Shoplifting from American Apparel in NYC and Ohio: Film Stills & Commentary

(Above: cast and crew peak around the corner for our pre-shoplifting scene "Three Stooges" stylee.)

I didn't get to post too much during our filming of SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL these last two weeks, so I'll just do a monster posting now with brief commentary.

I scream an improv song with friends.

We shot a scene where Brad and Jordan are drawing graffiti with chalk on some walls in Brooklyn. The NYPD showed up, so we had to clean up our mess pretty fast.

Drew asked if he could get a shot of the cops. I wanted it, but I didn't want to be so blatant. Luckily, Aaron ignored me when I said, "Don't film them!"

We did a reading/filming at Melville House. It was pretty fun, but, man, was I tired. The whole crew was ready to kill me. The night before Derek, our AD, said I was micromanaging way too much. I'm just glad this was the last night. I needed maybe three days of sleep. But I didn't kill anyone. That's a good thing. And no one killed me, so we survived.

We shot an impromptu performance with some people from Ohio. They managed to make a gripping scene in under an hour. I didn't even expect to get this scene, because we didn't have any actors for it. But these guys rocked it.

Mark Parsia (DRUNK GUY) and Daniel Genalo (SKINNY HISPANIC) square off in our first jail scene.

We came up with an additional bonus scene of flipping back and forth between Jordan Castro and Mallory Whitten playing two roles, and then putting in Brad Warner and Joan Wolkoff. I have no idea if this will work, but Steph, our editor, said she was excited about the idea.

Jordan Castro reads some of his poems at Melville House.

Brad Warner and Joan Wolkoff discuss stuffed animals in the bedroom scene.

The cast is in full gear here, taking threats from our DRUNK GUY. Officer O'Grady of the Boardman Police Department was kind enough to offer his services during the shoot. He gave tips on how the scene would go, and even gave our DRUNK GUY (Mark Parsia) a nice bruise for his acting chops.

Afterwards, Officer O'Grady apologized and said, "I just went into gear."

That's a testament to Mark's performance.

Jennifer Bishop did a fun bonus scene with us in Brooklyn, where her character meets the "real" Brad Warner outside of shooting. Basically, we had their relationship come to a halt when Brad finds that one of our camera crew has gotten cozy with the leading lady - yes, it's all part of our faux documentary, etc. Of course, we have lots of real documentary elements in the film as well, so it might be tough to tell the difference.

Erin McCarson reads tarot cards as Tasha in of our apartment party scenes. She did this great improv in the picture above, where she tells some of our extras they are going to not make it as a couple, and have "difficult" children. I can't even say what she really said because it's so politically incorrect, but let's just say it was some funny shit.

Daniel Genalo contemplates how to get rid of the DRUNK GUY during the jail scene.

Daniel Genalo and Alfred Rutherford square off during the jail scene.

(The actual character names in the script for the two of them was taken directly from the book. Alfred [pictured right] was playing the BALD CAUCASIAN, and Daniel [pictured opposite] was playing the SKINNY HISPANIC. Obviously, I don't care much about ethnicity when it comes to roles, but Alfred was really excited for his credit to read "Bald Caucasian.")

Joanie and Brad observe the tarot reading during the party scene in Brad's apartment. Well, Joanie's character observes slightly.

Brad confronts me after I make him go into American Apparel with a helmet cam and he gets thrown out. He threatens to leave the film.

Brad going into American Apparel and getting kicked out by the manager.

Officer O'Grady and Chief Nichols were kind enough to let us film the squad cars during the jail scene. We got some nice exteriors, and some cool dialogue between Officer O'Grady and Brad.

Alfred Rutherford and Brad Warner await the jail scene to start filming. Actually, I think they are in the middle of the scene. Yeah, I think I can see Mark swaying along in the reflection of their irises.

Brad Warner reads from Sex, Sin and Zen at the Melville House reading on our last day of shooting.

I have a million pictures, but that's all I'll post for now. We'll have a new trailer up once we start our fundraiser for post-production (editing and color correction, etc.) on IndieGoGo.

We're actually kicking editing, etc. into high gear because a lot of our post production crew seem to think the film has a chance to make some big film festivals. I have no idea. I heard the word "Sundance" thrown around. That made me go: Hmmm. I don't know about that. Still, I believe in all the people involved with the film. I also know it's possible to have a great film because of the great job Andrew Crighton did as a Director Of Photography, and all the great performances from Brad Warner, Mark Parsia, Jordan Castro, and all the rest of our cast.

Who knows? I have no idea. Maybe we can make a big film festival. Maybe not. I kind of don't care though. I've sort of given up on that kind of stuff. I just want to make a good movie for all of us to see. You guys who read this blog, and all my friends and family.

