Monday, June 30, 2008

Behind the Scenes of SHELTER

Today, I'm opening up my private collection of Behind the Scenes stuff from SHELTER.

If you've been living under a rock, I produced a little gay film last year called SHELTER. It just came out on dvd, and here's select clips from the "making of video" that is included in the special features (to see the whole thing, check out the dvd).

If you don't have your copy of SHELTER yet, the BUY button is to your left. You can also rent it at Blockbuster and put it on your netflix cue - but be forwarned, there is currently a one month waitlist for it. We got a B+ from Entertainment Weekly and OUT called it "an instant classic".

The video includes interviews with stars Brad Rowe, Trevor Wright, Tina Holmes, writer/director Jonah Markowitz and myself with set video shot during our 18 day shoot on the beaches of Southern California.




And here are our photos from the set.




FINDING AND SELLING THE SCRIPT

I found this script - which was honestly, really good - after Paul Colichman from the here! network contacted me about producing a film for him. Paul wanted to delve into the "film festival independent" rhelm of indie gay film making, and liked my track record. I had another script I wanted to make called ON THE LOW, but here! had just bought The DL Chronicles which had a similar subject matter (but totally different!), so that went out the window.

I had been friends with Jonah through Anne Clements (producer, Quincenera) for years, and I heard through the grapevine that although SHELTER did NOT win the Outfest Screenwriting Lab (a competition each year for lgbt scripts) people kept saying kind things about it. I called him up, he gave it to me and the minute I read it it was a done deal in my book.

It took some slight convincing to sell the project (It was a very ambitious project with an unproven director, plus the development department pitched their own choices for a film I would produce - which were similar to the other films they usually do - see In Her Line of Fire, Trapped and Murder.Com).

Paul got 100% behind it and we set out to shoot it in December - a cold month for the beach, but as Jonah always said, a good month for waves. The film was shot in a record 18 days on super 16mm film with the help of some incredibly talented and dedicated people including the production design department of Denise Hudson, Gabor Norman and Michael Fitzgerald, our editor Michael Hofacre and our director of photography Joe White. We also tapped the talents of an a list surf DP, David Warshauer, who shot all the surfing footage.

CASTING

Trevor was our first and only choice for ZACH, but Jonah had selected another actor to play SHAUN.

That actor got cold feet about playing gay a few days before our shoot began, so Anne Clements suggested Brad Rowe - a friend of her's - and she did a personal ask to him. Rowe - like the others that came on board - loved the script and agreed to do it. He learned the entire script in two days.


We also had a hard time casting the tough role of Zach's sister, Jeannie. All the women who auditioned played it too one-note or stereotypical. It is a very white trash, fucked up role, but we didn't want it to be cliched.

Our casting director, Jason Wood did a personal ask to Tina Holmes who was in Six Feet Under and Half Nelson. We knew the work of Tina and Brad, and both were cast without auditions.




Once on set, I found it interesting that both Brad and Tina's first films were gay - Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and Edge of Seventeen (by Todd Stephens director of Another Gay Movie).

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I recently rented Shelter and then purchased a copy. The movie is fantastic! The script (dialogue), acting, and filming are perfect!

Thanks so much for posting this inside look into the filming.

Anonymous said...

What a great film, everything comes so natural, beautiful film. I have watched it a few times already, just cant get enough.

Adirondack said...

For the last 39 years I've been living kinda Zach's life. I even have a kid from someone else since he was 10. He is now 21 and moved from my house last summer. This movie helped me see that now it's time to pack my bags and look for someone that I'm sure is out there waiting for me :-)
Thank you all! Great movie

bonnet said...

heyyy guys...
what a great movie ever...this movie is really really inspiring me...tx to ya all...i think u changed my kife...hahahhaa

bonnet said...

heyyy guys...
what a great movie ever...this movie is really really inspiring me...tx to ya all...i think u changed my kife...hahahhaa

Anonymous said...

18 days? I am shocked. This was one of the finest movies I have seen in a long time. The acting and the script had me in tears. LOVED IT. It was a movie that I didn't want to end.

