Welcome to "The Shadow of the Bear" movie blog!

We are an independant young adult-run production based in the U.S. Midwest. The film has been in pre-production since summer 2008, and wrapped up filming on August 26th, 2010.

We premiered the project on June 23rd, 2011 at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis, MN to a delighted audience of over 100 viewers.

For details about the future of the project, click here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Set Report from Day #2

Whew...so...yesterday we had our first *official* day of filming. It was completely amazing.

(side note- this isn't a great picture of Sharayah, but you can see her cool coat and hair color. Note about the hair- Sharayah had QUITE the time getting it to that color. She had to dye it twice, and use dye remover in between that. It was a bit crazy!)

The day started with a flurry of preparations. While my younger sister (taking on the duties of props mistress) assembled Mrs. Brier's grocery bags and the winter version of the rosebushes, I drove over to a friend's house to pick up some huge outdoor lights to use in filming.

Then I came home and packed up my car with the various props and equiptment. To my surprise and extreme delight my brother and sister both agreed to come along and help at the shoot. They were both great assets, as my sister ran around helping to keep everyone warm and my brother used his size, strength and skill to help make our lighting changes swift and efficent.

We met at the house of our Blanche and Mrs. Brier. Everyone had assembled by a little past four and we watched the footage from Saturday, talked over the upcoming shoot, and prayed. This is God's project over and over so prayer is so vital to this film!

Then we sorted out the driving situation and figured that all...fifteen of us? Could fit into four cars.

In addition to our crew from Saturday, and my siblings, we also had two friends of mine from former film projects and another young gentleman who will be running sound for us on future shoots. Plus, of course, Mrs. Brier, and her husband and daughter.

It took us about a half hour to get down to the area of the city where we would be shooting. The house we are using as the Brier's home is just lovely- light blue with white trim and a closed in porch, set on a bit of a hill. However it's in exactly the sort of somewhat rough neighborhood you'd expect to see as the modern metaphor for the dark forest of the fairy tale. In fact, one of the neighbors who stopped by during our filming told us that the house next to ours had once been a drug house! How weird!

We started getting set up a little after 5:30 and worked until 10:00. Everyone was just amazing. Despite the extreme cold there were no complaints, only cheerfulness. In fact, Jed (our Bear) loves the cold so much that we had a hard time getting him in to warm up!

I had storyboarded the entire snowball fight sequence and that made things move much smoother. It also gives me confidence that we're going to be able to edit it together easily because I put a lot of pre-planning time into making sure all the shots would fit together properly.

It was awesome to watch Jed and Hannah and Sharayah. They all fit their parts so perfectly, that even though I was directing it, there wasn't nearly as much for me to tell them as you'd think. They just instictively knew what they should be doing. I'd say "action" and immediatly they [i]were[/i] Bear, Blanche and Rose. And they were hilarious! The snowball fight scene has to be the most laughter-inducing scene of the whole story and it was just so fun to watch them play it out.

It was just a blast. I think everyone had a great time. We have a good comradarie among the cast and crew. It just blew me away to see everything going so well. In fact, as I told my brother and sister later, by the time I got home I just about cried from happiness. God has his hand so evidantly in this project and it just amazes me.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Set Report from Day 1

First of all, as I think you can see here, we took some promo pictures, one of which I edited up for you all to see. Hannah isn't wearing her wig yet, but you can see Jed with his hair and costume as they should be, as well as the almost finished white dress. (I don't know if you can spot the key/heart necklace or not).

This first day was a preliminary filming day, sort of a trial run if you will. I was able to see how well everyone worked together, as well as some things that I can do differently to make things run quicker and smoother.

Overall it was a great day. The cast (just Hannah and Jed for this round) and crew gelled pretty well. We had lots of jokes flying around, and yet people were also very focused. There's a good professional attitude amongst us.

We had a good sized crew. Camera A was operated by our cinematographer, and Camera B was operated by our lighting designer. We also had two other guys to hold the mic (on a boom pole) and various lights. Plus we had Janny (Froggy on the forum) as our continuity director and my PA.

