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.
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).