Current Film and TV


  • Strad Syle (Feature Documentary)
  • River Dogs (reality)

In Development

Chop Cut

  • An editing and post facility run by yours truly.

DIY GUY's other life
Hobbies and interests besides making movies.




After the first round of filming, we had no more money. Half the film was shot; it had gone according to schedule, but now we needed to raise more money. We had known that this was going to happen and it had been the plan: shoot as much as you can and they (financiers) will come. I figured that I needed about 20,000 dollars more to get the film finished and after what we had been through, it didn't seem like anything was impossible.

I had rented an eight plate Steenbeck and dragged it from New York to my bedroom in Bucks County PA. where I had it for one month; I couldn't afford to keep it more. I sat in front of it, in the hottest of summers, every minute I could. My sleep was a bit better than when we were shooting and since there was no crew, I only had to beat up myself. And I had images on film, so I was a very happy person. In my opinion, editing is a point in film making that generally is the most rewarding time. I pieced together my "epic" and slowly saw a broken story emerge. Large sections of it were still not shot -- the first twenty five minutes for instance -- but with the first "cut" I had 58 minutes of screen time. With this, I felt I could raise more money. I transferred the film to video tape (by taking a camcorder and shooting off the screen of the flatbed... remember... no money) and then Paul Martin (the producer) and myself started hunting for the cash.

Truthfully, it is not as hard to get money when you have half a product. Truthfully, I never felt the same depression and desperation as when I first tried to raise money with nothing but a script and a dream. But truthfully -- it felt worse in many ways. Now the actors and crew all were hoping and dreaming and asking, "When are we going to shoot again?" I had told them that I expected to start again in July. I hoped the last money-raising process might take a month or two. But it wasn't until October that we were able to start again. I didn't have enough money but I also was fighting a changing season. I knew that if we didn't shoot now, we'd have to wait till spring time -- and I couldn't bear to wait that long. In my mind, a year between shoots would completely kill the validity of what I was doing. Much of the money came from within the close circle of friends that had developed on the film. Jack, the D.P. (and my best friend) had a heart of gold and luckily a fairly decent sized pocket. He had already been putting money into the project and now he continued to do so. I know that many people must have told him that he was crazy, but thank god for him. Paul Martin, the producer, dropped many more thousands into the production than he had originally committed, and my father, the generous person he is, lent me everything he could -- to the point of making himself financially very insecure. This is what it takes to make a feature film when you have no name.

When we started shooting again, there was a certain sense of confidence with the crew that I hadn't felt before. Now everyone knew we were indeed making a movie and they knew that it was going to get finished one way or another. The second round of shooting commenced with what would be one of the final scenes in the movie; a scene where the "bad guy" would crash his car off a road. Joe Wicen (the pyrotechnics and all around crew guy) had earned a reputation for being, "the man that can". Whenever I would make a seemingly impossible request, Joe would somehow get the job done. My request this time was for a car that we could crash, that wouldn't cost any money; or if it did -- no more than fifty bucks. Oh, and it had to look like a car that could really run -- and it had to match the bad guys personality. It couldn't be a little Honda or something. Joe found a car we could crash -- and it was free, and it was in good condition. Three perfect things. But it was a station wagon. A fucking 1972, brown Malibu, station wagon." No problem", said Joe, once it was at his farm. Then, with a mighty, "nothing is impossible" attitude, he fired up a welding torch -- and with the additional help of some plywood, window panes, white house paint and sponge brushes -- converted the station wagon into a sedan. The next thing we had been trying to figure out was how to make this thing jump over an incline and crash. We knew we couldn't have anybody drive it, and the engine, transmission and gas tank, among other things, had been pulled from the car. Joe came up with a pulley system that is, we later found out, the way it's done by the big boys. 

We all gathered in a field on Joe's farm and set up large HMI's for the night shoot. A large engined car and driver (a racing friend of ours) stood at the ready to pull the car to the ramp. This was going to be cool! Twelve hours later, as the sun was coming up - we had nothing except for a converted Malibu station wagon that had avoided the ramp several times, hit trees several times, and finally -- on its engineless satanic own -- driven around the ramp and continued for about a quarter mile through a soybean field before vanishing into a creek. After looking at stuck in the creek bed, six feet below the ledge We all gaped from, I yelled, "It's a wrap... and pull the exposed film from the cameras... I don't want to process this shit!" Then, in the days and weeks that followed, we went on to shooting easier things that would not be as expensive to light.

The largest scene we shot, in terms of people, was a scene in which Mitchell, the lead, goes into a restaurant and eventually sits down to talk at a table. We looked at a bunch of restaurants for the right mood and eventually decided on a local estabishment, the Doylestown Inn -- the deciding factor being that they gave us permission to shoot at all.

We spoke to every family member and friend we had, and got about 75 extras to appear in the scene. We knew it was going to be big and we went all outt. We had HMI's lighting in from the street, Jack (who is a certified steadicam operator) rented a steadicam, and I made sure that we had enough crew to do the job. It was one of the few times where I really felt like a, "cool filmmaker on a big shoot." I don't think the Inn had expected the size of the shoot. We had played it down, and I think they were expecting a "camcorder and a light or two" -- but things went well and the extras drank and ate a lot so the restaurant was happy. Shooting days continued, never smooth but somehow we did them. Finally, we were back to the hallway scene...

Dale rebuilt the set in the same location as before and we matched the lighting and continued as though it were six months before. Again it was a brutal 24 hour a day shoot but this time I felt that we squeaked out of there (Monday at 7:00) with enough to somehow cut a scene together. A couple of key shots were missing but I felt we could do them in someone's basement with foam core and close-ups. We had other things to shoot and a couple more locations to go to but we were nearing the end. The last sceme we did with Margaret, was to be integrated into the hallway scene. It was a scene where Laney, already shot twice, is shot five more times while splayed down on a bed. We did the scene, I drove her to the airport, and then that night, when I returned, we shot one more scene with the two male leads. With that, principal photography was complete... I hoped.

It was now November and time to edit again. There were an additional seven or so days that we shot over the course of the next few months, but they were a day here, a day there; things that we did once I had cut the rest of the film into the first section. These were difficult in a whole different fashion. They felt like "cleanup patrol" after a big party. The little things that had been missed in the crazy days of shooting... a cutaway here... a look there...etc. and I still hadn't shot the pre title sequence of the film. I would have to wait till spring time to do that. Production -- so much to do, so many emotions to deal with, so many problems. These are a few moments that I recall three years later.