We shot about a page - page and half of the script from the scene when Bear asks Blanche to prom. None of it will end up in the finished film, but we're going to edit it together anyhow and probably post it here for you all to see.

We praise God for bringing everything together the way he has, and ask for continued prayers of good weather and good health for the rest of the week.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Filming begins today!

Well it's 2:00am and I'm just about to catch some sleep before the big day! Just wanted to let you all know that we're going to have our first official day of production (although technically it's a prefilming day, which means none of the footage we shoot will end up in the film) today! Prayers would be much appreciated! I expect to show up again in about 24 or 36 hours to let you know how it all went!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Adult Actors

Hi, this is Laura, Trinamariah's mom. I was wondering if you had planned on having adults play the adults in your screenplay? If so, do you have any of the adult roles cast yet?

I can't believe I haven't mentioned them yet! The answer to that is yes and no. We have the two most important roles (Mr. Freet and Mrs. Brier) cast. Mr. Freet is going to be played by Sharayah's dad, and Mrs. Brier is going to be played by Hannah's mom. Other parts such as Dr. Freet and Sister Geraldine are still up in the air.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Inspiration of this Film

A couple of weeks ago I promised you all the answer of how this project began. I'm afraid it's rather a long story, so bear with me!

I've actually been interested in filming my whole life. When I was a newborn baby my father and uncle made this really cute film about me- not a home video, an actual movie with a plot and interviews, etc. So I can really say that I've been a filmmaker from the get-go.

My first really serious project came at the age of 15. My friends and I came up with the idea to make our own version of a popular fantasy film (If I tell you it was not Harry Potter, you should be able to guess what it was). Before I knew quite what had happened, I had become scriptwriter, producer, director and one of the only significant female actors. Woweee!

That project ended up taking about 15 months of my life, was two hours long, was shot in half a dozen locations across the state, had over 50 people on camera, and premiered at our church to an audience of about 125 persons.

As you can imagine, after that I was ready for a break.


The very next summer, the year I was 16, my fellow filmmakers and I were introduced to the first Vision Forum Film Festival, held down in San Antonio Texas. We decided that we needed to submit our own film to the contest, and quickly set to work writing another script. Or rather, I wrote it and they picked it apart.

This one was an original story, had a smaller cast (about a dozen people) was filmed completely in five days time (with a few pick up shots) and was edited in one month. The total running time was about 50 minutes.

So yes, you could say it was a smaller film, but we were still able to do cool things like film at our State Capitol and the nearest International Airport.

(Incidently, we found out later that the Coen brothers had started their film career filming at that same airport!)

Two films in two years. Were we ready for a break NOW? Well, sort of. We had plans for a film about the Scottish Rebellion of William Wallace that we had been tossing around for awhile. However, it was a pretty big epic scale project that was taking a while to come to fruitation. And while we were working on the script for that...

...I visited this amazing house.

Seriously. The family that owned it had decorated it to fit the Victorian period. The furniture, the wall paper, the curtains...everything was so perfectly period! I stared at it, turned to my friend (who lived there) and said "I need to film a movie here."

And that was how we began "Little Women."

Originally we'd planned for a small, half hour film to take place over that January. What happened was that we spent the next eight months filming, with another year of editing, shot the whole thing on a Canon XL2, had an original score composed, and had another premiere two years after the beginning of the project with another 100+ audience.

I pretty much realized that I was never going to be able to do a small film.

Over the post-production period on Little Women I went off to college and enrolled as an English Lit Major and Film Studies minor. I had plans to go off to L.A. for the fall of 2008. I also read a book called "The Shadow of the Bear" by Regina Doman.

God seemed to have plans other than movie making for me, however. In 2007 I realized that going into film was not compatable with my other dream, raising a homeschooled family. So I dropped the film minor, came home from college and took up a nannying job, and focused on directing and costuming local church and community theatre productions.

