Archive for the ‘Da Crew’ Category

They never televise the Academy Awards for best makeup or best sound design. But these invisible people are essential to the making of a good movie.

Jill, Make Up Super Hero

The makeup artist on set has several important functions. They make people look pretty. This is important not only because actors are vain, but also because we have this ridiculous thing we do in film called an extreme close up, which is the equivalent of standing three inches away from someone with a magnifying glass. People were never meant to be seen in such a way, and no one looks good that way. The Makeup Artist’s magic hides all the uneven skin monsters so close ups don’t burn our eyes with their horror.

Makeup artists do continuity. When we shoot one scene over three days, the makeup artists is part of the team that makes it look like one day. When an actor is supposed to become gradually more tired over the course of a movie, and we don’t shoot anything in order, the makeup artists tracks it and makes it happen. When Rocky Balboa gets his face beaten to a pulp in the first Rocky, that was all the work of some really awesome makeup artists.

They do special effects. Like faces beaten to a pulp. Burns. Bruises. Zombies. Prosthetics. It is a wide variety of difficult tasks, and they deserve to get their awards in prime time.

Jill Ekkawi did the make up for us The Making of Iridium Consequence. We only got to use her a few days, so we packed some essential scenes into the time she was available. Specifically, we had an alien army that had to be made up. Jill came up with the designs and then implemented them identically several times, weeks apart. And because our aliens were all nine and ten years old, she also repaired smudges and marks that come from little girls accidentally rubbing their made up faces.

Jill is an incredibly creative make up professional. She’s worked on other films, and she’s done wedding make up, which requires a huge amount of courage.

Evil alien. Scary!

Lately, she’s done a number of photo shoots, and everything she does is terrific.

What impresses me the most about Jill is how make up is something she genuinely loves to do.  She loves to buy make up, she loves to talk about make up, and she loves to do make up. But what she really loves to do is special effects make up, which is a specialized  discipline that not every make up artist is proficient in. She loves to create realistic wounds and boils and other gross things. And she is very, very good at it.

Jill did this.

Halloween is coming up, which is like Christmas for Jill. She spends hours on her horrific creations, and I promise you, what she does to people takes Halloween to an all new level. When her kids come to your door, you don’t say, “How cute!” You say, “Oh, sweet lord, what happened to you?”

I am fortunate to have worked with Jill, and more fortunate to have her for a friend. Demand for her talents is growing all over Florida, but she likes to stay close to home and her kids. I will be able to get her for my next project. Probably. Did I mention we are friends? Outlaws love to be friends with super talented people.

Film is collaborative art form. That is fancy speak for any random jackhole can derail you and ruin your project. It is super important to put together a great crew and to line up awesome actors, because everyone makes a difference. But this post is about the worst kind of difference, the ruining kind. So when you are getting together a film crew, these are the people to keep out.

The three filmmakers you want to avoid:

The “Producer”

This is a guy with no discernable abilities beyond acting like a big shot. But he is so good at acting like a big shot, he fools a lot of people into believing that he has some actual clout. If you get involved with this guy, you will spend years being nice to him, long after you are sick of him, because he will always be on the verge of a big breakthrough, a million dollar budget, a meeting with Universal, that he will include you in, but I promise, it will NEVER HAPPEN.

Because as irritating as he is to you, and he is super irritating, he’s a thousand times more repulsive to actual movers and shakers.

The “Artist”

An unbending vision might be great if you have millions of dollars to bring it to fruition, but if you don’t, that vision can crash the whole project. The Artist can’t handle that, because the Artist thinks the thing in her head is so precious, so perfect, that the slightest alteration is like a clown nose on the Mona Lisa.

The Artist will cry and pout and take her toys home. The worst position in a film crew to have an Artist is at the helm. Some of them end up as actors, and there, they can do a lot of damage, but if your director is an Artist, I can already tell you what will happen to that film.

It will never get done.

Another big problem with an Artist is that they spend money like water. So if you do scrape up some investment money, the Artist will be sure to burn through your budget before shooting even begins.

The Flake

Lord protect us from this one. The worst part about the Flake is that, if you aren’t paying him, you have no recourse against him. The Flake figures that a film with a small budget is more of a hobby than a real job.

It sucks having a Flake in your crew, especially in key positions. Director of Photography for example. You go to the trouble of scheduling everyone for a certain time, and then you all get to wait until the flake shows up, or one of the three people trying to call him figures out he went to the RenFair. But the worst, the absolute worst, is a Flake actor. When an actor doesn’t show up, that ruins the day’s scheduled shooting, but if they never come back again, they ruin all of the shooting that came before.

Flake actors are the reason auditions scare me. I don’t know those people. There is no outward sign of flakiness to tip you off. The Flake is perfectly nice until his flakiness torpedoes you.

There you have it. Three types to avoid. But if you find someone great, keep them forever and work with them over and over again. Love them and cherish them and take care of them, forever and ever.

Amen.