Diary of a Local Filmmaker – Part 2

Feb 12, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Christine Autrand Mitchell, Contributors, Helping Hands

by Christine Autrand Mitchell

Things really are meant to be… even rain during a two day outdoor film shoot! The Hopes and Dreams Project’s first film, How to Build a Better Fastball, was touted as a professional production by those involved and those observing, and we are very proud of this; the detailed planning allowed this to happen.

Peter McCandless, camera op, Laura Olson, sound

We filmed at Chukchansi Park. Saturday was incredibly foggy and bone-biting cold but Sunday brought rain and then sunshine – a true challenge for continuity because films aren’t shot from first to last scene, but by location and actors involved, jumping all over the script like a mad grasshopper.

Crew: Christine (prod/do-dir), Jenn Shafer (AD), Robin Bodey (Scripty), Joy Quigley (co-dir, DP), Peter McCandless (camera op)

Our crew didn’t complain nor did the actors – the first rule of film production. They were admirably cordial and cooperative. We were there to do a job and we did that. We even squeezed in a photo shoot on Day One with Paul Mullins for our poster.

Yes, not everything went smoothly, as it never does. We lost some footage which put us behind schedule, though we adapted by reshooting and omitting what was necessary to keep up with the schedule – and we succeeded there. Also, actors and crew had to take direction from two directors, from Joy Quigley and me, which was a tango mastered quickly. Matt Crum, our amazing editor, now gets to work his magic. After two sessions, the film is looking well and a rough cut is nearly complete. Once a final cut is done, sound and music will complete the project. The film will premiere in March and I’ll keep you updated as to dates and location.

Matt Otstot as "Jack Mason"

We mustn’t lose sight about what this film is really about: an outreach program for critically ill children, kids of military and first responder families, and homeless children. What was appreciated by these kids was that they got to experience the real thing: filmmaking as it normally is with its tight schedule, its flubbed lines and technical difficulties, its hurry up and wait. The only thing we altered was the amount of rehearsals – we added a few for those inexperienced to get a crash course in acting. It was enriching for our adult actors, and crew, to work on this project and be able to give back to their community in some way. I’ve learned that touching one heart at a time is a good way to give of oneself because there are a limitless number awaiting.

There were several sobering moments like seeing extras and actors who are professionals in their field, with national spots and television shows, participating because it was a good cause. Also, seeing the press descend on Chukchansi Park to cover this amazing program. But the most amazing moment for me came at the end after we called “film is a wrap” and everyone cheered and hugged, when I had the chance to speak with Tiffany Hall and Jody Liu, two mothers of outreach children in the film.

some extras

They were grateful because their children were able to participate in a unique experience that not many people have the chance to and, more importantly, it took their kids away from reminders about their ill health, their pain, their regular trips to hospitals. Audrey, one of the kids, didn’t have to take her pain medication because she was so excited and so distracted about our adventure. Tiffany and Jody also forged a new friendship, virtually inseparable, carpooling and sharing their life stories. They are also doing much to help the foundation.

I’d been wearing my Producer/Director hat so diligently, making sure the production goes smoothly and the kids have a good experience, that the emotional rewards had been temporarily forgotten – until then. It was so very worth the effort and I can’t wait to do it again.

Jim Inch

Some great moments include the actors who played the Grizzlies baseball team, in the official uniforms, posing for their own pictures on the field and getting to play “pro ball” in a 13,000 seat stadium. Even when it was raining, they remained on the field playing ball; seeing friendships flourish among kids who wouldn’t have met otherwise; watching proud parents observe their children in challenging situations and overcoming their fears; giving film students the opportunity to work alongside professionals to further their craft; and being around the amazing people who volunteered their time, their expertise, equipment and food.

The second production is already in the works. This non-profit program is open to children who qualify. The web site has a page to for sign ups. Fundraising is needed so that the Hopes and Dreams Project can continue its work with children in crisis. Please visit the beta site to sign up a child wanting to participate or to donate funds, time or services.

If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me at Christine@EntandemProd.com.

Check out part one of this story in KRL.

Christine Autrand Mitchell is an ongoing contributor to our Area Arts & Entertainment section, offering both literary and film-making insight, & is part of KRL’s editing team. She is the owner of Entandem Productions, specializing in casting and production services.


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