Jocelyn Rish's picture

Every Girl's Dream

At some point, most little girls dream of becoming an actress.  Not this girl!  The thought of performing in front of people has always made me queasy, but today I had to suck it up and deal.  Up until now, all the auditions have been through emailed recordings, but today we had a few local ladies come in to Genesis to read for the main parts.  Since I was the only other female in the room, I was “volunteered” to read the other parts, which just happened to be for women.  While I found it interesting to watch the live auditions, being in them was a different story.  I don’t know how actors do it – it felt like the camera was burning a hole in me. And kudos to the auditioning ladies who did such a great job acting opposite me as I completely stunk up the joint.   

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If I Had a Hammer

Michael ScialabbaIn this case, Michael Scialabba will be trading his hammer for a stethoscope.  HGTV fans will recognize Michael as Vern Yip’s carpenter on the show Deserving Design.  But he’s also a talented actor who completely captured the awkward adorableness of Dr. Stroud, the caring doctor at the senior care facility where the story takes place.

Michael has a goofy charm that will help make the budding romance between Dr. Stroud and nurse Kathy an endearing subplot.  And as an added bonus, we will have an extra set of skilled hands on set in case something needs carpentering.  

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

Reese's PlantsEspecially in October.  One of our scenes takes place in a garden during the summer, so we were worried about how to create the lush look of green bushes and blooming flowers, especially on a small budget. Luckily it’s Reese’s Plants to the rescue!  The amazing folks there have GENEROUSLY agreed to donate not only the plants, but the manpower to temporarily plant them in the garden.  We can’t thank them enough!  So please, for any of your greenery needs, use Reese’s Plants!

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Oscar Buzz!

Edith IveyOur movie is now generating talk about Oscars!  First of all, the inspiration for this story was a cat named Oscar.  That’s got to be a sign, right?  

Second, we just cast Edith Ivey in one of our main roles. Edith has an impressive resume, but her most recent role was as Mrs. Maple – Brad Pitt’s piano teacher in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film that won three Academy Awards and was nominated for many more, including Best Picture.  Earlier in her career, she was also in Norma Rae, another Academy Award winning movie.  Hopefully she will bring some of that Oscar glow with her.  Some of her other credits include: One Missed Call, Robocop 3 and several episodes of In the Heat of the Night.  

Edith will be playing Eunice, who is bold, brassy, and full of life.  Edith completely captured Eunice’s spirit, and we are thrilled to have her on board.

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There are No Small Parts

Mark Alton RoseSue PlassmannWe have booked our first two cast members! The roles of Tina and Tim will be played by Sue Plassmann and Mark Alton Rose. Tina and Tim are two absent children who come to visit their mother after Gabriel the cat predicts her death. They only have one line each, but it was critical that the actors be able to convey the grief, shock, and regret of seeing their mother like this. Sue and Mark nailed the correct emotions in their audition footage. And luckily they look similar enough to be convincing as siblings. It’s so exciting to finally have the first members of the cast in place!

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Agapé Senior opens their doors

Agape Senior LogoWhen we first started talking about making this movie, two things made us really nervous: finding a cat and finding a location. We knew we could do some pretty creative stuff, but you can’t really fake a cat nor can you fake an assisted living facility (unless you have tons of money). Luckily we won’t have to do either. By now you’ve heard about Marmalade, well now let us tell you about Agapé Senior.

Agapé Senior is a senior care facility located in West Columbia, SC. They provide care for all stages of senior living.

The staff is amazing and the location is beautiful. When we first visited them, it was almost scary how many things we had written in the script that already existed at Agapé. They even have a resident cat that looks just like Marmalade (although they insist he has no magical death predicting powers).

It’s truly a wonderful place, and we’re honored to be filming Saying Goodbye at Agapé Senior. 

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Death Cat Comes to Life

Table readToday’s class was chock-full of excitement.  Nic Ularu (an award winning scenographer helping us with set design) spoke about set design and showed us pictures of some of the amazingly artistic sets he has created.  Then Jocelyn talked about writing the script and the challenges of turning a short story into a screenplay. 

But the highlight of the class was a table read of the script.  Richard Jennings brought in several talented local theater folks to give us a taste of what it is like to see and hear the script read aloud.  Even the slug lines and descriptions were read in a way that made them sound like poetry rather than stage directions.  A huge thank you to the people who took the time to come in and do this for us!!  It was so amazing to see our characters brought to life.  And Jocelyn was totally busted wiping her eyes during the reading.

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Virtual Casting

The audition footage is rolling in!  Richard has been sending us recordings of people trying out for the four main parts from talent agencies around the southeast.  I spent five hours tonight watching people act out the sides.  I’m a writer, but I’m not sure I have the words to explain how freaky, awesome, painful, funny, and sometimes moving it was to watch people bring my characters to life.  It is going to be so hard to narrow it down to just one person for each part.  I was especially fascinated by the different interpretations people had for the exact same words on the page.  Each person brought something special to the part, even the not-so-great auditions.  I wish I could combine all the best bits into the perfect über performance.

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Lamar OwenLamar Owen has joined Saying Goodbye as our First Assistant Cameraman. Lamar has an extensive shooting resume including many of Alton Brown’s shows on Food Network: Good Eats, Feasting on Asphalt, and Feasting on Waves. He recently got back from China after filming a foreign language feature film that is part of a Chinese language-learning program.

Lamar will also be providing his Panasonic HPX-2000 for the shoot. A great camera and a great person to operate it—what more could we ask for?

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Back to School

First class with USC studentsWe had our first class today with the USC students.  There are eleven of them taking the independent study course which allows them to work on our movie.   Susan and the students met us at Genesis Studios for this first class, where they got a tour of the facility.  Then we brought them into the screening theater for the lectures. 

We started by having everyone play the candy get-to-know you game.  You know the one - take some Starburst cadies, and then answer a question for each color.  Maybe a little cheesy, but we had movie related questions like, “What’s your guilty pleasure movie?” and “What’s the first movie you remember seeing?”

After that, Susan explained how the class will work.  Then Brian gave an overview of the progress on the project so far and an explanation of the different types of producers and what each type does.  Then Cliff talked about directing and his plans to grow the movie industry in SC through Emergent Films

We finished by giving them an optional homework assignment to “tweet us a story.”  Their challenge is to create a story with a beginning, middle, and end (incorporating the word ‘death’ and/or ‘cat’) in 140 characters or less.  The winner gets a fantabulous paint-by-numbers set of two kittens that will become part of the set dressing for one of the character’s rooms.  That’s a prize worth winning!

It was great to finally meet the students who will be helping us make this movie.   Welcome to the team Amanda, Ashley, Brandon, Chad, Fred, Jordan, Kasey, Michael, Michelle, Nathan, and Ryanne!