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Archive for July, 2007

The Off Day

Erica Harrell
Producer

Friday the 27th was our productions 1st Day Off!!!!! Well it was’nt a total day off for the production team certain paperwork still had to be done for the next day and the schedule needed to be adjusted to fit what scenes we now owed with what time we have left. The callsheets, production reports, and sides for actors and crew had to be made and ready for Saturday.

Many of our crew members had the opportunity to visit some of the 4 national parks in this area. Some went to Bryce Canyon, some to Zion, some went to the Simpsons Movie in St. George. I personally went to the Grand Canyon which is about 80 miles away from Kanab. It was a bit cloudy but still and amazing site.

Upon returning to Kanab, I had a quick meeting with Danny. Turns out he has some sort of rash that could be stress induced. Luckily for Danny and the rest of my crew, his sister Christine who is a registered nurse is here in Kanab with us. It is customary to have a set medic with a crew at all times during production as there are many things that could happen to crew or cast. For instance, when Jake got ill on our second day, Christine was able to tell us that he was not in fact going to be well enough to shoot for the rest of the day. She will also be around for any scrapes or bruises that could happen when you mix crew and heavy equipment. Yay for Christine!

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Production- Day 3

Erica Harrell
Producer

Filmmaking is always a roller coaster of emotions and levels of difficulty. Where day 2 was a great day with both kids, day 3 was from the beginning going to be a challenge because of Madison needing to leave early to shoot her new film.
Crew call was 7am and everything was all set and ready, we shot a few scenes we needed that morning, but when we got to a scene in the dining room, Jake got a really sick on set and had to leave. Production took a 2 hour lunch break, and then had to wrap because we didnt have either actor to work with. As disheartening as that was, at least Jake was going to get better. Cory then had to reevaluate the schedule and he decided that taking Friday off was a great option for our crew so Jake would have an extra day to recover.
The first AD is a critical position to any crew, they are responsible for running the entire set while being a liaison between the director and the rest of the crew. They set the pace of the day and make on the spot decisions that ultimately make the movie happen in a more efficient way while making sure the director does’nt have to compromise his or her artistic vision too much in order to make each day happen. As a producer, I have to trust Cory’s instincts on how to proceed with our days when we are shooting and which days to take off. I believe the 1st AD has one of the toughest jobs on the set because he or she must explain why things are going poorly if ever they go poorly. So far Cory has run this production very well and I am very happy to have him on our team.
So as day 2 ended, we are behind but not at a point of panic because of our teams alternate strategies.
.

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Production Day 2

Erica Harrell
Producer

Yay for Day 2! Since all day 1s have mishaps, I was pretty excited about Day 2. We got a back up generator from Las Vegas while our other genny was being repaired. Madison and Jake were amazing! We did 21 set ups in about 8 hours which is moving at a tremendous pace. We shot most of our kitchen set today which consisted of Caroline and Darrell drinking milk, which meant Madison and Jake had to consume A LOT of milk take after take. Madison got a little bit of a tummy ache but being the pro that she is she kept going.

The other cool thing that has been going on is our documentary guys have been working really hard to get a behind the scenes of A Monster in the Attic and do a special short documentary on the Heritage House. Roman and Chris have been getting a ton of footage over the past few days including interviews with crew and local people for the Heritage House documentary. Their films will be a valuable asset to A Monster in the Attic not only for our crew and casts benefit, but when the film gets sold, we will be able to offer two documentaries that could become bonus material for the DVD or the Heritage House documentary could play as a short film on its own. Roman and Chris are also editing the documentary in their hotel room, I cant wait to look back on the process of making A Monster.

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Production- Day 1

Erica Harrell
Producer

I arrived in Kanab Utah after finishing up my other film, Baker in Florida. Upon arriving in Kanab, I was overwhelmed by the communities warm welcome. The Parry Lodge and the Film Commission put up signs to welcome A Monster in the Attic into town. The Art Department was extremely prepared for production which was a huge relief as the production design plays a huge role in A Monster in the Attic. As the rest of the crew arrived, I realized what an amazing crew we had assembled on this film. Cory Johnson, our First Assistant Director, put together a schedule that had us beginning principal photography Tuesday July 24. Shooting Wednesday, Thursday. Then due to Madison’s schedule, taking Friday and Saturday off. (Madison was cast in Jack in the Beanstalk and needed to shoot a day in Los Angeles).