Before this point I had fallen in love with the Fairy Tale Novels. By the time I read "Waking Rose" (which has so many similarities to my life at the time) I was reading Regina's blog regularily. It was there that I realized that Regina had a really vocal and loyal fan base who didn't have a good way of communicating with each other. So I stepped out on a limb and asked Regina for permission to start a fan forum. She agreed, and now a year later we have a vibriant and thriving community of over 300 members.

But it didn't end there.

This past summer, while I was involved with a community production of Beauty and the Beast, God started bringing some interesting things into my life. Through a friend of mine he told me that I needed to go back into filmmaking. I was pretty stunned by this, as I had more or less given up my filmmaking dream. But there was one thing I knew. I wanted more than anything to make a film version of "The Shadow of the Bear." And I knew the author well enough to ask her for permission.

And I had just met a guy who seemed to fit the description of Bear exactly- something I had never dreamed I'd be able to do.

So I sent off an e-mail to Regina, which was quickly followed by permission and a series of e-mails that determined just how this would work. I began to realize that, yes, this could really happen. Within a matter of days I also realized that I knew three other people who would fit the parts of Rose, Blanche and Fish. So I talked to the four potential actors, recieved a series of positive answers, and knew that, for some reason, this was actually meant to happen.

Since then God has continued to send a parade of "yes's" and people my way. There is little doubt in my mind that this is God's project and God's will and that he means for all of this to happen. I don't think I can even begin to explain how humbled I feel by all this, or how much it has already done for my own life.

We're a week away from filming now, and just about everything seems to be in place. There's still a part of me that can hardly believe that it's true.

And yet, it is.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Introducing Rose Brier

Sharayah, whom I first met while she was in the role of the beautiful and spirited Belle (from "Beauty and the Beast") is our actress for the part of Rose Brier. Rose, the younger of the sisters, is imaginative, stubborn, loyal and inquisitive.
(And before you ask, yes, she just informed me that she is going to try to get blue contacts.)
Elena: So Sharayah...how long have you been acting?
Sharayah: I've been acting basically since I could walk - this being before I could talk. My parents could tell what I liked from the faces I made. When I could talk, my friends and I started writing plays in my basement, and that was that! An actress was being created! Acting is definitely one of my passions, and although I haven't had a ton of experience in the actual professional field of acting, that's where I hope to end up.
Elena: Wow, I can definetely tell you are passionate about acting! Which is great for Rose, of course. What have been some of your favorite parts to play?
Sharayah: Hmmm. Well, one of my first larger roles outside of my small church-musical world was Dorothy Gale. That was really fun to do, because the three actors I was with were an absolute blast! And I became rather good friends with the "Wicked Witch of the West" as well. But currently my favorite role was Belle in Beauty and the Beast in my backyard! Feisty women always catch my attention, and Belle isn't your average "Disney princess," which is why it was so much fun. Plus, I got to look beautiful without leaving my house... whenever I dress up and try to go somewhere it somehow gets messed up, I dunno wherein lies the problem, but there you have it.
Elena: Hahaha! I can totally understand that. And those are great roles. Rather funny too, because I can see elements of Rose in both of them. Would you agree?
Sharayah: Yes! The imagination and sort of wistfulness in both of them are strikingly similar...
The creativity element, too.
Elena: It's really funny how you can cast someone and then find out even more ways in which they fit their character. I credit it to God's planning of this project, though. It's really amazing. Anyhow, this is your first film project, correct?
Sharayah: Yep!
Elena: What inspired you to agree to it?
Sharayah: Well, film is just something that I've always aspired to... I don't want to be a movie star or anything, but just something I could get up close and personal and really tackle the little quirks of a character sound extremely exciting to me. So this opportunity was sort of irrisistable... I mean who in their right minds could honestly expect me to say no?! :)
Elena: Hahaha! Well I'm thrilled that you said yes! Especially since you and Rose are so much alike. Why don't you tell us about some of the things you two have in common?
Sharayah: Oh where do I begin?
Elena: At the beginning. It's a very good place to start, you know!
Sharayah: Well I'll start by saying, when I read the book "The Shadow of the Bear" for the first time, I was actually shocked by the similarities! For instance, Rose likes to look at people as sort of... how did she put it? Other people or creatures trapped in the bodies of whoever they appear to be. It's rather fascinating that I actually do that myself! For instance, on of my social studies teachers was a rather inquisitive rat. (Don't tell!) Another of my friends was an empress, forced into hiding by her rebellious subjects and humbled by the situations of everyday people like me. That's how I found the gumption to forgive her about things.

