Thursday, July 16, 2009

Los Angeles


DISCLAIMER : This blog is a long one.  LOTS of stuff to talk about.

Kari Hollend here, just in time to chime in about traveling with two scruffy guys and staying in dilapidated motels in Los Angeles. Like the Highland Gardens. Our first trip to L.A was to interview the producers of Napoleon Dynamite, Jackie Burch (Hughes’ casting director) and teen “masterbatory” (a word Matt used, that Kelly called him out on…you’ll see) pin-up Kelly LeBrock (Lisa from Weird Science).

Michael (here in called Fach), was in charge of getting us to our interviews. He knew L.A a lot better than Matt or I (he lived there as an actor at one point) and drove our rented Sedan across the city.  We stayed in a two bedroom suite. The carpets smelled like 1970 and Fach I were sure somebody died in our shower (FYI, Janis Joplin famously overdosed at this motel). It’s not like we found the motel, randomly, it’s quite famous for housing Canadian talent as they try and make a go at it in L.A. And they have a nice pool.

Fach slept on a rusty cot and was prone to heavy snoring and screaming in his sleep.  This first trip presented how terribly disorganized we were and made it quite clear to me that I was with a bunch of monkeys.

To divide and conquer here were our responsibilities:

I was in charge of setting up the interviews, the money, and the scheduling ; making sure that everything was confirmed and ran smoothly. The point person.

Matt was in charge of the camera, the questions and carrying his gear. He also made a big effort to consistently wear red to all interviews

Fach was in charge of three things ; Making sure we had enough tapes. Making sure people were properly mic’ed (no pun intended), and making sure we knew where we were going.

Surprisingly enough. Our first interview went pretty well.

Day 1. Our interview with Chris Wyatt & Sean Covel, the producers of Napoleon Dynamite.  Our good friend , and associate producer Pam Silverstein, had a connection to them and raved about what great guys they were. We wanted an interview with them as they seemed to have their finger on the pulse of creating un”She’s All That” kind of teen films.  They were ah-maze-ing!  I think part of it was the fact that they were our first interview in Los Angeles, and frankly anything they said could have been exciting. Just the fact that people were willing to talk to us. All kidding aside, these were two of the most entertaining, intelligent and charismatic guys you could come across. They were not only extremely insightful and humble and supported our thesis, but they gave us one of your favourite sound bytes (which you’ll see in the film) and messages to deliver to John Hughes. They set the bar.

Day 2. Our interview with Jackie Burch. This is where the true colours of what was going to be our path revealed themselves.  We met Jackie at her home.  We had built up a nice rapport  with her through e-mails and phone conversations, and of course Fach decided to take the opportunity to court a casting director by sending her a copy of a feature film he appeared in…naked. After knocking on her door, one of the first things she said to us was “Hey, Michael – here’s your porno back” (imagine this with a Linda Richmond from SNL’s Coffee Time accent). Most people we found were extremely hospitable and what was supposed to be “just an intervew” turned into a half day affair of getting to know each other. We interviewed her in her backyard.  This was our first interview where the real magic and genius of Hughes came to the forefront. Jackie was the first person to tell us things that you would otherwise never know. She came alive when talking about him and was saddened when talking about the state of the teen film and how someone that she was so close with, could disappear like that. We left her house brimming with confidence…then we watched the tape back.. Her interview was perfect, if it wasn’t for the lavaliere mic scratching all over her dialogue.  Mike had had a few problems mic’ing her correctly, which is understandable cause it was his first time as a “sound guy”, but due to the fact that he didn’t bring headphones couldn’t monitor the sound level. Well, another lesson learned.  Her interview is still part of the film,  if you hear a hiss or bump, now you know why.

Day 3. The interview the guys had been salivating over, Kelly LeBrock.  We woke up in the morning and the guy were extremely excited for what’s to come. Kelly lives in a secluded beautiful ranch - three hours outside of Los Angeles.  We gassed up the car and were on our way, giving us more than enough time to get there. We were set!!! Fach had made a mix CD specific for our travels. He also found some great tracks that we had never heard of, and some oldies but goodies. We had the tunes blasting and were enjoying the scenery when Matt turned to Fach to ask where the tapes were so he could pre-label them. His response “I thought YOU had the tapes.” .  Our lovely car ride had now turned to a screaming match. We were too far to go back and in the middle of nowhere. We were now against the clock as Kelly was very specific about the time she had available. The only tape Matt had was the one with Jackie Burch’s  and the Napoleon Dynamite interview on it and we couldn’t tape over that. You could say were all stressed, to put it mildly.  We pulled over to  a older couple walking down the road. They didn’t really know what a “mini-dv tape was or where to get it” but they suggested we make a left down a dirt road to a little grocers market. They had fresh cut fries but no tapes.  Back on the road, we continued past the street we were supposed to turn down hoping we’d find civilization.  We stopped at a little strip mall. No tapes, but they pointed us in the direction of a CVS not too far away. Luckily for us, they had one package of three left. We grabbed it and broke speed limits tracing back to Kelly’s street. And wouldn’t you know it, out of the rear view mirror we saw the flashing lights of a squad car…Just joking, we pulled down an unmarked road and winded down it for what seemed like forever before we arrived. Kelly and her dogs (who she spoke to in German) warmly greeted us . Her interview  was great in that she had a lot to say about teenagers (being a mom), working with Hughes, and some ideas on why he’s disappeared. She also fulfilled Matt and Fach’s fantasy by asking them “What do you little maniacs want to do next?”

You can see the cutting room floor highlights here:


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