House of Hugs Productions

Julia Radochia's blog for her films, film festivals, and film in general, among other things...

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Location: Arlington, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Like His Father

(Back to Like His Father website)

OK, I think I'll spend a little time and talk about each of my films. Because my website has limits to what I can do with it, I think that this blog is a better place for this kind of thing.

I was taking a DV class from Joni Varner at Los Angeles City College in the spring of 2003. We had two film projects to do, one no longer than 3 minutes and the second no longer than 5 minutes. Even though the only equipment we got was a 1 chip mini dv camera, I wanted to do a film with dialogue. I thought that it would be good practice.

I wrote a short script based loosely on my leaving a boyfriend who was verbally and emotionally abusive. But the film wasn't so much about a relationship with an abusive partner as it was about the relationship with the mother. I liked the mother of this guy I left, but I felt it wasn't my place to say anything about her son, no matter how twisted his behavior was towards me. So I didn't feel able to really say "goodbye" to her because I couldn't tell her why I left her son so suddenly.

I always wondered if the mother of my ex really knew why I left. That's what inspired me to come up with the story for this film. The first part of the film, where Wendy, girlfriend, gathers up the guts to move out as soon as her boyfriend is based on a real event. The second part, with Marion, the mother showing up at the door with a plate of brownies is the fantasy. What would Wendy say to Marion as she catches her leaving with her suitcase?

I cast Emily Brooke Hands to play Wendy, Matias Coo to play the boyfriend, Luke, and Roxanne Barker as the mother. The previous semester I had cast Emily and Matias to be in a scene for my directing class. Most of the class really liked them and thought they worked well together. Now I don't cast people just because I worked with them before, but as I wrote the script, I thought that Emily would be perfect for Wendy and that Matias could play against her as the bad guy. Now, Matias is actually a really nice guy. He is really one of the most easy going actors I've worked with. But I thought he might have it in him to be a little bad as well as display the characteristics that made Luke likable to begin with. I think you can't portray an abusive person all one note, even in a short film. You have to see that there was something about the character that gave him the ability to draw people in.

I auditioned several women for Marion. I auditioned a lot of talented women for the part but Roxanne Barker had the quality I was looking for. The funny thing is, I don't remember if I had even auditioned her. She was in my classmate's, Catherine C. Pirotta's film and when I watched her in it, I realized that was what I wanted for Marion. Catherine gave me her number and well, that's how I got my third cast member.

Thomas Davis and Jeremy helped me film this movie. We filmed it in one day, although we did call Roxanne back to re-shoot her scenes the next weekend because we wanted to get better light on her face. I edited the film down to 3 minutes so I wouldn't get points taken off. But it was a little too choppy in some parts.

The class really liked the film, more than I had expected. Many gave high praise to Emily's performance. My teacher, Joni, gave me an A but suggested that I might do a little re-editing if I wanted to do anything with the film. Well, I hadn't thought that I could do anything with it (as far as festivals were concerned), but several months later, after I bought my own G5 and Final Cut Pro software, I did re-edit. I made the beginning flow better and allowed a little more time for the whole thing to breathe. Now that I wasn't under the 3 minute constraint, I also slowed down the end credits so that people could read them. This brought the film to 4 minutes, exactly.

The film also needed music. I had Jeremy do the score. I said I wanted something that indicated a hard time but that also had hope in it. I didn't want "oh poor me" music. He came up with exactly what I was looking for. He then recorded himself playing it on guitar and then gave it to our friend, Robert Baker Shaw to play on piano. Robert added a lot of his own thing to piano part. The song actually goes on much longer -- I wish you could hear it all! But of course I couldn't take more than 4 minutes of it. I'm really happy with how the music and film came together so well.

Now, I knew that LIKE HIS FATHER would not make it into any big festivals. It didn't look or sound professional. The sound, in particular was just bad. That's what you get for using the microphone in camera. Jeremy did his best to clean it up and adjust the levels, but there's only so much you can do.

But, it still made it into a few: 2005 Route 66 Film Festival, 2005 Fiery Film Festival and the 2006 Marblehead Festival of Arts film festival. The funny thing is, I had submitted four films to Marblehead, and they accepted two. I really didn't expect them to take LIKE HIS FATHER, but they said that it really grabbed them.

