I think it's been well over a year since I have updated this thing! Yeesh!
It seems that the only time I really feel like keeping up or even mentioning anything in my blog anymore is when something is bugging me. I should probably re-name this whole thing "Flike Complains" because more often than not, that's what it seems like I am doing. But in all fairness, don't most people use social media to complain? (I know...I'm pulling at strings here).
I'll start off this entry with a touch of good news - that simply being that I have been working non-stop, which is great, especially in the film Industry, especially in Pittsburgh. I worked on five films last year and a docu-reality show. (I guess you could technically say that I worked on seven films, seeing as how the reality show was only one aspect of the whole project). This year started with a bang as I wrapped out on one film, only to begin work on two television series. I'm pretty lucky.
Because I went a full year NOT working (about two years ago), I must say that I'm pretty proud to be attached to multiple projects. Projects that were a real joy to work on (some more than others). So now it's time to shamelessly mention what I've had a very small hand in the past year or so.
I was lucky to be an Intern Coordinator and Associate Producer for the Starz program The Chair. Although it was incredibly stressful, it was a learning experience. Yeah. A learning experience...It aired last year on Starz and, cover your eyes if you missed it, Shane Dawson won. The concept was simple, and when I met with Chris Moore who asked me to be a part of the project, I couldn't help but be intrigued. My part on the entirety of the series was so small in comparison to those displayed on camera, and those who are still promoting and guiding the still hopeful return of the show. During the making of the two films and the doc-series, I was never out of my car. Save for my many late nights scheduling and stressing. I can't lie. I didn't watch the show, but I did watch the films. I think they both exhibited some of the many talented actors in this beautiful city of Pittsburgh. If you'd like to check out the final films, look no further than Netflix. Not Cool and Hollidaysburg can be streamed there.
Immediately following The Chair, I went back to the Casting office. I've been working at my old stomping grounds ever since. It's been nice to have a "home" office, a reliable work schedule and time with one of my favorite bosses. It's also been great sliding from one project to the next. After working for Starz, I started on a Will Smith film that was set to start production late spring. The story was a bit convoluted but really interesting and I couldn't wait to see the final product, however, the studio pulled out and alas, the film is still in that awkward "I need funders" phase. This was OK as a Jake Gyllenhaal film fell on our laps and had us working for months.
Southpaw, which was released this summer, took every ounce of my focus. The film, which went through re-writes like teens go through pumpkin spice lattes, required so much attention. Donna and I spent many nights tirelessly reading emails, scouting real boxers, scheduling and rescheduling auditions/callbacks...the work was hard. Usually casting lasts about a month on a film. Maybe a month and a half if the character list is large. For Southpaw, Donna and I worked four. We worked through nearly all phases of the film. It wasn't until the very last day of principle photography that we wrapped up. Luckily we were able to cast some of our favorite actors and watch them light up the screen at the premier. There's nothing quite like watching a film with people you know and love making the story come to life. It's a blessing to watch these actors perform. You can purchase the film on DVD and BluRay on October 16th.
On the heels of Southpaw, Donna was contacted about a dark action film coming to Pittsburgh. I was beyond excited to hear that she was hired as the Casting Director. The film, which had us working in tandem with Southpaw, centered it's story around a witch hunter. We heard rumors of the film a year before, but due to the unexpected death of Hollywood heavy hitter, Paul Walker, the films star was involved in a film on Hiatus (F&F 7). Once the dust settled and F&F wrapped, Vin was able to start production on The Last Witch Hunter. The movie had us pulling our hair out at times, with difficult characters to find and a multitude of creative hills to climb, however, we happily completed the movie with pride as many of our favorite actors were chosen to bring the dark characters to life. You can catch the film on October 23rd, when it is released.
As things slowed down with Witch Hunter, Donna was approached about a film that hit close to home. Concussion tells the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu. A forensic pathologist who inadvertently discovered the brain disorder CTE while performing an autopsy on former NFL Steeler and star center, Mike Webster. Peter Landesman, who directed the film, shared with us his overall vision for the final product and Donna and I had chills. The film, which is based on facts surrounding the discovering of CTE, is a force that the NFL is most likely not ready to handle. If you go to the theater to see any movie this year (aside from Star Wars, because I KNOW people are dying to see it), check out Concussion. You will be utterly shocked at the power the NFL has and disgusted by the organization's pathetic attempts to cover up a condition that is factually lethal. The film, which stars Will Smith, also features the incredible talents of our local community of actors. I know I speak for Donna when I say that the film was an absolute joy to work on. The power of this film resonates with me, and I am most proud to have my small name attached to such a wonderful movie. You can see this film on December 25th (Christmas Day), when it is released.
