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Friday, January 12, 2007


I thought I'd put it here as well while I am waiting for Biker Chef Episode 10 to upload.

I call it...


It's important to see your work through, no matter the obstacles. I remember spending three grand on a small automated shark for the opening delivery scene in Palmer's Pick-up. I was excited about this shark. The Art Director assured me he could make one and I would be thrilled with would be a mini Jaws with all the bells and whistles. My producing partner was skeptical, but I wanted to go for it. I liked this guy's enthusiam. Besides getting a real shark could be problematic and would cost more with the shark wrangler. And what if the shark died? Then The Humane Society would be after me. So, we spent the 3000 dollars which was a lot of money considering our micro budget. The shark was a metaphor and I just had to have it. (and, this was going to be a tough film and it would be cool to have a mini-automated Spielberg shark when it was all over).

I wanted to be surprised so I never asked to see the shark during our very brief pre-production period (never a good thing). This film was another experiment for me-- I wanted our adventure to dictate the product. I wanted everything to be spontaneous and organic. Let's make it happen right at the moment, not over think and pre plan. This was my experimental concept. I didn't know how I was going to shoot a scene until I got to the location, looked around and my brain starting clicking. This is a very dangerous way to make a movie, but this was my concept. I wanted to do something completely different than what I did storyboarding, no shot lists, no rehearsals,no rewrites. I also wanted to throw the script out the window for this one. I wanted us to have to think on our toes. Anyhow, this was the environment I created.

Shark Shoot day came. I was bragging about how I had a mini Jaws made for this ultra low budget film that would blow away Spielberg's shark. When I work on a film, I don't sleep at all...a little mania starts to kick in. I was all excited. The crew seemed very worried and quiet. I asked what was the matter. They asked me if I had seen the shark. Obviously, some of them had. I wasn't happy about that. The Art Director walked over to me meekly, mumbling something. I asked him to repeat that. He said there wasn't enough time and it really wasn't possible. Where's my shark? He nodded to the prop guy who carried a card box over to me. I looked inside and saw one of those extra large creepy crawler sharks you can buy for $9.98 with a slit open belly and what looked like the innards of a radio controlled car inside. It was a pathetic and clearly not worth 3 grand mini Spielberg shark, besides it didn't even work. I started to fume.

My producing partner and my AD ran over to me to remind me a big storm was due to hit us that evening and reiterated how important it was for me to get this scene in the can so we can hit the road, stay head of the storm and stay on schedule. I blurted, "Don't you think I know that!!!" My co-writer walked over to me and said he thought the shark was a complete joke and didn't think the scene would work. I ordered the cast and crew to prepare for the first shot. I took the shark out of the box, ripped it's radio controlled guts out and put it in the half filled 50 gallon fish tank. It looked absolutely ridiculous, but kinda funny. It needed more girth. I asked the costumer to get me some socks. I started stuffing socks in the shark belly, then dropped it back in the water. One of the socks started to come out of it's mouth. I told the crew not to tell the actors. Let's just shoot it this way and see how it works out. I thought it was hilarious. In the end, a rubber shark with a sock in its mouth was more appropriate for this movie than a mini Spielberg shark anyway. Things sometimes happen for a reason.

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