Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Altered: Last Take

Last night, The Altered Movie wrapped production in Gary, IN at the epic abandoned church near 6th and Adams.  This place is so dynamic that it works for everything.  During our extended time scouting, prepping, staging, filming here, we've watched countless individuals and groups come off the street to get a glimpse.  Everything from engagement-photo-wanting-couples to cross-dressing camera crews have been through these doors.  The light is amazing during the day and there is so much you can do with it.  Amongst the devastation that this building has endured over the last 30 years or so - fires, scrapers, natural hazards, etc. - it remains a beacon of artistic integrity in the community, bringing foot traffic to a city long left to dismay.

PhotobucketPhotobucketOur amazing art department deserves special props for this location in particular.  The church is pretty much a blank canvas and allowed for us to be creative in new ways.  Douglas Kupferman and his intern, Elizabeth Rawlings, transformed nothing into something under some serious time constraints.  They brought their own character to every room.  On top of set design, in the same department we have two awesome make-up ladies, Halli Vehrs and Deanna Bajorek, that deserve some acknowledgement.  They have had their work cut out for them in the last couple of days with bloody corpses and demon murderers to dress up.  Last night, they transformed a pretty stunt lady into an old maid (the stunt team was fantastic!). 

PhotobucketStay tuned for more behind the scenes action right here and keep up with our adventure on Facebook and Twitter! You can also see more behind the scenes photos at run by our very own Ace Harney.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Altered: Back to One



Yesterday, we were back at Police Athletic Gym (PALs) gym in the lovely Gary, IN, temporary home of the Altered crew. This historic location is a testament to its owner and operator John Taylor, epic boxing coach and fighter.


Taylor started a youth program to train young men and women in the community to use their aggression in a more positive light. His students are among several successful fighters including the WBC International Super Lightweight and NABC Lightweight Champion “Merciless” Mary McGee. Taylor opened his doors to the Altered cast and crew with outstretched arms and provided us with excellent young boxers, filling the scene with some great upcoming talent.


The PALs boxing gym almost closed a few years ago due to insufficient funding, but has risen again to be deemed "the comeback." It was thanks to generous donations from supporters that made sure the gym remained open for future generations. Taylor, himself, is an asset to the community and a genuine gem. Despite being 80 years old, he is actively present in the facility at all times, and shares a bond with his students based on respect and mutual hard work. The city of Gary, and the world of boxing, is lucky to keep company with this endearing man.Photobucket

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Altered Spotlight Shines on Jessica 'Imoto' Harney

PhotobucketBehind every good man, is a great woman.  This great woman is Jessica 'Imoto' Harney.  She is our fabulously amazing Assistant Director and the glue that holds us all together.  The spotlight really shines on her every day, but today especially.  She spent the last two nights holed up in a tent with Director Kely McClung and protector Mookie Harney in order to safe guard our props, still located at the epic abandoned church, merely feet away from her warm bed.  Why is this exceptional?  Well, it means that we didn't have to do a total break down every night, which means we got off set slightly earlier, which means we had more time for "team building," which means ummm..nothing I'm authorized to disclose.

PhotobucketImoto is a rockstar.  She goes full-speed until she crashes and then after a brief nap, gets right back up and takes off running.  There is nothing (most likely) that will stop her from pursuing her art, in fact the concept of "Carpe Diem" may have been created with her in mind.  She brought together an awesome crew to work on this film and it is sure to look great under her camera direction.


So here's to you Imotoson, the spotlight shines brightly in your direction (and is not limited to any single day, but every day).    

Check Imoto out at Captain Crazy Productions, Inc. and make sure to follow her on Twitter!

Behind the Scenes with Altered: Take IV

PhotobucketThis weekend cameras were still rolling on Altered.  Thursday night, we had a late call time.  Set was what used to be the atrium for a school auditorium in Gary, IN around the downtown area, now it's an abandoned half of a building slowly crumbling away (a result of arson, and unable to be rebuilt due to budget cuts.  I'm sure this was a gorgeous building at one time, complete with marble staircases and adorned in engravings).  Nonetheless, through the lens of a camera it still looks quite epic.  We had to light the site from scratch because a)it was night and b)abandoned building = no working light switch (in fact, I'm pretty sure someone stole the light switches that used to be there, a sad reality indeed).