Just as we thought we would have some time off to enjoy the upcoming Pittsburgh winter (yes, I said ENJOY - at least I love the winters here), another film came knocking on Donna's door. This time, a quirky holiday film with a lovable cast. Love, The Coopers, a film about a modern family coming together one last time for the Christmas holiday, was set to shoot before Christmas and go into the following year. Donna, the incredibly talented woman she is, had to say yes. We started working on it immediately and were simply floored when the final "Hollywood" cast was presented. Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, Amanda Seyfried, the list continues. We couldn't wait to get started. Upon first meeting director Jessie Nelson (who was simply a blast to work with), we knew we were in for a delight. Although the casting seemed to last forever (mostly because we worked over two major holidays), we had a blast finding comedic talents to pull of the hilariously scripted characters. The movie highlights the reality of todays "family" system. It deals with divorce, crumbling family structures, sibling rivalries and the exhausting and somewhat comical journey to find love. It's a simple film with a large cast. Check it out this holiday. It's set to come out on November 13th.
Love, The Coopers brought Donna and I to work well into 2015, so of course, as it wrapped up, we expected to have a few weeks off (yay!), however, two television shows found their way to Pittsburgh, and who of course would both productions reach out to, but Donna. Being a hard worker is her strongest trait, so of course, Donna said yes to both shows. She frantically called me on a snowy February evening and said "Just tell me we can handle both of them. Say we can manage them. I had to say yes." I laughed. OF COURSE we could handle both shows. We'd taken on way more than that before, and with Donna's 25+ years of experience and my young and hungry work ethic, I KNEW we could do it. So, we got started.
Cinemax was prepping their well known, small town vibe show, Banshee. Going in to season 4, Donna and I felt lucky that she was approached to be a part of their fourth and what would turn out to be (surprising to us) final season. This show pushed us to extremes. We cast characters that we never thought we'd ever have the opportunity of casting. All the while working with incredibly talented show runners and writers. We both felt blessed to be a part of such a crazy ride and I have to say that we really look at this season as a trophy in our minds. We hit a lot of challenges and overcame many of them. We are proud of the actors we cast in this last run and can't wait to watch them light up the TV screen. The show really pushes boundaries and is full of violence and sex. If that deters you in any way, then let me say this - the creators of this show and the crew that has worked so tirelessly for four years making this happen are some of the nicest, most respectful people we have ever worked with. If we weren't being invited to a charity event, we were being reminded of ways to donate our time and money to others. These hard workers really found time to give back, and that speaks volumes in this industry.
If you are a fan of the hit show, you are in for a real treat with this final season! It will air sometime in 2016. Here is a great article written by the show's co-creator and producer, Jonathan Tropper: http://grantland.com/hollywood-prospectus/leaving-town-the-creator-of-cinemaxs-banshee-explains-why-hes-ending-the-show/
The other show we were given the opportunity to work on, and are just now wrapping up on, is the not yet aired, new drama, Outsiders. Outsiders, which was green lit for a pilot season will air on WGN in 2016. The show is unlike any other drama on TV now and has been an utter joy to work on. We have worked with 7 incredibly talented directors, all of which have resumes so impressive it seems like a dream that they shared their time with Donna and I. The show has allowed us to have a real voice when it comes to casting, as a majority of the roles came from our office. We have met so many talented actors while working on this piece, that we continue to keep our fingers crossed it will return for a season 2. If you are someone who enjoys a little mystery mixed with revenge and old world charm, you should check this show out. The writers and producers and show runners are some incredibly talented people who continue to spread their talents each and every day! Here is a little teaser:
So there you have it. The past year in a nutshell. Maybe now Donna and I will have a few weeks off - who knows! Either way, I'm proud and LUCKY to have worked on so many exciting films/series and I can't wait to see what comes next!