So that's just one of many incredible similarities, and if I can find something like THAT, you can IMAGINE how many others there must be... like how talkative Rose is, for instance? Yea okay, except I know when to stop talking.. which I'll do right now...
Elena: Hahahaha! Nno, I love to hear you say all this! It's really cool! It just makes me go..."This is so Amazing!" Boy, I can't wait to start filming. What do you think you're looking forwards to the most?
Sharayah: Um, filming?
Elena: But like what scenes?
Sharayah: Haha actually I'm really looking forward to a couple of scenes we're gonna film... first off, the scene where Rose confronts Rob? WOW what a woman. I'm also looking forward to the scene in the basement with Fish when Rose has a plastic bag over her head? Call me crazy, but that is going to be instense!

And any scene with Blanche in it will be great. I love Hannah. Love love love love love love love Hannah. We get along quite like Blanche and Rose get along, actually.
Elena: So I've heard! I think that is awesome! Well, I think that just about covers my list of questions. Anything else you'd like to say to our fans?
Sharayah: I hope you like my interpretation of Rose? Books that people are fans of, once they get turned into movies, leave a lot of very disappointed and sometimes very bitter fans. Please don't be bitter. Put a smile on! Just like McDonald's commercials... MAN commercials are annoying, can't television just be free? If everything was free, people wouldn't be losing money, because they wouldn't need money to pay for anything else! It's a rather silly system. But what's done is done.

Elena: Hahahaha! I love it. Thanks for taking the time to do this!
Sharayah: Of course!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lights Out

Both Hannah and Anthony mentioned their last big film project "Lights Out" in their interviews. Since the film has just screened at two film festivals (one in San Francisco, one in Italy) I thought I would put up the link to the film website for you all to take a look at.

It is an Independant Christain Production and operated in a very similar way to what we'll be doing with SOTB (although we're on a smaller scale). It was actually through the director of this film that I had the chance to meet and befriend Anthony and Hannah. So you could say that without "Lights Out" SOTB would not be in production.

Here is the link to the main website. I believe they are intending to get a trailer up fairly soon.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More Questions and Answers

Serendipity (I believe)
This is so wonderful!! But I have a question: You said earlier that Hannah (Blanche) would probably be wearing a wig. If that is so, what are you going to do about her eyebrows? (I know...it's a weird question, but...)
November 18, 2008 1:48 PM

We will be darkening them. We've got a couple of make-up tricks up our sleeves.
(Actually, I'll probably tell you more after we try it and see what looks best)

Elizabeth said...
I was wondering if you will include some of the more difficult scenes to film, considering where they are located, such as St. Lawrence's church when Mr. Freet falls through the floor boards?

That's up in the air. It may be a case of constructing a floor in a seperate location and filming carefully, or we may end up rechoreographing the scene to elimenate the need.

And someone on the forum asked what scenes we would be filming over Christmas break.

The short answer is- all the exterior scenes with both snow and Bear.

In more detail- that would be some shots from the first night that they meet Bear, and the whole exterior part of the Opera/St. Lawrence/Snowball fight night.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Production soon to begin...

It's official. We now have a cinematographer and camera and so, if all continues as well as it has been, we should begin filming on or shortly after the 27th of December.

Prayers would be MUCH appreciated! There is still a ton to do before then!