On the Set of ‘I Feel Fine’

A couple weeks ago, Emily Hay, a senior in MAD, asked me to be assistant director for her and Claire Rossi’s entry for the 10-10-10 Screenwriting and Filmmaking Competition. 10-10-10 is a competition in the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It’s a contest for high school and college filmmakers and screenwriters. It’s called 10-10-10 because only 10 days are allotted for filming and editing, 10 crews are in the contest (a screenwriter and a filmmaker), and 10 films are shown on on the last day of the Film Festival. The screenwriter and filmmaker are paired by the Festival, but after that, groups can have as many crew members, actors, and as much equipment as they can get. This year, Claire Rossi wrote a script called “I Fine”. It’s about a high school girl named Jane and her last 24 hours before an asteroid brings the end of the world.

I’ve known Claire since I was in kindergarten, and her sister and mine are good friends today. Claire is an amazing writer and it was a privilege to help bring such a powerful story to screen. Emily is a great filmmaker as well. I met her last year at Granada Video Workshop. At Granada, she taught me a lot about film making, and on this film I learned a lot more and it was super fun working with her. Our director of photography, Hannah Scribner (also a senior in MAD), was a critical part of the process. She brought a Ronin steadicam mount from Dos Pueblos, and she was the only one who knew how to use it (until MAD Academy’s very own Samsun Keithly showed up). Hannah was the primary camera person unless we needed a shot from high off the ground (which is when I would step in). She was crucial in making this movie look its best, and I think it looks amazing.

We filmed on three separate days and at three different locations. The first day was the party scene. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a set by far. Since it’s the end of the world, Jane’s friend, Daisy, convinces her to throw an “End of The World” party. Hopefully you’ll see the movie (it’s free), but I want to tell you a little about the behind the scenes. I got to the location at 2:00, and set up for about 2 hours with Claire, Emily, and Hannah. Here’s some pics of Claire and Emily.

IMG_6144.jpgIMG_6145.jpgWe had three actors, about 25 extras, and five crew members crammed into a 15 x 10 ft space. It was crowded and crazy, and all of our actors had great enthusiasm, to the point where I believed some extras thought this was an actual party. Here’s a photo of Jessica, who played jane.IMG_6197.jpg

And here’s Zac, he played a d-bag at the party named Elton

IMG_6194.jpg

We finally finished on the set at midnight. I was tired and ready to sleep in till 1 in the afternoon on Saturday, but I had to be up and ready for my 8:00 call time the next day.

New day, new house. Turns out we were filming at the house of the nurse who was in the room where I was born, and she goes to the same dance class as my mom. Today we would be filming the middle scenes and emotional final scene of the movie. We only had two actors this time, Jessica Castello (Jane) and Lana Lilienstein (Jane’s sister, Nova). Saturday was the longest day of filming, from 8:00 am till 10:30 pm. After we were finished, I got a ride from Claire to my grandmother’s house. I got there, said hi, ate a pizza, and went to bed at 11, eager to recharge for the next long day of filming.

Sunday we filmed at Claire’s house. I’ve known the Rossi’s since I was little, it was fun spending the day at their house. We filmed the opening scenes with Jessica and with Sheena Estella (Daisy). Again, you should go see the movie for yourself, but I can tell you that there are plenty of nods to Clueless and other 90’s movies. Keep an eye out for the easter eggs in the first scenes. Sunday we filmed from 9 am till 10 pm. Samsun popped in to help on Sunday, here’s a pic of him.IMG_6162.jpg

We also made the collage for the cover photo and shot the picture for the cover photo. I went home satisfied and excited to see the final product, but I was sad that my time working on such an amazing set was over.

This film was definitely the highest production value project I have worked on. It was a lot of fun working with other people who are as passionate about film making as I am, and helping to direct extremely talented actors that actually have IMDb pages. I’m very excited for myself and for everyone to see the final product, along with the nine other films in the contest. All 10 films are playing at the Arlington Theater on Saturday, February 11 at 2:00 pm.  You should come! It’s free for everyone. I’m grateful to have had this experience, and I look forward to the next time I get the opportunity to work on something like this again.

You can view “I Feel Fine” here:

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