Dante's Cove: The Naked Truth said...

Congrats JD on your "gay surfer movie that takes place in Orange County". The next time you rip off someone else's script you should at least make an attempt to change the location, characters, and setting. I knew I had a good idea otherwise you wouldn't have ripped it off. But I don't want to rain on your parade I just wanted to offer you some friendly advice.

Cheers,

Mike

zitaa said...

i LOVE this film...
i have watched 4 time...
18 days....????!!! no shit...
so small time...
film vas great... :))

zitaa said...

i love that film
I have watched 4 times...
18 days???!!!... no shit...
so samll time...
its very grate film... :)

Anonymous said...

<333
this movie changes my life
It gave me hope.
Thanks for producing it :]

Anonymous said...

Where can I find the whole script in English of this awesome movie? Since I am not a native speaker, some dialogues are a bit difficult to unterstand. I got the DVD in German, but there is only a version with German subtitles to it, would need the English subtitles. Thanks for any hint.

anderson said...

[SHELTER] FOI E SERA O MENHOR SERIADO,,, FILME ,,,, NOVELA ,,,
NAO SEI DESCREVER O QUE PASSA EM MINHA MENTE


MAS SEM, DUVIDAS MARCOU MINHA VIDA DE UMA CERTA MANEIRA,,,,


ME IDENTIFIQUEI MUITO COM OS ATORES

SO TENHO UMA FRASE A DISER


OBRIGADO AOS DIRETORES POR FALAR ALGO QUE REALMENTE FAZ PARTE DO NOSSO COTIDIANO....

ANDERSON [BRASIL]

ileandromp™ said...

Thank you so much for the video and the pictures. I ordered my copy of this movie a few days ago and i can't wait to get here, and the cd too! :D

I just wanted to tell you how much this movie has inspired me to change my life and go after my dreams, no matter what.

PS: I was looking at your profile but i couldn't find an email address where we can write to you.
Is there any way that we can communicate with you other than thru the comments?

Anonymous said...

I recently rented Shelter from Netflix and was asolutely amazed and pleased with this movie...I have watched everyday since I got it last week and want more....Will you please do a sequel? There can be much more to this already gripping story...Jean could try and come back and take Cody, Zach and Shaun putting Cody in school and dealing with everyday spoils of parenthood...a lot can be done with this...I WANT MORE, MORE, PLEASE. Brad Rowe and Trevor Wright had amazing chemistry. Everyone involved in this film did and excellant job...I hated that it had to end. Please consider doing a sequel..pretty please with sugar on top!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not gay, but found the film to be really moving and inspiring. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I watched Shelter for the first time yesterday. I've had it for years but for some reason never got around to watching it. I think that's because when I watched it yesterday was when I needed it. I watched it twice. It was the first gay movie I've seen where the relationship was beautiful and not just the stereotypical gay porn type movies that surface. I am so thankful for this movie and for it's message. The casting was perfect, I HAAAATE jeanie LOL... I am going to watch it again today and see if I can make it through the whole thing without crying. I love your movie sooo much, thank you for going there.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, this film was just an amazing experience!
Such an inspiring and touching movie in so many levels!

jengou said...

Echoing everyone else's comment, Shelter just blew me away. It's easily a movie I'd be proud to show to anyone, homophobe or not, and they would have to admit it's a great movie. Thanks for making this great, great movie. My problem is that it's one of the few gay flicks I've seen, Shelter was a rec from a friend who's seen 80+ gay flicks, so I have a feeling that there aren't that many gems out there! Please make more movies!

Chris said...

Best movie I ever seen... In 3 days I've seen the movie about 4-5 times... Bravooo!!!

The video with behind scenes has been deleted... if you could uploaded again it would be great!!!!

Kay23 said...

Recently stumbled upon SHELTER on the net. One of the best movies I've ever seen. Cast & crew have done an amazing job, the films proof of true talent from all. Would recommend to anyone to watch it.

Thanks for posting the inside look (comment & photos). Much appreciated!