Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

The Making of Gypsy Woman!

Posted by evankessler on April 9, 2007

A short work of cinematic art was made this Saturday by a determined team as Geniot Productions raced against time in Filmracing.com’s 12 hour film contest. However, before we get to that point in the chapter that is this weekend, there are other moments frozen in time from the previous day that must be thawed out so that we may tackle the tale in a chronological manner.

When I last left you on Thursday Evening I was preparing for a job interview that was to take place Friday Morning. Several days earlier I had applied for a position as a producer/writer at a startup Comedy Video website, so I had to engage in a solo brainstorming session with ideas for their existing shows as well as new potential projects. While my mind wandered to strange places part of my brain was focused on the activity of my Fantasy Baseball teams in their first week of play. Most of the ideas I came up with popped in my head as I waited to fall into slumber that evening as I was certainly a tad bit more relaxed laying in bed than I was trying to intently conjure up creativity by staring at baseball box scores.

I woke up relatively early on Friday morning in the hopes of getting some caffeine in me in the form of green tea after I showered but before running off to Myrtle Avenue in a distant section of Brooklyn for my 11:30am meeting. I left my apartment around 10:10am and went directly to the Atlantic-Pacific Station with my iPod in hand. The Friday iPodyssey began with Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly”. It took a couple of songs before I made it to the subway station and even 3 or 4 more before I realized the train I was waiting for, the mysterious M train wasn’t running at my stop and would not be until the afternoon. I had to improvise so I hopped the N to Canal and switched to the M there. After all was said and done it had taken me about an hour and an inordinate number of Elvis Costello “T” songs to make it to my destination with 10 minutes to spare.

When I got off the train I felt as though I was on a set for the movie Beat Street. The neighborhood was quite strange and as I walked under the train tracks I noticed that a large amount of the buildings were lined with graffiti. This was certainly not a familiar neighborhood. However, I was only about two blocks from the building where my interview was. I found it rather easily and had no questionable encounters along the way, so I suppose the neighborhood wasn’t all that bad. My first impression was worse than the actual reality of the situation.

Upon being welcomed into the office I was seated on a broken couch and continued to read my book while he who would be in charge of the interrogation finished up with the previous victim in another room. I had to wait a little bit but it was no bother since I was quite engrossed in my book. Several minutes later I was met by one of the company heads and taken to a studio where I was blindfolded and beaten mercilessly and by blindfolded and beaten mercilessly I really mean interviewed for the job. It was a pleasant enough atmosphere and a pretty easy going interview. I didn’t quite get a read on my chances but that’s okay. I shared some of my experiences and ideas with my fellow Newhouse grad for several minutes. I was told it would be several weeks before a decision was made and then pretty much went on my way.

On my way home I ran through several more Elvis Costello songs amongst the rest of my iPod mix. The trip home was much easier as I certainly was aware of the route I had to take in order to get back to my end of Brooklyn. However, I was seated across from several adolescents who were annoying the crap out of me as they flailed violently all over my car in jest with each other, completely ignoring anyone whose personal space they might invade. Luckily I was rid of them by the time I transferred at Canal St. I arrived home to the tune of Elvis Costello’s “Town Cryer” and removed my interview garb for more casual attire.

At around 5pm I headed into Manhattan for a happy hour meeting with friends at the Black Duck on 28th St and of course I took my iPod with me. I made it from “Town Cryer” to Death Cab’s “Transatlanticism”, but while I rode the train in I sat through four songs with “Train” in the titled including The Clash “Train In Vain” and Silver Jews “Trains Across The Sea”. The train section was followed by another Elvis Costello “T” song (“Tramp The Dirt Down”). When I arrived I saw Rich M, Lauren, Morwin, Dmitry and Nina. I think Pat S may have been there to. It had been a while since we hit up a happy hour, especially in this particular neighborhood where Ahmad, Rich, and Chirag used to live. We were soon joined by a bigger crew of people including Ahmad, Andy, Lina, Maya, Rob, Kishore, and not last or least proud parents John and Zerna K with their 5 month old Lea. This was the first time I had seen Lea since I’m a total bastard who has not made the effort to see them in Brooklyn. However, part of that equation is that I’m sort of petrified of other people’s children. I’m afraid I’m going to accidentally hurt them or even worse have to make cute sounds so they’ll smile. Lauren and Rich held the baby quite a bit and I did not volunteer my cradling services. I was quite taken with little Lea though I probably did not show it. I snapped a few good photos though.

Hot Potato with Baby Lea

Setting A Dangerous Precedent

While at Black Duck, Andy and I spoke briefly about the film race we’d be competing in the next day. It was mostly an equipment conversation. I don’t think we really wanted to think about it until we had to. After our happy hour outing, the majority of us went over to Chinese Mirch across the street for some dinner. I ordered some Hot Garlic Curry Chicken that wasn’t as hot as I had hoped. In any case, it was a nice all around evening with the happy hour -dinner combo. While I was at dinner I got a text message from Starling who was at Crocodile Lounge with Jess S, Deb M, and Kim R (visiting from LA). After dinner, I split from the group and hopped in a cab to meet them. I only stayed at Crocodile for 2 drinks or so but it was enough time to get some valuable catching up done. However, I knew I couldn’t get drunk because I didn’t want to be hungover for the film shoot the next day. I left the bar sometime around midnight and made it home in time to get plenty of sleep.