I have no future plans for this film. I think it's done as much as it's going to do. It did more than I thought it would do. Thank you, little film. And thank you Emily, Matias, Roxanne, Jeremy, Thomas and Robert!

(Back to Like His Father website)

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Midwest Deja vu

OK, I suppose it's time to write something new. As I said in my last post, don't rent from those Zaghis in LA...

I found it a bit interesting that since we moved back to Boston I have been back to two of the cities we visited on our cross country trip, Chicago and Cleveland. Chicago I was in for only a fraction of two separate days. On September 15th, I was on my way to the Route 66 Film Festival in Springfield, IL, where this year JIMMY'S HOUSE OF HUGS was playing. This was my third time at the festival, and though the first two times I flew to Springfield, this year my funds were very limited, so I flew to Chicago and then took the train to Springfield. It saved me more than $200. Excellent. Plus, staring out a train window is one of my favorite past times.

I was able to spend 2-3 hours in Chicago in between plane and train trip each way, which gave me the opportunity to take in the city's energy, but not to get to do any real sightseeing. I was just happy to be back there. Chicago, did I tell you I loved you? Or is it too soon in our relationship to say that yet?

Now, this past weekend I was in Cleveland for the Ohio Independent Film Festival. EDDIE'S WINNING DATE was screening there. It's funny because when Jeremy and I were there last time I was thinking to myself that I might be there again soon. I don't know why because I was coming off a string of festival rejections, and although I had already submitted to Ohio, I just didn't think I would get in. OIFF had rejected my other films in 2004 and 2005 so I thought it was a long shot. With 400 submissions this year, it was a long shot. But this time, in 2006, I was on the winning side.

Now, before the Ohio Independent film festival, my associations with Cleveland were my friend, Anthony, and Drew Carey, whom I don't know, so I can't claim as a friend, but well, his show was set in Cleveland, so I associated it with him. Make sense? Good. :) I also think of the Cleveland Browns and how they now have Romeo Crennel as a head coach. I have a soft spot in my heart for the Browns, and I did take in some joy in that they beat Atlanta this weekend. It didn't make up for the pain of the Patriots losing a second week in a row, and this time, to the Jets.

OK, so I had some pain while in Cleveland. (And I'm still feeling it.) But I had a nice time attending the festival and seeing EDDIE'S look and sound great. When EDDIE'S sounds good, people like it. When there are sound problems, the film is lost. This screening had the best sound out of any screening I've attended and I heard people laughing at spots that never received laughter before.

The festival was a couple of miles from downtown Cleveland, but that's far enough to be out of the city. It was in the Lakewood section of Cleveland I believe, which is close to Ohio City where Jeremy and I stayed before. I got there in the afternoon and watched a couple of features, then went out looking for something to eat. There wasn't a lot to choose from. I could have gone to a sandwich shop (but I already ate at Subway for lunch) or to Snickers, which was a little too nice and just not cheap enough for me, so I ended up have a burger and onion rings at the bar across the street. It was a real bar, complete with the resident drinkers and the requisite older Gretchen Wilson looking bartender asking me, "What can I get ya, Hon?" I could have sworn I knew her. Really, I've met this woman before. Pretty woman, showing some age. Big eyes with a slight slant to the upper lids, turned up nose, slighter lips... OK, I've become obsessed with face reading. While watching the 2004 World series I noticed that pitchers often had slanty eyes, a nose with a hook and a narrower mouth...

And football players have square jaws.

Yes, football. It's not entirely off subject since the Patriots are almost a character in my film. This guy, Ken, who was in a film in the festival, RAVEN GETS A LIFE, by Devi Snively, asked me if I was a Tom Brady fan. Oh yes. I am. He said he liked Brady since he was at Michigan. (Ken is a big Wolverines fan.) He always appreciated what Brady did. Ken, who was from Indiana, was a Chicago Bears fan first, though, and did hope that the Bears would kick Patriot butt at the end of this month.

Chicago, Cleveland, I love ya... I'm feeling some patterns here, but my mind is now back to one involving the Patriots. It's been a tough few weeks, but I'm yearning for something involving the Pats, some big wins, THE big win.

I think I've felt that before...

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