Our Other Location

Warner Theater

The beautiful and historic Warner Theater in Torrington, CT, the location for the opening scene of “Isn’t It Romantic?”


The photo above is an approximation of the opening shot of the short film I am shooting, ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  The marquee displays the title of the fictitious film written and directed by the protagonist, Danny Kresky.  (For the record, SOUL MATE is the title of a feature screenplay of mine, a romantic comedy that has been generating some interest.  It was a contest finalist and one way or the other, it will be on the screen some day.)

The opening scene of our comedy short takes place at a movie theater.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was not able to get in touch with anyone at the theater two blocks from my house, or receive any help from the local film commission.  I was very fortunate.  That theater is a nice little venue, but look at that photo.  The Warner is gorgeous!

Built in the 30’s by Warner Brothers, and restored decades later, it is seriously one of the nicest theaters in the entire Northeast.  My co-writer, my director of photography and I took a tour of the incredible facility yesterday.  The scene is very brief and takes place in the lobby.  We were very tempted to rewrite it and include the auditorium.

The Warner has a number of programs to promote and support local performing artists.  Stage shows, concerts and programs for children are regularly held.  They were very receptive to allowing us to shoot there and are letting us do it for free.  That’s the kind of support independent filmmakers need to create original and entertaining movies.  The executive director was incredibly generous.  They are going to set up the marquee for us.  (It was photoshopped in the picture above)  They are also going to provide us with some extras for the background of the scene, and a place for the actors to rest and for us to set up our craft service tables.

We were so deeply moved by this show of generosity.  I feel as though our production has been blessed.  Things are going so well.  We have two truly beautiful locations that will add greatly to the production value.  I’ve got a great cast and crew.  An entire team working hard and dedicated to making a great film.

This whole venture is succeeding beyond anything I could have imagined.  The heat is on.  All the elements are in place.  No excuses.  I’ve got to guide this team and bring it home.  Luckily for me, I thrive under pressure.

Setting Dates and My Color Palette

We had a production meeting tonight and made solid progress.  I was able to report good news to my team.  I found a car for a key scene in the film.  Our filmmaker protagonist and his wife drive to a country inn.  We need shots of them on the road and then exiting the car in front of the inn.  As a successful filmmaker, he needs to have an expensive car.  I placed an ad and a very nice gentlemen who is in the business is allowing us to us his Chevy Corvette at a very reasonable rate.  We’ve been very lucky so far.  There seems to be great support for the independent film community here in Connecticut.

Another piece of good news is that I was contacted by a very experienced camera operator who is volunteering his time and skills to us as an assistant camera person/lighting person.  We now have two people in that position, which will greatly facilitate the shoot.  Our new AC also has connections and is working on finding us a sound mixer, boom operator and perhaps an art director.  I am really sweating my lack of a sound crew.  Good sound is essential to a quality movie.

We also set a number of dates starting with our shooting dates.  We are shooting on consecutive weekends in October, 13 and 14, then 20 and 21.  This will give us enough time to prepare, the weather should be cool, but not cold and the falls colors on the trees will enhance the visual quality of the film.  At least I hope so.  Weather can be quite uncooperative.

As we still have three speaking roles to fill, we set a date for casting.  We’re going to use a casting site and put out an ad for actors to submit their headshots and resumes to the site.  Then we choose the ones who look promising to come in and read.  This will be an interesting experience for me.  I have auditioned many times.  This time, I will be the auditioner rather than the auditionee.  Fun!

A rehearsal date was also set.  I’m not going into detail there.  You all know what rehearsal is and this post is rather dull at this point.  So, let’s move on to something more fun and interesting.  And personal.  Everyone seems to like when I reveal personal stuff.

We were discussing things like set design and wardrobe and how coordinating colors makes for better shots and a more visually pleasing film.  The topic of color palettes for different skin, hair and eye colors came up.  You know how some people are winter, summer etc.  Now, I have never thought about any of this in relation to myself.  I dress primarily for comfort.  My clothes are always clean and not torn or anything, but certainly not fashionable.  I wear a lot of blue, solely because all of my favorite sports teams have blue as their main color.

Since I am playing one of the leads, people asked me what colors I wear and what my palette was.  I have no idea.  Well, that is going to change.  One of our co-producers is an experienced make up artist.  She is going to take me clothes shopping and work out what my palette is.  This is very funny to me.  It’s not something I ever thought I would do.  It’s not a macho thing, I find nothing wrong with a man choosing his fashions to look his best.  It’s just not something that I do.  My looks are not my strong suit, so I really don’t worry about them.

I am going along with this because it will help the production value of our film.  I will do anything that will make this movie better.  I also trust my team.   It’s part of the game plan: surround myself with people who know what they’re doing and let them do it.  It’s going to be funny.  I will probably laugh the whole time.  The whole concept of me looking at wardrobe and enhancing my appearance is so foreign to me.  But if I’m going to act in a film, I guess that’s part of the deal.

I will definitely post about the experience.  I’m sure you’re all dying to know what season I am.  My favorite season is summer, I was born in June.  But I don’t think it works that way.  I really am a dedicated artist.

We got our location!

At this moment, I’m feeling much better than I usually do.  I made the trip along with one of my co-producers to take a look at the house we were hoping to shoot in.  We got it!

I have to say, this worked out much better than expected.  I placed a Craigslist ad several weeks ago seeking a house to shoot in.  I wasn’t sure if I would get any responses.  I did get six, but the first one was the best.

Owned by a very nice couple, they are supportive of the arts and feel that their beautiful home should be shared with the public.  What a great outlook.  I have to honestly say, I am every bit as happy to have met them as I am that we have our location.  In a world where far too often people are selfish and self-centered, it is refreshing to meet such wonderful and philanthropic individuals.

As we toured the house, we were amazed.  Built in 1936, it served as a summer estate for a family that spent their leisure time riding horses.  The stables are still on the property, although converted to apartments.  We found ideal rooms and exterior locations for every scene we plan to shoot there.  The rooms are all very large with plenty of room for crew and equipment.  If we could have afforded to build sets, they couldn’t have been any better.

We were able to negotiate an amazing rate.  It fits our budget nicely and I am truly grateful that they agreed to it.   I also was happy to offer a position as a production assistant for their son, parts as extras for the gentleman of the house and his daughter, and I am giving him an executive producer credit.  I think that is very fair and they deserve every bit of it.  Wow.  How did we ever pull this off?

I am actually filled with conflicting emotions.  I am marching toward the fulfillment of a long time dream: I’m going to make a movie.  There’s no turning back now.  I’m also a little nervous.  I feel as though things are going too well.  I don’t deserve this and it never happens this easily.   I also confess that I feel some pressure.  The path is opening up.  I now have to traverse it and deliver the goods.  If it were just me, that would be one thing.  But, I have a whole team of friends who are depending on me.  I’ve got to come through.

Fortunately, I have always thrived under pressure.  The anxiety feeds me, energizes me.  I’m pushed against the wall.  When the heat is on and it’s crunch time, I’m going to do what I’ve done my entire life; rise to the occasion and perform to the best of my considerable abilities.