 DP Dan Slemons and Key Grip Steven K. Greer deserve special acknowledgement for their early arrival to set to make this all happen.  Our director, Kely McClung stepped in for a close-up, and we had some great extras make their way to set just in time to be part of movie magic.

 Starlett, Amanda Dreschler got a little carried away (literally) and we all enjoyed some direction from Rob Pralgo (Vampire Diaries).  This is the first time we had a guest director on set, and it was nice to see a different angle behind the camera (but we still love you most, Kely).  

Saturday and Sunday we filmed in the abandoned Methodist church in Downtown, Gary.  This is an absolutely epic location.  Michael Bay shot here last summer for Transformers 3, and the latest Nightmare on Elm Street reboot as well.  The lighting is great and it really lends itself well to a variety of motifs.  Otherwise, it was a closed set ,which means details are under wraps (you'll have to see the movie for a glimpse at those intense scenes).  But I'll leave you with something to ponder, there was some heavy lifting involved. 

Stay tuned for more behind the scenes action right here and keep up with our adventure on Facebook and Twitter!  You can also see more behind the scenes photos at run by our very own Ace Harney.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Altered Crew: Breakdown

PhotobucketWe now take a break from our regularly scheduled  posts for an important movie service announcement.

At the end of the day, the worst kept secret is that audiences don't flock to see movies because of the people that made them.  The director will probably be acknowledged by some, maybe a producer or director of photography on larger projects, but the actors are really what gets people in the seats (or nowadays, to click "add to queue" on their Netflix or spend their hard earned dollar at Redbox). 

But this is why The Altered Movie crew is awesome, and why you should care:

**Side Note: I'll go in alphabetical order to not show any favoritism, so we'll start with Ace..

PhotobucketAce Harney (Best Boy): Ace runs the successful website  ("News. Art. Entertainment. Love. Exploring The World Created By Insanity..").  He is always looking to branch out and learn new things.  He has a very genuine personality and brings a sense of chillness to set, even during the most stressed days, he's exceptional at keeping his cool.  Ace shows his dedication time and time again, he even volunteered to be literally hit by a car for the sake of the movie, and his stunt looked amazing! He will be interviewing all the actors in the film for his website, so check them out.

Chris Sailor (Sound Engineer):  Chris is a graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta where he's majoring in production.  He's always willing to go the extra mile and pitch in, and he's just legitimately nice to be around.  His light-hearted nature makes him a joy to work with and he plays nice with others.  You can always count of him to cheer you up.  Plus, he's been bruised on set more than once, and never complains.

Dan Slemons (Director of Photography): Dan is dope.  Seriously, he is so incredibly knowledgeable in the field of production (and a magnitude of others).  He is well respected in his craft and in addition, builds most of his own equipment with his mad master welding skills.  Dan works full-time at a university in Atlanta in the audio visual department.

PhotobucketJonathan Owens (Assistant Camera): Jonathan owns and operates Chameleon Red Photography in Atlanta.  He does a lot of freelance event work and takes AMAZING photos.  His eye for the artistic in even the simplest of things makes his work brilliant, and his travels have brought him home with extraordinary photographic evidence of that.  Plus, he is incredibly funny and personable.  He formerly worked in the music industry managing a venue and has an extensive knowledge of music.  He's also an epic storyteller.

Steven K. Greer (Key Grip):  Steve has been in the business for a long time.  He has incredible insight and great stories from over the years.  Steve brings so much to the crew, including comic relief which is always appreciated on set.  He loves what he does and it shows in his work.  He can make anyone smile and is never afraid to laugh at himself (which is a particularly awesome quality).

