretty glad that we have a day off from shooting tomorrow.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Well, what seemed like a standard-issue broken wrist has evolved into a major pain in the... wrist. To whit, I will be having surgery on Tuesday to repair the broken bone. The doctor will insert a metal plate to stabilize the wrist, so I will officially be a cyber-person -- part man, part machine.

I think I would be more uptight about this if I wasn't so worried about the impact of all this on the film's shooting schedule!

Monday, June 16, 2008

How it Happened

I'm afraid the story of how I broke my wrist isn't an exciting one. And this will be the short version since I'm typing one-handed...

After mowing the lawn and putting the mower away, there were some power cords stuck underneath. When I yanked at them to get them to come loose, they gave way too easily, and I lost my balance as I stumbled backwards. I put my arms out behind me to brace myself and avoid cracking my skull on the pavement, but my wrist got crunched underneath as I fell awkwardly.

I knew right away it was broken because if the pain, and when I grabbed it, I could say the way it was misshapen. My friend Dan took me to the ER, where a number of nurses and doctors responded to the sight of my wrist with some degree of shock ("Huh, that's interesting," said the first ER doctor I saw -- not what you want to hear from your physician).

They had to put it in traction for a while (after numbing it), and then they set the bone. All very painful. They gave me some good painkillers, but I can't take that stuff while trying to direct, so I'm surviving on ibuprofen at the moment.

And this took me 35 minutes to type!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Broken bones

Broke my left wrist this evening -- fun fun. Pretty bad break, had to have it in traction and then get it "set." Ouch.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Endings, Day 7 (I think)

Shooting day 7 (production day 8). More importantly, today was the first day shooting with our lead child actress, my oldest daughter.

And the kid can act.

Really. I was worried -- I thought she'd do well, but I wasn't sure. Then she nailed several scenes today and really impressed her fellow actor (a pro with more than a decade's experience on the stage in Chicago theatre) as well as our producer, associate producer, and director of photography, all of whom have a lot of experience with actors and major projects.

So -- speaking as a filmmaker, I'm thrilled.

Speaking as a dad, I'm a wee bit proud.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Seattle screening of Clean Freak

With production on Endings in full swing, I forgot that Clean Freak screened last night in Seattle at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival. I wish I could have been there!

So, any Seattle folks get to see it and want to report on the screening?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Endings, Day 5

I wasn't sure at first what day I was blogging about. I'm pretty sure I just got home from day 5, but it's 3am, so perhaps we're into day 6 already (which is actually an off-day).

Hard days. People are working hard for this film of mine, something that flatters me and also gives me a great sense of responsibility to make this work well. The actors are giving it their all. There's just so much to do every day -- it's hard to get it all done, the way I want to do it, in the time we have some days. Today was like that. It seemed like we were moving along at a good speed, bit we just seemed to bog down somewhere, and the day wore on longer than it should have.

Or maybe it didn't. Maybe we didn't bog down. Maybe we were just trying to do too much for one day. I'm not sure, really. We got good footage, so I'm not complaining.

The experience just reminds me how difficult and challenging it is to make a good film. People want it to happen, but circumstances don't.

This post reads like I'm disappointed or upset. Not true. Just reflective, possibly because it's so late (er, early). I probably just need some sleep...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Endings Day 3

Day 3 was another day at Camp Hope in MacGregor, where we were shooting some intense confrontational moments between a couple of characters. As often happens, matching up the complicated and choreographed action with the intense dialogue was challenging -- so we'll have a nice montage of "actor being slammed to the ground" flubbed takes for the outtakes reel... But we eventually did get the scenes shot the way we needed, and we ended the night ahead of schedule.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Day 2

Another long day -- though not as long as the last. We were out at Camp Hope in MacGregor, TX today, shooting scenes set at a "rehab camp" in the woods. As with most days, we had our triumphs and our frustrations. It was a hot and humid day, and we were shooting in one of the small cabins, which became a hot box!

The highlight (or lowlight) of the shoot was getting locked in the camp at night. Several of us were among the last to depart, and for some reason the automatic exit gate wouldn't open. As it was already past 1am, this wasn't really a fun time to hang out for a while. Eventually, our location manager made his way back with the key card to let us out. So I ended up getting to bed after 2:30am, despite a 1am wrap on the location.

Friday, June 06, 2008

First day

A long day -- just got home around 2am. Wind was a major pain for our sound today -- must have been gusting up to 50 mph times... and the sun played havoc with our continuity by going in and out of the clouds all afternoon. But, in spite of the hassles, we got some really good stuff, and, perhaps most importantly, the actors were clicking on all cylinders.

A good day.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Endings begins tomorrow

Production on Endings begins tomorrow at noon. I'll probably be too busy to blog much -- but you can follow the action, I hope, at

The site is live now, and we're planning to add production photos, updates and more -- including having crew members blog about the shoot. I'm not sure precisely when the updates will begin, but we'll get that on track soon.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

ENDINGS update

Random notes:

Production starts Thursday. I have a head cold and scratchy throat (great timing).

I took my kids to see Horton Hears a Who last night, sort of a "last hurrah" before the movie starts up. I really enjoyed it, much to my surprise, as I didn't think it would translate well (especially at feature length). But it did -- moving and funny, though it did drag in a few spots.

We still don't have a convenience store in which to shoot a pivotal scene, though we are making progress on a couple of fronts (I think).

The student crew is in the building today setting up lights, working on production design/art direction stuff, and generally getting the lay of the land.

I can't seem to think straight because of this head cold, so I think I'm going to run out and get some medicine.

The "making of" documentary crew came in a few minutes ago and told me to "be myself" -- which is very hard to do when you're told to do it.

I can't believe we start shooting on Thursday...