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psyched Out

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How did the film shoot go?

Scott V: 1/11/04: Well, my car had to die on the way to the shoot, but it was all uphill from there. We got Patrick and Jeff at the last minute, which was a big score, since we've all worked together before - and I could just trust that they know what to do. Without them, I would have been all thumbs, and it probably would have looked like it was filmed in a cave or something.
We got to our outdoor location by 9, and wouldn't you know it, the security guard didn't speak much english. So while I tried explaining that we wanted to shoot a film in the courtyard, I could see his mind thinking, "Some long haired people really want something." He called his boss, same communication issue. But they were nice and decided we were no problem. Thanks.
The courtyard shoot was quick, but the constant background music means the dialog will probably have to be redone in a studio. After a few takes, Debbie got into the spirit of the film, which is to abuse Scotty as much as possible. ;-) The mike went in & out, then decided to behave for the rest of the day.
We got back to Dr. Rob's by 11am, with 5 minutes to spare before the 11:00 wave of characters got there. For a while we had characters rehearsing in every room in the place - it sounded like a madhouse. Then we sent Anatole and crew into the closet for what turned out to be an annoying little shot. But Jeff made a really neat composition out of it. From there we did every shot in the waiting room. Some funny moments we couldn't believe really happened. Instead of slapping herself we felt Geri should spastically fling her cigarettes all over the room, and it was a real crack up. Then Scotty got frantic. Tara and Deb made the candy dish thing really cute and funny. Then we made Scott & Debbie run around the block a few times.
We finally tackled Dr. Nublado and the big mean Dr. Vierling. Jim was over the top (as requested), and surprisingly, the more we toned him down and turned his volume into facial tension, the more menacing he got. Yes, it was nighttime by the time we got to Jim's office, but heck, it just adds to the darkness of his character. For that final shadow of Dr. V on the wall, we tried blasting headlights from outside, but um (duh) that just made double shadows, knee high. I finally ended up holding up the little lamp from Dr. N's office and like magic, Jim's shadow turned into Hitchcock on demand. Cool. Actually the shadow shot was accidental; one day during practice, Jim stood in the doorway and fixed his tie, and I spotted that shadow on the wall; 10 minutes later the sun had moved and that shadow was gone. But we captured it the hard way.

SCOTT L: This film was really cool for me, because I was playing my first full fledged lead in a film. I feel like I did a good job and I was very pleased with everybody elses performances. Thanks to Dr Rob Buechel we had a nice location to shoot in. This is really funny and was a hoot to shoot, aside from the fact that I get the crap beat out of me. But you have to take your lumps sometime, right. I am proud of us as a group, we nailed our scenes and learned from our first films' mistakes and miss takes, hee hee. Anyway we were fortunate to team up with Jeff and Patrick, they did a great job. I am excited for our audiences to see this one, it's a really good one. Just think... what is cool, is that we only get better as we go, woo hoo!
I really enjoyed being on this set, it was a bit of a mini reunion for me, because Scott V., Patrick W., and Greg B. all worked on the Master and Commander film together. We had a ton of fun on the M&C set and working with them on this set proved to be just as fun and maybe more rewarding, I really like these guys and hope to work with them on more projects, soon. I learned that to further my acting skills that once one has the basic skills and techniques learned that, once the camera starts to roll, it is best to forget that stuff consciously and just be in the moment and react to the situation and other characters. If you do a good job of building the character and his background then the reactions will be natural, this character was easier for me in this since because the character and I are very similar people ( aside from being easily startled ). Also I learned that the more you dive in and commit to the part the better it comes across on screen. I feel that I did a good job but that I can improve on what I did and maybe be more in the moment on every scene, its a process. My favorite scene was probably the one with Jims character harrassing the hell out of mine. That was a lot of fun. We had some fun miscues and out takes, like when Jims "German" character was interogating me, he accidentally says "squirrlies!", instead of "swirlies", we all had a good laugh on that one. I also liked the candy scene with Debbie and Tara, the expressions and interaction between them came out awesome. There were other funny bits to look for, like Anatoles wiggly guy and Geris' smoker, Andrews' dead pan hypnotist and more, fun stuff. I am excited to work on the next "Big Shew".

DEBBIE L: I was much happier with my performance in this one (compared to "Mr. Graves"), I was naturally more relaxed and comfortable on the set this time. Doing the scenes with my husband, Scott, made it more natural and easier to react and not just fake it. I am a little bummed that a scene with Tara where I take some candy from the counter didn't make the final cut. I understand but that was a lot of fun to do, keep an eye out for that scene in the outtakes. I LOVED having Scott Virtes as the director, it was so much fun and he has put a bunch of time and effort into this project, I hope he knows how much we appreciate having him in our company. I am really looking forward to the next comedy film that we are working on!

JAMES U: I am glad to have inspired Mr. Virtes in writing Psyched Out. Overall, the film shoot went well. I was fortunate to work with such a great group of people. Special thanks to Greg for the help with the lines, Cellestine for hair assistance, Dr. Rob for the use of his office and Scott Langston for allowing me to abuse him. The hardest part of it was waiting to be filmed last. Congradulations Mr. Virtes on your film crew selection and such an entertaining script.

So how did it come out?

Scott V: 1/12/04: I just finished cataloguing the footage and it looks great. Very clean, always in focus, good sound, good color and light. Hats off, gang!


SV: 2/8/04: I finished a rough cut within about a week, but then things got slower. I got most of the scenes cleared up fairly easily. The outdoor scenes have some background noise, but frankly we think that just sounds authentic. Dr. Nublado's little tiny room had a nasty ring to it, but it's obviously a small room, so what else would it sound like? Ultimately there were two nasty jump cuts in Jim's long scene, but we filmed that last and didn't get as many closeups as I wanted. I found a way to fake a medium-closeup by clipping out about 2/3 of a set of frames and blowing them up to full size. The tiny reduction in resolution isn't noticeable. The much smoother transitions were worth it. While I did ask a guy to compose some music for the waiting room, it hasn't shown up yet, so I stuck the middle of my own tune in there, real quiet, and it fits perfectly. So, it's the start of my old MOD file "Piece of the Storm" in the opening credits, the middle in the waiting room, and the end playing during closing credits.


SV: 2/26/04: I just posted the trailer on the website. Was surprisingly hard to put together. Had to cut out almost all the film and still give some idea of what it's about!


SV: 7/10/04: The video has been done for a while. Just trying to sort of the DVD authoring details. I keep contacting people who say they can help, and then they don't.


SV: 9/26/04: DVD completed! I mailed copies to the cast & crew, and sent out a few review copies, too. Hopefully, people will get psyched out, and start showing it around ...


SV: 10/19/04: The first comments are coming in now, and some folks really get a kick out of it. That's great. The whole point is to entertain people, give them stuff to chat about. I had one caller who had been watching it very closely the 5th time around and wanted to know some details about why the doctors did some of the things they did. Well, they're twisted, that's why! FYI: the tools that Dr. Nublado was playing with were not part of the original skit - the location was being renovated and there were tools everywhere; during our many rehearsals we just found ways to work them into the story.

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