PhotobucketCole Mellendorf (Production Assistant):  Cole is a former Columbia College student and still resides in Chicago. He's eager to learn and has shown everyone that he wants to be there.  He literally got off a train in Gary, IN and walked 4 blocks alone in the middle of the night, on the wrong side of the tracks, so he wouldn't be late for an early call time.

I'm really lucky to be part of this fantastimazing crew, and they may not be branded the official "talent" but are most certainly incredibly talented.  Keep watching as I spotlight, each and every one of them in upcoming blog posts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Altered: Take III

PhotobucketAnother epic day on the set of Altered.  We were shooting at the abandoned cement factory behind the lovely Majestic Star Casino in Gary, Indiana.  The smell of perspiration and micro-dust particles mixed with something that I can only assume is acid-based, creeping down the the concrete slabs holding up the large and surprisingly scary mixer bowls.  On the plus side, as a torrential downpour/tornado speed winds hit Northwest Indiana, we were in perhaps the most secure location in the area.

Our epic crew (Ace Harney, Steven K. Greer, Dan Slemons, Jonathan Owens, Chris Sailor, and P.A. Cole Daniel) set up an awesome set and made everything run smoothly.  These guys blow my mind with their talent.  Props also go out to Douglas Kupferman, our Art Director, and his assistant Elizabeth Rawlings, who are responsible for making everything look as epic as possible.  

PhotobucketAs always, Jessica 'Imoto' Harney made making movies look easy with her natural camera finesse.

**Side Note:  Missing crew member?  Yes, me, Lindsay Sperling.  I didn't think it was right to use words like "epic" and "awesome" when referring to myself..well not in the company of others at least.
Stan Harrington, Amanda Dreschler, and Chris Meister gave a profound performance in their make shift police lair that would make any director proud, like ours (Kely McClung).  Stan's cowboy boots added just a little extra to every take.

The highlight of the day was clearly when I got to leave, airport bound, to pick up our very own serial killer Rob Pralgo.*  But filming didn't stop for that unfortunately, so I missed the final scenes.  The hard working crew and cast had a late night ahead of them and wrapped sometime well after midnight.

**Side Note:  If you don't know who Rob is, you should google him.  He has done a tremendous amount of work in the industry and has probably been in something that you not only have seen, but really liked.  In addition, he is just a really great and talented guy.

For more information on The Altered Movie, follow us on our newly revived Twitter or on Facebook.

*I'm a huge Vampire Diaries fan!

The Altered Spotlight Shines on Kely McClung

The Altered Spotlight moves up the ranks today to showcase our fearless leader, Director Kely McClungBUT, because he is the director, AND, because I'm not yet convinced that he shares my particular brand of humor..I'll let this picture speak the 1000 words bubbling in my bouncy brunette brain.


**Side Note: Yesterday he was particularly complimentary of me..that's really why I chose him.  Flattery may get you almost anywhere..

**Another Side Note:  You can't mention Kely without praising his partner-in-crime, Jessica 'Imoto' Harney - one word: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

You can follow Kely on Twitter or stalk him on Facebook..your choice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Altered Spotlight Shines on Dan Slemons

There was no easy choice for today's Altered spotlight superstar (mostly because everyone that spent the day working on the skeleton crew has already been featured), so the honor goes to the always deserving and praiseworthy. Director of Photography Dan Slemons. 

Dan (and our beloved CSI investigator Chris Sailor) braved morning traffic to get to set in Chicago, only to find out that the park was closed due to an unexpected (early) set-up for the Taste of Chicago. But, no traffic, no location mishap, no rain could stop this dynamic picture/sound duo from persevering.  And, we do reward and appreciate effort, so both boys were given the opportunity to rest up this afternoon.