So the first day of production, began really well. The crew is absolutely amazing and the Heritage House looks better than ever. The first half of our day went extremely well and stress free. After we broke for lunch, I got a call from Cory….. apparently our generator had caught on fire. Our gaffer, Janice Pearson and our DP Scott were attending to the matter, but it did not look good. After lunch, we discovered that it was indeed down for the rest of the day. When a generator goes down, that means we cannot light any scenes that require lights stronger than what we could run off of the electricity in the Heritage House. For the rest of the afternoon, we were only able to complete one other scene that we could using the Heritage House’s power. We could not complete the 3 remaining scenes. Cory then had to regroup with Danny and myself to figure out how to incorporate those missing scenes into the rest of our schedule.

As far as first days go, despite the generator, I feel it was a very successful day. I am very happy with our cast, crew and location!!!! And lunch was great…

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Madison Davenport starring as Caroline

Danny Daneau
Director

For the past few months a rumored writers strike in Hollywood has made television producers and executives push up all productions on their shows to get as much in the can before summer ends. What does this have to do with this film?

Three months ago young actress Adair Tishler was cast in the leading role of Caroline for our film. One month ago we recieved a phone call from her agent informing us that Adair would be working for three episodes of HEROES over our shoot dates. He assured us that they would only need her for one day per episode and that she’d be completely able to do both.

This worried me, my producer Erica, and my casting director Erica (Silverman). Even though things were looking up at the time, Silverman began see other young actresses just in case. Well of course HEROES becomes massively behind schedule, working their cast and crew into double overtime. They began calling Adair for days after days after days, and as of Wednesday of last week, we realized that the train-wreck of HEROES was about to crash into our production as well. Adair and her Aunt Rhonda fought with me until the end, putting her career in jeopardy by bullying the casting agents and producers of the show. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me to see them fight so hard.

So that brings us to last Wednesday, six days before production begins. As of the previous Sunday, a young actress named Madison Davenport had returned after filming six weeks in Canada for the anticipated New Line Picturehouse/ HBO venture Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery. Tuesday night she comes into a casting session for the film after being highly recommended by the family of Jake Johnson (actor playing Darrell.) Silverman uploaded the session onto a secure website for the Monster team to watch.

Blew us away.

We called Madison back the following night to push some of the films most challenging material to see how far she could go. That night, while sitting in my hotel room in Utah, I watched my computer screen and for the very first time I listened to my lines being read as I started to cry.

Bombshells like loosing your actress a week before shooting are all but too common in the movie business. But typically they birth possibilities never imaged before. For me this is Madison. We have had three shooting days together and every day is better than the next. She has such a complex understanding of the themes of the film and motivations of her character. With Madison we had found Caroline.

Danny and Madison
Danny with Madison Davenport, Lead Actress Playing Caroline.
IMDB.COM
Madison Unlimited
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Tomorrow Production Begins

Danny Daneau
Director

It is 12:03am as I type this entry. Call time tomorrow is 7am. Day 1 is finally here.

Earlier today I was more nervous then I’ve been in my whole life. My palms were sweating, my stomach turned, and my head ached. The reason was I looked at our production and realized everything was perfect. Everything was all set, all that’s left is to shoot the film and get the performances. I was feeling the pressure now of my job to lead this fantastic team deep into the soul of the story.

My solution came in a knock off bottle of migraine aspirin. After taking two of those, all the pressure in my head dissolved away and I was feeling confident and excited.

I am ready to make this movie.

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Greetings From Utah

Danny Daneau
Director

Sorry for the delay since the last post. It is 2am and I am unable to sleep while staying at my hotel at the infamous Parry Lodge in Kanab, Utah.

We are now only 9 days away from principle photography. I cannot believe it is almost time. So far everything is going great. My art department arrived in town last Monday and have been doing an amazing job. Everything is looking exactly as I dreamed.

Stay tuned tomorrow and I will upload a picture or two of this progress.

Eric and I stayed up tonight writing in the lobby of the hotel. We were making changes that have come up while spending a lot of time on the actual locations and working through each scene. I cannot tell you how proud I am to have all these fantastic people working next to me. The road ahead is going to get a lot more crazy, but with the level of talent in my cast and crew, I have little worries.

Promise to keep up more. Thanks for reading!

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