Just A Second

Our rough cut is now a smoother rough cut but it’s still about 2 hours long so we’re trying to figure out how to shave off 20 or 30 minutes which is not a lot if you are talking about driving from NY to LA but is a lot if you’re talking about a film.  Shaving off a few frames here and a few seconds there helps but at 24 frames/second, that’s around 28,000 frames so we have to start thinking about getting rid of whole scenes (as if we haven’t been thinking about that the whole time!).   With over a hundred thirty scenes you wouldn’t think that getting rid of a couple of them would be a big deal but every scene was so painstakingly produced with writing, locations, actors, community and family support, lighting, shooting, eating, memories, money etc., that it is a big deal.

So, what do you do?

You sit down in front of your film with someone that doesn’t have all of those personal associations and more experience than we’ll ever have.  In our case that person is Harry Keramidas (editor ‘Back To The Future’…yes, I know I’ve told you that before).

Harry dissects our cut in his editing suite.

Last week we sent Harry a dvd.  He loaded it into Final Cut Pro and cut it apart.  Then yesterday we drove to his home Western Mass and sat with him for 8 hours discussing which of the 28,000 frames we didn’t need.  We all decided on at least one scene we could save for the dvd bonus features (ie. cutting room floor) but I won’t say which one. 


‘Hap and Ashley’ is still our title for now.  We’re not sure when updating a working-title becomes an emergency so we’re continuing to add and subtract from our potential film name list…a list that we’ve managed to bring down below 200 possibilities.


Break-time at Yellowhouse World Headquarters…

…we edit a lot but not all the time!  

 See you in April!

March 30th, 2017|

Breaking the Bank

Ines Peter as Iney, the bank teller, makes change for Hap while Brent Teclaw furiously adds numbers…with a pen!

Let’s say you’re shooting a film and one of the scenes takes place in a bank. You’re a stranger in town and trying to convince the banker it would be a good idea for him to let you use his bank as a location. You tell him your crew of 25 plus actors and extras needs to eat 2 meals while they’re there and you’ll be shooting until 11 pm. Plus that 20 foot Penske truck he’s seen driving around? It’s full of equipment and it all has to come in. What do you do?

  1. You tell him you’d need to get into the vault then tell him you’re kidding so your other requests seem less overwhelming.
  2. You wait until the cleaning crew shows up then tell them the banker said it was fine for them to let you in.
  3. You re-write the scene to take place in a laundromat.

While all three are good options, an even better one is when Greg, the banker, was one of your 52 high school classmates. Greg Peter sat right in front of me (Kathy) in most of my classes (he was a ‘P’ and I was an ‘S’ (there were no ‘Q’s and only one ‘R’) so we were always close. When I asked Greg if we could shoot in his bank he said ‘yes’ before I even finished asking. Then, when the bank teller we’d cast a month earlier, while we were all playing BINGO at the nursing home, had to drop out (the morning of) because of her daughter’s (also a classmate of Kathy’s) surprise visit from Iowa, I read my wish list of bank tellers to Greg. Five minutes later I got a text. ‘Mom will do it.’

Iney (Greg’s mom-rhymes with ‘tiny’), had been my dream teller from the start. In fact, when I was writing the screenplay, I used the name ‘Iney’ as a placeholder for the teller and it ended up sticking. Iney is young and she isn’t…she’ll never see 90 again but she can dance and take direction with the best of them. As she and her husband had owned the bank before Greg, it was a space in which she was totally comfortable and familiar. It’s such a thrill to see an actor make what some would consider a small role into something huge…which is what Iney did.

That kind of access and support was so important and appreciated throughout our shoot. Thank you Greg! You were a huge huge help. Everyone should shoot a film in their hometown.

February 28th, 2017|

Emergency Stunt Double

We were using the frankentrike Kathy’s 84 year old dad Howard had built a few years ago from a 1976 Yamaha 500 and a Chevy rear end as a key prop for the scene. It was one mean machine.  We’d used it in a couple other scenes (where it didn’t have to be driven come to think of it) and really didn’t think twice about using it again for this scene.  In setting up the shot we asked second team* to drive down the road, turn around and drive toward us.  Easy enough, right?  Nope.  No one could drive it.  Everyone tried but no one could master the subtle coordination of clutch and forty year old sticky transmission.  We couldn’t drive it a foot and no amount of movie magic was going to work.

Barry Corbin as Hap Anderson

Barry’s stunt double, Howard Swanson


Ring Ring. 

Kathy: “Hi Dad, what are you doing?”

Kathy’s dad Howard: “Oh, watching 60 Minutes”

(Crap.  I figured he’d be watching 60 Minutes since I know he arranges his week around it.  I hated to ask-but I had to.)