Dan inched above Chris in the race for spotlight sweetheart when he was the unlucky one to be awoken by the sound of the door chime, and me entering the crew house.  Chris unknowingly woke up just in time to be an active bystander in the cookie-making process. Cookies? Yes, cookies. After I arrived to the crew house fashionably late, Dan took it upon himself to put me to work, and I distracted him (after we ran all of the errands) with the idea of baking cookies (which turned out excellent in their ooey gooey goodness by the way). Dan selflessly endured errands in order to be a contributing member of the team while the remaining posse members Ace Harney, Steve Greer, and Jonathan Owens (yesterday's spotlight savant) set up the epic police lair location across town.

For more info on The Altered Movie, consult Facebook.

How To Tell If a Guy Likes You..

I did some googling this afternoon on a subject that has perked my interest lately, "How to tell if a guy likes you."  Now, there once was a time when it was blatantly obvious whether he did, but that was back in the second grade when he would hit you on the playground and run away.  As an adult it can be a painfully disappointing effort to discern like from LIKE and lust from Love.  And frankly, after a longer than average stint outside to world of male interaction, it has recently come to my attention that my coveted seventh sense, the one that combines a plethora of the original six and tells the brain 'Oh. Girl. He is so into you," might be broken.

My research has concluded that either I am broken, or he's just into that into me, or maybe a combination of the two.  

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Altered Spotlight Shines on Jonathan Owens

PhotobucketToday's Altered Spotlight darling of the day comes straight from set.  Jonathan Owens put down his reins as photo god-in-training to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a used-sports-car-stunt-driver (well probably).  Jonathan was forced to fight with his inner-hypochondriac demon when the real stunt man (that he hit with his ferociously kitty-cat like Firebird) smashed the windshield in front of his face. Yes, that's right in front of his face folks, he is truly stunt-tastic.  Jonathan remained unscathed but unfortunately the yellow beauty of a car ( it's day I'm sure) wasn't that lucky and will be heading to that bright light in the sky this very afternoon.  (And by that bright light, I mean the bright light that the junk yard had installed, I can't be sure, but most likely, probably to showcase their awesome array of non-functioning semi-trashed automobile-like selection.)

**Side Note:  Jonathan wasn't the only crew member turned stunter this afternoon. O no.  Ace Harney let us hit him with the same car. End Side Note.

Earlier that day, if you were in the right place at the right time (which you probably weren't), you could see Jonathan showing off his climbing skills.  He transcended a tower of scaffolding high above a high school parking lot with a cat-like ease.  When he reached the top he courageously posed for not one, but TWO band pics with fellow rock n' roll aficionados Dan Slemons, Steven K. Greer, and Chris Sailor.  If I had to give this band a name, my first choice is 'The Monikers', but '4 Monkey's' also seems appropriate.


It's Jonathan's spunky personality that really puts him ahead of the crowd.  This southern gem brings a light hearted, but dedicated mojo to set.  This is also why if there was an official ranking for men, he would score exceptionally high.


Check out Jonathan's photography conveniently located at Chameleon Red Photography, he truly has a brilliant eye that is evident in all of his work.  Make sure to visit his blog while you're there for excellent stories of the events he has covered.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Altered Spotlight Shines on Steve Greer

Tonight we shine a spotlight on a very special member of the Altered crew, a young fellow by the name of Steven K. Greer (key grip).  And when I say young, I use that term loosely to describe his personality and not in fact his age.  But hey ::shrugs and cocks head to the right:: age is only a number, right?

Steve showed his chutzpa this week by taking one for the team and walking into a nail hidden delicately among the building code violation that passes for a ceiling, of an abandoned church in Gary, Indiana.  It is his bravery in locating aforementioned nail with his own head that saved the other members of the crew from meeting a similar fate.  Therefore, Steve is the first member of the Altered crew to be featured on his very own spotlight post.

Side Note: Let's not forget the equally selfless contribution of Chris Sailor and his ass sculpting suit of non-stretch polyblend [see: Behind the Scenes of Altered: Take II], please take a moment to reflect ::pause::

PhotobucketOn the plus side, Steve maintained his good humor throughout the day.  Take this photo of him at Home Depot later that afternoon as proof.