At the same time, if everyone wants to give it a shot, I'll throw it out there. Who knows? Maybe some other people will like this movie too.

All I know is that I'm glad to have worked with so many talented people to make this movie.

Now I'm off to sleep and eat for two days before I go back to work to pay off all my credit card bills.

Complaints and Reparations for Melville House Reading

I read on Brad's blog comments about the late start at the Melville House filming, lack of free swag, and feelings that we were inconsiderate to the audience. I apologize for all things. I will be sure to offer a free DVD and tee shirt to all those who attended. I also apologize if you had thought the Melville House filming was a performance exclusively, and not a filmed event where you would have to sign releases.

I think an exclusive event that would showcase the writers staring in the film would be a good thing. I will try and set that up in the coming months. I will also be sure not to have any cameras there.

If you would like to receive a free tee shirt today, and were at the reading, please contact me via e-mail at

Final Day of Shooting!

We will be filming the final shoot for SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL at Melville House on 145 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, NY from 8-10 p.m. on Saturday, June 18. All are welcome to come.

Shoplifting Crew Now in New York City!

The SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL film crew is now in New York City. We rocked out Akron, Youngstown, and Solon.

Thanks go out to REVIVAL, Alesci's, Jeorgine's, Accent Media, the Boardman Police Department, StaXX, Officer O'Grady, the Castro family, Matt, American Apparel on Coventry, and everyone else who helped us out.

This movie is getting really good. That's all I have to say. I'll post some pics later today. For now, you can see live shots taken by WKBN and The Vindicator.

Brad Warner also blogged about his experience here.

I'll write more in a minute.

SFAA: Ohio Shoot Days 1-2

This is a film still from the film SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL. We are currently shooting in Ohio. We will be in New York City soon.

This is a picture of THE SHOPLIFTING BAND playing a song. It's a shot of their guitars. Now I will write a letter to my wife. Then I will show more pictures.


Dear Sohee,

I hope life is good in Seoul. I am shooting the movie in Ohio. Things are pretty good. Jordan's family is really nice. His dad made steaks yesterday. I also ate corn. The corn was my favorite.

After dinner, Panauh challenged me to a ping pong match. I said I would beat him and everything. I didn't think anything of it. I was just joking. Afterwards, Sonny told me everyone has been commenting that I'm being a dick to Panauh.

Most of the times people don't realize everything that's going on. Then I thought, "They don't have to." I thought about how they said I should treat him not like my brother, but like everyone else. Then I was like, "Okay, I can do that."

That was yesterday.

The movie is going pretty good. Some moments are better than others. I like everything I watch. Even if it's not particularly good in one way, it's like like so bad it's good. Does that make sense?

I got a chance to think about you yesterday. I was like, "Man, life will be lonely for two months by myself." Then I stopped thinking about that. I watched Animal Planet for a while. It was 4:00 a.m.

This is a bit of a strange letter. I woke up this morning with a charlie horse in my calf muscle. Panauh helped massage it out for me. Then an hour later, he woke up and needed help with his back. I showed him how to do yoga poses for a while. I massaged his lower back, and then he fell asleep in the exercise room.

I guess that's the funny thing. People say to treat someone a certain way. I can only be myself. I guess I am a dick sometimes, but what can you do? I guess not be a dick, right?

Anyway, here are some pics from what we shot the last couple days.




Here is THE SHOPLIFTING BAND. Sonny and Jordan wrote a song. We choreographed this little music video for the end of the movie. It's pretty funny. The song's lyrics are made of gmail chats between Jordan and Tao.

They are a really good band. I enjoyed watching them perform. All they needed was a little choreography. Then they were like KISS.

On the first day, we shot with the MAGIC CAM/CASSAVETES CAM. Everyone wore the bike helmet with the camera on it to pay homage to John Cassavetes. Then we played camera operating freeze tag. Jordan and Noah were the funniest. That's probably what we'll use in the movie. Noah chased Jordan for like a good minute. The camera is bouncing and everything. It's pretty funny.

The first day was the documentary beach scene. I just asked them about writing and success. Sonny was playing his guitar in the background.

Noah got really funny in take eight. He started talking about being miserable, and how that was the answer for anyone who wanted to be a writer. Then he changed his mind, and said he wanted to be like Norman Mailer, and have two ghost writers and wine coolers.

Last night we filmed the final singalong in the movie. I lead them in something that was supposed to be like the Beatles "All You Need Is Love." It turned out really peculiar because it was improv. I guess you could call it Gospel 20's Swing. I don't know. I just know that when we finished Jordan said: "That was the weirdest experience of my life."

Today we shoot the poetry reading scene at Mac's Books in Cleveland Heights.