Tomorrow the circus rolls back into town as we start the second weekend of shooting THE GIRL IN THE CRAWLSPACE. I think the first weekend went really well. We had good crew (producer Henrique Couto shooting the lights out, production assistants who picked it up quickly, good make-up), talent that was more than ready and emptied the tank emotionally, we finished on time both days, and my wife cooked for everybody, prompting Henrique to remark, "that pasta sauce smells better than friendship." And it was true, because the tomatoes were grown with love, in our own garden.
It was the number one tip I got, from multiple b-movie directors: feed everybody, and the rest will work itself out.
For myself, it was a blur; there were times I think I really put some cool and challenging ideas out there and times I was lost in the tall grass, and couldn't remember what happened next in my own script that I had so carefully labored over. But my old friend and incredibly prolific b-movie director Mark Polonia called in the morning to wish me luck, and then called back at the wrap to drop heavy knowledge on me: "Directing a movie is like a car wreck; it comes at your fast, and when you wake up, you don't remember what happened." He has directed more movies than years I have been alive, so that one can go to the bank.
Henrique Couto gave me a great compliment when he said the movie should be its own genre called "Hoosiersploitation," and I knew he saw it through my eyes; the wide-open spaces, the dried-up towns, where people need creative outlets to thrive on hard soil; but I have to keep it real, it's also about a guy in a burlap mask terrorizing poor Erin Ryan.
When we started on this project, Henrique told me he wanted to see "unfiltered John Oak Dalton," and that was incredibly flattering, because I have never been told to let my nerd flag fly like that by anyone. So there is talk of spaghetti westerns, and there are several scenes of role-playing gaming, and deep dives into other flotsam and jetsam of the world gone by, so much so that I realized on the set that some of the actors had no idea what I was talking about. But they were willing to go along, and that is a heady feeling. And hopefully there are a lot of people out there who are interested in that kind of stuff, too.
It is weird to be sitting at a little kneehole desk (where I am sitting now writing this), in the middle of several square miles of farm field, and in my mind write the main parts for b-movie actors Erin Ryan, John Hambrick, Joni Durian, and my old friend Tom Cherry who I always promised myself I would write a part for if I ever made a movie, and then several months later they just drive over and start acting it out.
So we are getting ready for the next weekend, and like all b-movie directors before me I got up and fed the chickens, cleaned the dog poop out of the yard, vacuumed the floors and got ready to go to WalMart and get some lunchmeat.
I joined the ranks of b-movie directors with my clothes on inside out, so if I get that right this weekend, I'm well on my way. Follow at johnoakdalton on Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook this weekend to see it unfold.