PhotobucketFurthermore, this brave little soldier endured the agony of a tetanus (or "tit-i-nus" as unanimously voted on by the Altered crew under the digression of Jonathan Owens) with only the company of Jonathan Owens.  Luckily for Steve, this sorrow turned to sunshine when the "doctor" (and I use that word loosely as well because I'm pretty sure it was a nurse practitioner..) rewarded him with his very own keepsake Dora sticker or more appropriately consoling "memorabilia".

*There was no way for anyone involved in production to be aware of this wayward nail.  It was purely coincidence that Steve came across this unsecured risk.  The location is constantly the victim of scrappers and other camera crews that may or may not remove/move items with little regard for those that visit the site after which.   Even though every precaution is taken to ensure the safety of all crew members, it is always possible for an accident to occur.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes of Altered: Take II

Thursday was an epic day on the set of The Altered Movie.  The crew arrived bright and early on the streets of Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, shooting mostly under the EL-Blue Line stop, on the corner of Damon and North Ave.

**side note: I can't take any responsibility for the bright and early part, for I was somewhere else equally bright and early molding the minds of America. I arrived fashionably late on the flip side around dusk.

We had some great actors and extras who spent their day and night shooting scenes, even a dedicated 14 year-old who I'm sure was up long past his bedtime.  Scenes included an awesome fight sequence and the  dialogue leading up to it; we also erected a crime scene complete with flashing lights and caution tape that most of the crew made appearances on-camera during (look for my 11.2 second role as a bystander/gawker).

The highlight of the crime scene would definitely have to be the cameo made by our esteemed audio engineer himself, Chris Sailor, who donned a ultra-tailored (for someone else) CSI wardrobe.  I have to mention that he rocked that male cat suit like no one else could have, and having to get down on my knees in that dirty alley way to tie his shoes was a small price to pay for that everlasting memory.

In a team effort, Best Boy, Ace Harney, and Key Grip, Steven K. Greer took the time to teach me the important art of slating (which goes something like "Scene 39Camaro, Take 1, mark").  It is actually much more nerve racking then one might expect.   

Filming wrapped just before 1 a.m. To perk up the crew at this late hour, we enjoyed some tacos from the walk-up only joint around the corner from set.   Team building is quickly becoming some of my favorite set moments.  Due to their refusal to make me a chicken taco, I was forced to try a fish was tangy and zesty at the same time.  Good work Mexican Taco Stand, Good work.      


Check out behind the scenes photos from Day 1 at Doobious, and while you're being ambitious, log onto facebook and check the movie out The Altered Movie OR follow the journey on Twitter @alteredmovie!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Matter of Perception: On the set with "Altered"

Yesterday, was my first day on set of Altered: The Movie directed by Kely McClung and produced by Imoto Harney.  Altered is a vision penned by McClung himself, starring Rob Pralgo ("Vampire Diaries"), Stan Harrington, and Amanda Dreschler; McClung also plays a lead role.

This is my first attempt at production assistantshipping and I think it's too early to tell if it's a success or flop on my part.  Most of the time, honestly, I just felt like a was kind of in the way and desperately tried to stay out of the shot (hopefully that works itself out). BUT, I am having a ball being part of the process.

On the plus side, independent films are a great way to get some perspective on the industry.  And, selfishly enough, I'm hoping that this behind-the-scenes peek will give my writing a bit more pizazz.  Before cameras rolled and the hectic got crazy, I had the chance to sit down and interview Imoto and Kely for a project of my own. It was great to hear a little bit of their back stories.  I think they're going to translate into print just perfectly.

Side note: the crew is all entirely, awesomely fun and talented. I'm really looking forward to spending more time with them all and soaking up the experience!         

Monday, June 13, 2011

Teen Wolf (S1:E3) Recap with a Side of Opinion

Tonight the third episode of MTV's newborn-hit, Teen Wolf, aired at its regular time: Monday nights at 8pm (e.s.t.).  I don't know about you, but I wasn't old enough to appreciate the original (I'm talking about the Michael J. Fox one, in case you haven't googled it), but I am definitely a repeat customer of the new one. 