Kathy: “Can you come out to the farm and ride your trike for us?”

(I held my breath for the short pause that seemed like a long pause.) 

Kathy’s dad Howard: “OK but it will be a little while.”

Kathy: “How long?” (as I watched the sun moving toward the horizon)

Kathy’s dad Howard: “Oh, about 5 minutes.”

All hands were on deck as Howard pulled into the driveway.  We whisked him off to the hair and makeup trailer where Kate, our wardrobe coordinator, was waiting for him with the wardrobe Barry had been wearing. Kaci, our key makeup artist, brushed a little color onto his cheeks and two minutes later he emerged as Hap Anderson’s stunt double.  We directed him to hop on his mean machine and drive toward us down the gravel road, turn into the driveway and park under the maple tree.  Action.  Here he comes.  Getting closer.  Closer.  Into the driveway.  Under the tree.  PERFECT.  One take.**

Unphased, Dad (Howard) got in his car, drove away and was back home in time to watch the end of 60 Minutes.

*Second team ( stand-ins) allow the director of photography to light the set and the camera department to light and focus scenes while the actors are absent. The director will often ask stand-ins to deliver the scene dialogue (“lines”) and walk through (“blocking”) the scenes to be filmed.

**Rob’s ( our director of photography) camera work was perfect too!

January 18th, 2017|

BIG NEWS and ‘WHAT?, no popcorn?!’

We wanted to show you the Yellowhouse headquarters in the winter and sneak in another blog post while it was still 2016.

Now.  Are you ready for our big news?  It snowed today and….we have a rough cut*! (by the end of the year just like we promised ourselves).

So with the snow, Vince having fixed the fireplace and our paperwhites blooming…we’re all set for our next phase.

*Wikipedia says a ‘rough cut is the first stage in which the film begins to resemble its final product. Rough cuts…still undergo many changes before the release of the film’.

YellowHouseOur cozy editing nerve center.


December 31st, 2016|

Freeze Frame On Friday

We thought it would be fun to reward our loyal followers with a freeze frame* once a week. We’re going to call it ‘Freeze Frame On Friday’ and it will be a still image from our actual footage.  The images will be in no particular order, have a caption (or not) and be posted on our Facebook page.  

Freeze Frame on Friday - Week 1 - Hap reading '1000 Places'...

*Collins Dictionary defines ‘freeze frame’ as:  A freeze-frame from a film is an individual picture from it, produced by stopping the film or video tape at that point.

November 4th, 2016|


Kathy here.

Every once in a while I’ll come across a film festival that feels like a good fit and I’ll submit one of my short films.  Now and then one will be selected and I’m always surprised!

This spring I came across a festival soliciting funny films made by women.  I mentally scrolled through my list of shorts.  Hmmm, Reservation For Hinkle.  After all, I laugh every time I watch it.  Feeling lucky, I decided it was worth the $35 gamble, sent if off and forgot about it.

Then, one 90 degree day during our feature shoot, I got a surprise congratulatory email.  Reservation For Hinkle was an official selection for the ‘The Broad Humor Festival’ in Los Angeles.  I was really excited (and really surprised).  Every day of our feature shoot had been really hard and not that much fun so it was good to be reminded that making a film can have some upsides.

2016_10_31-1-reservation-cast-and-crewThe entire cast and crew.

Anyway, September 1-4 (the festival dates) came and went. I’d long forgotten about ‘Broad Humor’ (love that name!) until the other day when, just for fun, I went to their website and there it was Reservation For Hinkle, WINNER-BEST STUDENT FILM. I was excited and surprised all over again.


A few days later, I got an etched star plexiglass trophy and tube of lipstick. 

I have no idea how many student shorts they received or if my award was a mistake but I don’t care.  It’s still fun for someone other than Vince to think something I did was the best.

There is a thumbnail of Reservation For Hinkle on our website. 

There is a thumbnail of Reservation For Hinkle on our website. It’s on Vimeo, password protected, and everyone that signs up for our email list gets the password. 😉

2016_10_31-2-reservation-crewThe crew.

Writing this triggered a few memories of the 2 night shoot.  The morning of the shoot we had no crew.  That afternoon, we met three smart, curious, popular, enlightened local high school kids with really steep learning curves. They had no experience in filmmaking but after a 5 minute tutorial (i.e. ‘this is a boom’) they agreed to sacrifice two of their summer Friday and Saturday nights (until 4 AM) to experience guerrilla filmmaking at the Cutter Theatre in Metaline Falls, Washington (pop. ~200).

October 31st, 2016|