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It’s a real live press conference, y’all!

Genesis Press ConferenceOne of the reasons Cliff Springs was eager to join our project with his team (besides the brilliant script and the fact that we’re so awesome) is that the SC Film Production Fund dovetails nicely with a venture he is starting called Emergent Films.  Like the Production Fund, Emergent Films will train students and give them on-the-job experience while making movies with local crew, except it will be privately funded.  Cliff is using Saying Goodbye to help launch Emergent Films, along with a feature he wrote called See No Evil.

Cliff organized a press conference this morning to share with the media his plan for building the film industry in South Carolina.  As part of that, he introduced Brian to talk about Saying Goodbye.  Brian gave some background on the story and talked about the professionals and actors involved with the project.

Two of the local news stations ran the story, one can be seen here.

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Mary Elizabeth CobbIt was a long hard search to find an actress who was cute and bubbly, had red hair, and could also cry easily without becoming a snotty mess.  And now, a week before filming starts, we finally have our Kathy.  In her auditions, Mary Elizabeth Cobb really seemed to “get” Kathy. 

Mary Elizabeth had a recurring role on Army Wives, and she is also in a movie called Father of Invention, set to release in 2010, with actors like Kevin Spacey and Virginia Madsen.  But our favorite thing of hers is this fun skit.  We can’t wait to see her in action as crying Kathy. 

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Exploring Our World

Today we had the tech scout at the location with all the department heads.  The folks at Agapé Senior might have been a little overwhelmed since there were twelve of us scurrying all over the facility trying to find the best places for the various shots.  Hopefully they won’t regret their hospitality when all fifty of us show up next week to start filming. 

We have found a lot of great nooks and crannies to film the various scenes.  In fact, Agapé is such a beautiful place, we had a hard time narrowing it down to the perfect spots. 

This whole thing is starting to feel more and more real!

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Revving Up!

Cliff Springs and Dave InsleyDave Insley, our DP, flew into town today for two days to do prep work.  We met at Genesis with Dave, Cliff (the director), Les (the gaffer), and a few of the students to go through the story boards and talk about setups and equipment needs.  The students are already getting great inside knowledge as Dave explained some of his homemade tricks to create several of the effects we hope to have in the movie.

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The Wings of an Angel

Saying Goodbye posterWill Bryan, our talented production designer, has designed a movie poster for Saying Goodbye.  When he emailed it to us, he mentioned he had decided to go a conceptual route.  So I opened the file and thought it looked great; but being a word person, I’m slow to “get” artistic stuff.  Luckily Brian is more visual than I am, and instantly saw the imagery Will had created – the sides of the cat’s face form angel wings.  It’s so perfect for our story!

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The Best Laid Plans

Will Salley steps up to the micBecause we are a small production paying our professionals peanuts, it was bound to happen that something better might tempt someone away.  Our sound mixer got an offer he couldn’t refuse – a longer gig with much more money, so we wished him well and started a new search.  Luckily Will Salley was willing to come on board at the last minute to make sure everything sounds great.  Like many of the people on this project, Will is a USC graduate, and he has over twenty years of experience in broadcast and media production.  Thanks for bailing us out, Will!

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We Need a Nurse, Stat!

Sharrin EdwardsWell, not anymore.  The role of Nurse was surprisingly difficult to cast – we wanted someone who would be sympathetic, yet sassy, which is a hard combination to convey without going over-the-top silly.  Sharrin Edwards managed to pull it off - maybe that’s because she’s played a nurse before in the upcoming movie The 5th Quarter with Andie MacDowell and Aidan Quinn.  Now we just need to give the nurse a name so she’s not just Nurse.  How about Vistavia Smith?  And then we’ll call her ‘V’.

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Meant To Be

Rebecca KoonWe have finally cast our Alma!  At first glance Rebecca Koon doesn’t seem like the obvious candidate to play a woman in her mid-eighties.  But Rebecca is a skilled actress who completely transforms into Alma down to her arthritic hands and her shuffling walk. 

Rebecca has shared the big screen with many well-known actors like Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, and Giovanni Ribisi.  You can view her reel here.    

Even though her acting abilities were enough to make her perfect for the part, we found out later there are many reasons why she was meant to play Alma.  She crochets like Alma, her daughter’s name is Maggie like Alma’s, and in real life she is great friends with Edith Ivey who will be playing her best friend in the movie.  As if that weren’t enough, Richard Jennings taught her acting at USC AND she and her husband are close friends with Fred Story.  Kismet, fate, destiny?  Whatever it is, we’re just thrilled to have her on the team.

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Cute Kitties

Paint-by-numbers cat pictureWe now have the first piece of set dressing – a lovely paint-by-numbers cat painting.  In our first class with the students, we challenged them to create a tweet that was a complete story using the word ‘cat’ or ‘death’. Amanda was the winner with this tweet: “Bo scraped his cat off the empty street. Burying it he’s distracted by a purr. Shock ensues: it’s not his cat who’s seen death, but another.”  

Now we’re worried the prize might have turned out to be more of a punishment, since she put A LOT of painstaking hours into creating this masterpiece. But we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, since it’s the perfect decoration for cat-loving Eunice’s wall.  Thanks, Amanda!


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Bravo Richard!

What’s the best kind of class?  One that is both informative and entertaining!  As part of the series of workshops through the SC Film Commission, Richard Futch presented a seminar on auditioning today.  While the target audience was the actors in the room, it was also very helpful for our students since Richard gave them tips on what to look for in their futures as directors and producers.  With his dry wit and tell-it-like-it-is honesty, he had the room hanging on his every word.  

At the end of the class, he had several volunteers audition in front of the camera (and the entire class – Jocelyn’s worst nightmare!).  Then he played the footage back and gave them tips and pointers.  It was a great learning experience for all of us.