And with a donation eCheck just clearing, we passed the $300 mark!
Which means it is now time for me to write a long post with all those little cool details for the true fans to geek out over.
So the director (that's me) is going to ramble...
I first met Anthony (Fish) and Hannah (Blanche) at a film camp. That film camp was really one of the most pivotal happenings of my life. So much changed because of that. One of the biggest was of course meeting these two brilliant actors.
Hannah is a prolific actress. I'm pretty sure she couldn't count off her shows on her hands even if she used all her fingers AND her toes. She's played roles all across the board. I personally have seen her as such roles as a punk (Godspell), Mrs. Cratchett (A Christmas Carol) and Anne Frank (The Diary of Anne Frank). I was unable to watch her in "A Little Shop of Horrors" but I understand she was faaaaantastic. Currently she is in the very demanding musical "Into the Woods" as Cinderella's mother.
In addition to acting, Hannah is a fantastic seamstress. Her sewing skills were actually the bond that really started our friendship. We found out that we both wanted to sew for the same show (Beauty and the Beast) and had a marvelous day working together in which we found we were kindred spirits. Hannah sewed both Blanche's white dress and did the alterations on the teal dress.
As some of you know, Hannah is naturally a strawberry blond. In order to achieve Blanche's necessary dark hair, we had to borrow a wig which Hannah bravely wore all 18 months of filming despite the uncomfortable scratchyness of it. In order to get her eyebrows dark enough, we had to apply mascara to her eyebrows. It looks surprisingly real and really pulls the whole look together.
Anthony, on the other hand, has done very little acting. His "break out" role was in an independent film called "Lights Out" in which he played one of the main characters, a depressed and angsty teen named TJ. This showed me what a brilliant actor he was and I knew he'd be perfect for Fish - even though in real life Anthony is one of the most pleasant and ready to laugh people I know.
Anthony and Hannah and I (and my co-director, Josh) were all in a writer's group together the summer I made the decision to do the movie. It was actually the night of our summer formal dinner that I told Hannah and Anthony about the project. Believe it or not, I have pictures of the conversation when I told Anthony about the idea. We're walking though the park, with a group of elegantly attired young people, and I'm sprouting off all of my grand plans for the project while trying not to trip over my long dress.
For the first three months of production, Anthony was in Arizona helping his grandparents. However, once he returned he through himself headfirst into the production, regularly driving 45 minutes and spending many nights away from home in order to not only act, but also film and manage lighting for our shoots. When Anthony is behind the camera, he has a one track mind and moves intensely around adjusting lights, reflectors and dials.
Sharayah (Rose) and Jed (Bear) popped into my life when I volunteered to costume a community production of Beauty and the Beast.
Jed was "Bear" for me the moment I met him. Even though the two young men are actually rather different, there is still a certain air about him that calls to mind the mysterious hero of SOTB. Between his dreads and the range of emotion he displayed playing the Beast, as well as his kindness and consideration of others, I knew he would be brilliant as Bear. Still, you could have knocked me over with a feather when he actually agreed to take the part!
Jed is an intense and focused actor. When learning his lines, he will go off and study them exclusively, stopping only to ask me questions about motivation, or permission to alter a few words. He is adventurous and always ready to try new things -- but detail oriented enough to be the one person on set who I can always count on to watch out for his own continuity.
One friend used to beg me every time I talked to her to make SOTB into a musical. That was impossible for a million different reasons -- but I have to say, Sharayah could have pulled off a musical Rose with an Oscar-worthy performance. Having seen her as Nancy (Oliver!), Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Hodel (Fiddler on the Roof) and Cinderella (Into the Woods) I know this girl is going to be a hit on Broadway. Like Rose she is completely unafraid of anything, and ready to accept and love a host of people into her life.
She didn't blink once when we put a plastic bag over her head, or pointed a pistol at her -- but that could have had something to do with the fact that her dad was playing Mr. Freet! She underwent crazy shenanigans with the red hair issue -- finally getting to the point where her hairstylist would not dye the hair anymore and chopped it off. In her dedication to the film, Sharayah bought a human-hair wig with her Christmas money to ensure that we could finish the project.
And do you want humor? Just watch Sharayah and Hannah together! They'll sing musicals, make jokes, or practice their lines in crazy accents. (Our favorite? "Holy Candlesticks" in heavy Minnesotan!).
I cannot wait to get a trailer pulled together so that all of you can see more of the amazingness of these actors! We're so close --- just $83.00 more to go!
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.