Days 14-18: Filming at the Oaks and Plaza Donuts

We shot at Plaza Donuts on Belmont today. Here is some of the team: TJ Hellmuth (DP), Thomas Henwood (Co-Director), Kene Holliday (ELIJAH), yours truly, and James Roehl (MARK SWIFT).

Kene gave James some good advice about acting: "Take care of your body and it'll treat you well."

Yesterday we finished up at the Royal Oaks bar. Here is a shot of Joanie Wolkoff (KENDRA) and James Roehl (MARK) hamming it up between takes.

It was definitely a long three days. I heard people talking about how pale I looked. The third week of a production is probably not the best time to do interviews, but I took my funny mustache and pale frame in front of cameras for The Vindicator and 21 WMFJ.

Noah Cicero did much better in the interviews and you can watch out for him on a couple other stations throughout the week.

I finally got to direct a bit more at the Oaks. Since I've been needed on the producer side of things for a majority of locations, it is definitely a treat when Tom and I can switch roles and rock out. That was literally the case when we went through the Open Mic sequence at Crapiokie.

Luckily for us, Youngstown has an incredible talent pool. I don't think there was one bad performance in the bunch. We had a roller skater, some poetry, a freestyler (our own John Vinson), and a special guest appearance from the vocalist of Gil Mantera's Party Dream.

Richie is an amazing performer. I could even see him acting in films if he wanted. He is a natural.

Noah and Kene were two peas in a pod. It was good to see them laughing together outside Plaza Donuts.

Kene directed me before we started the day yesterday. "Get a picture of this for my wife," he told me. "Yeah," he continued. "Get in front of the car. Right there! Yes! Yes! Okay. Now you keep doing what you do. Spread that around. Okay! Ready? How does that look? Oh, you got the trees in there and everything! Look at that! That's what I'm talking about."

We had Kene move through the forests to represent his characters interest in natural scenery over a life with human beings. I watched Kene come alive in each take - even taking a tree branch as a prop and extending the branches through his fingers to check the blossoms like he had been living in the woods for his entire life. Kene is definitely an amazing talent. It was a pleasure to see him work and offer bits of wisdom throughout the day.

My favorite moment was when one war veteran at Plaza Donuts heard Kene's performance and told him he agreed with that character's thoughts on war.

"You know," the spectator said. "I fought in Vietnam and I agree with everything you're saying."

"Well," Kene replied with a knowing wink to me, "That's why we're making the movie."

Here is Richie from Gil Mantera's Party Dream letting loose in a spontaneous improv that ended with him asking the audience to embrace the future; "It's only two minutes from now!"

James Roehl has offered the world an incredible performance. I am very excited for his career and the work he will do with each subsequent film in his career.

"You're going to do fine," Kene agreed with me last night at dinner. "Yes, you are going to do very well."

"Thank you," James said in his natural humble way.

I looked at Tom. It was a proud moment. We had started this journey a year and a half ago. It had taken us hours and hours of work. Now with one actor's career being anointed by another, we could see one of the many proud moments of directing an independent film.

I could keep doing this my entire life.

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