Myself and Jess S Catching Up At The Crocodile

I woke up 9:45am on Saturday morning ready to make a movie. Actually, I wasn’t ready right off the bat. I had to take a shower and get the crusties out of my eyes. I’m not exactly a morning person. It took me a while to gather of my electronic devices and prospective props and head on over to Andy’s house where I arrived at 10:45am with my iPod in hand. I had made it from Death Cab’s “Transatlanticism” to Nada Surf’s “Treehouse” before my battery ran out just before reaching Andy’s place.

Andy and I had an hour and fifteen minutes until we would receive an email from the folks at Filmracing.com alerting us to the topic of this year’s 12 hour film race. Once we got the topic we had to write, direct, edit, score and turn the film in by midnight. We already had a loose idea of what we wanted to do. All we had to do was wait to figure out how we would fit the topic into our preconceived idea.

When noon struck Andy got the email that alerted us that the theme was “A Fortune”. The email also told as that we’d need to incorporate an egg into our film as a prop. The first thought Andy and I seemed to have was “SHIT” how are we going to get this theme into our preconceived idea which hinged on the idea that the story would center around 2 roommates and at some point one roommate would send the other a youtube video for some reason. We had previously made a schedule of how long we wanted certain parts of the production to take and we had from Noon until 1:30 to write. There was a slight panic. We were afraid that we were forcing the Youtube part into the story and almost removed it altogether.

Several minutes after all but ruling it out, it was back in and we had managed to come up with a story. It involved a psychic roommate and tragic prediction and coffee. Our friends Morwin and Nina were our principle actors and performed beautifully. I also have to give it up to Andy for just being generally awesome with the camera, the editing, and just being really focused. I can’t forget Kayvalyn’s contribution either as she certainly had some excellent ideas and drew some excellent lipstick mirror art. At one point we asked to draw some weird cave drawing on the bathroom mirror and she got really into it and put lipstick in tribal design on her face. Good times. She was getting into a character she wasn’t even playing.

Everyone who worked on the film wasn’t on site. We had Ken S working on graphics and Ahmad, Ajay, and Rich M on music detail. Kayvalyn and I started making up a song about a gypsy woman and called Ahmad and Ajay and told them to make a 70’s rock version of the song we had made up and were screaming over the phone. They couldn’t really hear us but they made something remarkable, which happened to be exactly what we wanted. Everyone’s contribution couldn’t have been more perfect.

Andy finished editing the movie at about 11:15pm and we layed off onto miniDV. We were ready to rush the tape into the city where it had to be delivered before Midnight. Rich was there to drive us but he couldn’t remember where he had parked. After going up and down Sterling Place twice, Rich remembered he had parked on Underhill. Thankfully there was still plenty of time to spare. We made it to the dropoff point on 19th and 1st in Manhattan at 11:53pm, seven minutes before it was due. After that we went back to Brooklyn where Andy, Rich, and I had a drink at Bar Sepia and went our separate ways. Upon going home I sat and watched TV with Marty for a little and called it a night around 2:30am.

I woke up this morning at around 10:45am to meet Kate W, who was in from LA for Easter, for 12:30 Brunch at the Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village. Once again, I wiped out the crust from my eyes, jumped in the shower, brushed my teeth, and took my iPod in to Manhattantown starting where I had left off with Nada Surf’s “Treehouse”. I arrived at the Restaurant at about 12:30 as the Mekons “Trouble Down South” was reaching it’s end. I shut off my iPod and waited a couple more minutes before Kate showed up. We got a seat rather easily since I suppose Easter sunday isn’t the most crowded city day. Most people were probably readying for their bigger family meal. It was an enjoyable brunch, we caught up on her life in LA and my previous day of filmmaking. We also told stories about the nurturing environment that was Lime Kiln Elementary. We talked long after the bill was paid. I think the waitresses wanted us to leave but we kept on. Eventually we left the Cafe and Kate and I said an abrupt goodbye as she caught a cab to where she parked, since she had to drive back to her Mother’s for Easter Dinner.

I high tailed it back to Brooklyn for some relaxation. I walked in the door to the very beginning of the White Stripes “Truth Doesn’t Make A Noise” before settling in on the couch to watch the end of the Met game as Marty set up for his Easter dinner in the same room. I was originally suppose to go to Lauren H’s for Easter dinner but I just couldn’t muster up enough energy to go to Williamsburg. Instead, I watched the Mets blow and 8th inning lead to the Braves as well as some show rationalizing how the the great flood could have actually occurred in the Noah’s Ark story. I thought the whole point of the bible is that it doesn’t need to be scientifically explained because science and god can’t coexist since “God makes no mistakes”.

Anyway, Noah’s ark aside, today was Easter. Easter is about Jesus and though we didn’t have anyone named Jesus come over our apartment we did have Jason, Deirdre, Del, Mackenzie, Myself, and Marty eating dinner and drinking wine in celebration of his resurrection or something like that. Maybe I was celebrating his non-resurrection. Whatever the case may be we had a nice dinner though the several of us seemed to be obsessed with dipping our fingers in the wax of burning candles (myself included). Everyone was in a jovial mood and there was much laughter as Christ would’ve wanted it. Christ would’ve also probably wanted me to get a job this week. Hopefully, I can make Christ proud. I’ve gotta sleep first though because Jesus Christ, it’s been a long weekend.

Oh, and before I forget…Film Screening this Thursday April 12 at the Anthology Film Archives from 9-11. Our film, Gypsy Woman! is going to be screened. Be there or you’re a total douche.


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