Roll Cameras!

By the time you read this, we will either be on our last day of shooting, or completely wrapped. The sequel to Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades will be in the can. Soon, the wizards at PRC will begin editing and adding the effects necessary to make it pop and sizzle. With luck, we’ll have a finished product by the end of the year. That really all depends on the post-production schedule of the feature just completed a couple weeks ago by my partners. As you’re reading this, I am hopeful.

Right now, however, two days out from the shoot, I am well and truly exhausted. Mind, body and soul, I feel the weight of too many decisions, too many hours focusing on minutia, too many days stressing over logistics, too many weeks juggling people and paperwork and preparations. All the things necessary to produce and direct a film. It isn’t my first rodeo, but it will be the most taxing. Which makes me wonder if maybe it won’t be my last.

One of the joys of independent film: creating the sets and props for the production.

I’m not making any decisions, right now. Just going with the flow of things and hoping for the best. Knowing what’s ahead and having faith in my cast and crew helps immensely. A nap would probably help, but there are still things to do. In fact, I’m writing this now because there will be no time to do so after today. There are make-up and costume tests to do, photo shoots to conduct, run thrus and the shoot itself between now and Tuesday, when this post goes up. One of those weird time slips that only occur when one is writing.

So, what have I learned in the process of creating and bringing this next installment in the Lady Belladonna “series” to life? That it doesn’t get any easier? I don’t know that I’ve ever considered myself immortal, but I have certainly never felt my mortality more than I do right now. I’m more tired than I think I have ever been in my life. Which is saying something considering the pace I’ve kept in years past. My dark passenger is an unforgiving parasite.

Still, it has been a very positive experience overall and I am a very happy impresario. My actors are throwing themselves into the project with a passion on par with my own. My crew is working hard to make sure every technical aspect is in readiness, so there will be no hiccups. The set looks incredible, the costumes are distinctive and the backgrounds I’ve been shown by my VFX mage are spectacular.

Set construction by my talented crew members.

Much of the cost is coming out of my own pocket, this time around, because I didn’t want to skimp. It’s much easier for me to make those kinds of decisions if I’m not using somebody else’s money to do so. And I’m a control freak, so overseeing every aspect of the shoot, though exhausting, is also very exhilarating. This is how Andy Warhol must have felt when he was able to put so many people in motion, each doing his or her distinctive part to infuse the whole with a quirkiness that is both brave and inspiring. Without them, we are nothing. Together, there is only magic!

Without a doubt, I can honestly say, this installment of the franchise will be very different from the first. Same characters, same premise, but we’ve ratcheted up the visuals to a degree that I’m sure will fully outshine the last. Upping the game is always a goal and here I believe we will wholly succeed. I also really like the short films we’ve chosen this time around – very diverse and unsettling on many different levels. I truly have high hopes that this will be the one to open doors. All appendages crossed and knotted.

Only time, and the fickle tastes of the movie-watching public, will tell…

Rehearsing in the final days before the shoot.


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