The writing of Zachary T. Bucholtz

Re-Mediating

The “re-mediating assignment” asked us to take  something we had written before and adapt it to a different medium.  I chose to shoot the script I wrote for the re-purposing assignment, Aftermath, and produce it as a documentary movie.

This project was a lot of fun, although very stressful.  Even before the final script was done, I had begun principal photography, reuniting 11 of the 13 main cast members from Casting Call, the play that the movie is based on.  This was the first movie I have ever independently directed or produced, and the longest movie I had ever worked on.  I was mostly making decisions on the fly, choosing locations and altering dialogue as I was shooting.  The actors were also very hard to get ahold of, and only one took the time to look over her lines ahead of time.

Because most of the work was done in the re-purposing assignment, most of this was just the actual shooting and editing.  Thankfully, I had the foresight to begin editing as soon as I started shooting.  I spent hours organizing and editing the footage between shoots, so by the time I was done shooting, most of the movie was made and only minor changes were required.

Feedback from my professor on the script suggested that the movie needed more context, which is why a good chunk of the movie is flashbacks to the “auditions.”  This was meant to make it so that anyone who had not seen “Casting Call” was able to enjoy “Aftermath.”

There is a lot I would do differently if I had more time.  I would have liked to compose a soundtrack, add in b-roll, and re-shoot some of the scenes, particularly the scenes where Molly Ringwald and Penelope Cruz give their interviews, because they are both shot against boring brick walls.

I am, however, quite proud of the editing of the movie, especially the “Baba O’ Riley Montage” that the opening credits begin over.  It was one of the first things I did in the making of this movie, and I think it introduces some drama right off the bat.  The dialogue that plays in the background is great, in my opinion.

A few notes on the movie:

-Robert De Niro was written out of the script as the actor portraying him was unavailable.  He is seen only in archived footage from the play, as is Will Ferrell.

-In the group shots, where 5-6 of the actors sit at a table, their lines are projected on a wall behind the camera.  You can see the script reflected in a window behind the actors, and they are often seen looking at the script.

-Also in that group scene, Penelope Cruz was written out as her actress was unavailable, and her lines are given to other characters.

-John Belushi wears a blue toga in the group scene because I forgot to bring the white one, and we came up with the “dress toga” line on the spot.

-A few bits of improvised dialogue are used over the credits montage in the beginning, in addition to a couple scenes during the movie that were improvised.

-Al Pacino has longer hair in the later scenes.  His scenes were shot more than a month apart.

-You can hear a baby crying at one point as Kristen Bell and Paul Rudd are talking in the diner.

-The dog that Judd Apatow is holding (an homage to The Godfather) is a Christmas gift given to me by my best friend, Mava, who said that since she was leaving to study abroad I should replace her with “man’s best friend.”  She requested I feature him in videos.

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