In case you haven't tuned in yet, here's the breakdown.  The lead, hottie Tyler Posey, plays a newly-bitten werewolf, Scott. Scott is taken by Allison.  Allison is the daughter of a werewolf hunter.  Scott lives with his mom.  His best bud, Stiles, plays the role of overenthusiastic but always means well guy.  And, there's a lacrosse capt that seems to have it out for him (even before he stole his star power).

This episode starts predictably with a dream of Scott and Allison getting hot and heavy on a school bus until Scott goes all wolfy and attacks.  We find out after the commercial break that the dream in fact took place, but with a different victim.  Scott spends a good few minutes getting all grry before he runs, literally, into Allison.  After realizing that he didn't hurt to girl that he is quickly falling head over heals for (and after classes), he heads over to visit his wolf-mentor-to-be/supernatural nemesis Derrick's for help.

The relationship between Derrick and Scott is what interests me most.  Scott is an only child (unless one's hiding out at dad's) and Derrick seems set to take over the role of pseudo big brother.  Their love-hate connection will surely continue to be hot and cold, and I couldn't be more thrilled.  They kind of have that Stephan/Damon (Vampire Diaries) chemistry going on. 

Anyway, Scott decides he's not an immediate threat to his lady love and goes on a group date (not by choice) with Capt. Lacrosse jeering all the way.  After the rocky start, it ends up on Allison's porch where they cement with excessive lip locking their promise for more dates sans the group. 

Meanwhile, Allison's dad proves to be extra broody and a non-crowd favorite as he goes after Derrick with some low blows and continues to give Scott some ultra unflattering semi-evil looks.

Scott and Derrick close out the evening blow for blow before coming to a truce. 

The ending was a little too goosebumps-are-you-afraid-of-the-dark for me, but all in all a solid B. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

MTV's Twi-Opoly

Why should the MTV Movie Awards be renamed the MTV 'Twilight' Awards (for at least the next two shows)?

Well, I'll tell you.

1.  Self-Esteem. Over the last 3 years, the cast of Twilight (and the movie itself) has won the majority of the awards.  No matter how many tweets a minute #teampotter gets in there, Twilight by far dominates the show.  Most categories seem to be a lock for the Twi-hotties and by allowing other actors to compete in these categories almost seems like a jab at their confidence levels (the losers, that is) - like when anyone is up against Meryl Streep, it's just a lost cause. 

2.  Time.  It would save us all a lot of time if they would just announce the awards that are won outside the franchise.  As much as I personally vote for and support the Twilight cast, their acceptance speeches border on pathetic with a twinge of straight-up awkwardness.  This would free up most of the show for exclusive Twilight clips (which would be much appreciated on next years show) and even performances from the cast, since most of them seem to be musically inclined.  We could have Robert Pattinson serenade us with 'Bella's Lullaby" and Jackson Rathbone rock out with his band '100 Monkey's.' It could be like a talent show, and we could vote on the Best Twi-Talent instead of Best Movie as the crown jewel of the evening.  I think it has possibilities.

3.  Built-in Hosts.  If the theme of the night was 'Twilight,' producers wouldn't have to look too hard to find hosts.  It could be a team effort, cementing the bond between Team Edward and Team Jacob fanatics everywhere (plus I see a huge ratings boost in this for MTV).  They could even throw in a little Team Switzerland to meld things together.  Both Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner proved that they can at least pretend, I mean act, like they're funny in the awards show promo clips over the last two years.  If the writers left out the "adlib" portions of the script, I bet these two would make a great team.  At the very least, RPatz could mask his failures by dropping the F-Bomb here and there, distracting the audience and pissing off parents - just like MTV did in its early days (you know, when they played music) - and Taylor could take off his shirt whenever he thought he was losing the audiences interest, the drowning sound of drones would detract from any massive mishap.           

So there you have it, and here's hoping that logic prevails.