Nut Bucket Films

My short filmmaking BIO…Part 2

In Uncategorized on February 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm

me and my director, Rob Ciancimino

Part 2:  Get She Water

Over the next year we got together over a handful of times and shot some footage doing different types of shit and situations.  I kept editing it, cutting out the crap, and sending it to Dad.  I guess he kept writing.  He didn’t really tell me what he was doing or what his plan was but about six months later he sent us a script.  A screenplay that we were in.  One that could potentially pave our way as actors in this tough brutal world of Los Angeles and Hollywood.  We all got together and read it.  I thought it was the greatest thing on the planet, of course.  It was called Get She Water (GSW).

I heard a great way to get money for a film is to shoot a teaser or a trailer.  Coincidentally the film’s first eighteen pages all take place in Los Angeles and introduce all the main characters and sort of establishes their mission for the rest of the film.  So I decided to shoot the first section of the script for our little teaser.  I started from scratch.  We had a small budget.  I had about $5000 to play with of my own hard cash I had saved from booking a commercial or two.  So I was set to produce.  I think it was my first producing job.  The only thing I had produced so far were these little tapes I had been sending off to my dad, but hey, you gotta start somewhere.  Next I needed to hire a director.  At this point in the game I was going step by step with Dad.  I had a friend Rob, who was one of the extended characters in GSW and was not only a pretty good actor but one of my best pals.  I lied earlier because we actually included some other characters in developing the script outside of the original four.  I purposely left out that part of the story saving a bit of face because another character I had put on tape back then was a chick I was together with, seriously.  And of course that ended in a nightmare but that is another story in itself that I would not bore you with.  Actually, it is far from boring but not quite ready to be revealed to the world.  If you know me you probably know the story anyway.  So really there were more than four of us that were put on tape, but that doesn’t matter really in the overall scheme of things.  Except, don’t mix relationships with projects!  That was some major diarrhea of the mouth so I apologize.

Anyways, Dad liked Rob and they shared some dialogue and I liked Rob and trusted him, so Daddio and I picked him to direct the film.  So from that point on he was at all of the meetings to help pick the rest of the crew, mainly the Director of Photography (DP).  I needed a good DP that was able to shoot on the fly, pretty fast, good, and also in physical shape enough to follow a dude running down the street at full speed.  And cheap.  Dan Coplan was our choice, except he wasn’t cheap.  We interviewed about twenty different guys that answered our ad.  Dad and I watched footage of about thirty people who had submitted for the job even before we narrowed it down to the interviews.  Of course Dan “the man” was the most expensive, but we thought he was the best.  He won me over with a crazy diarrhea story about a trip to Mexico or back from Mexico, all I remember was diarrhea.  Speaking of diarrhea, Dan had his own sound person.

shooting at Air Conditioned Supper Club

I had a make-up and hair chick from my acting school who was awesome, Amy Rene.  Then I was wardrobe and catering and everything else.  Oh and let me give credit to Sara Woo who was so amazing in the last-minute-painting of a room at my house we were to use for a scene in the shoot.  We pulled an all-nighter in between shoot days to paint the f#$%er.  Sara and I worked at a bar together at the time, the Air Conditioned Supper Club, where we shot the main scene of the teaser.  We painted the room on day two of the shoot after working at the bar the night before.  Yup, I pulled an all-nighter, but I didn’t have to act the last day, I just had to produce, or monitor, and make sure everything went as planned.  I remember falling asleep while sitting-up on the last day of shooting.  I could hear Rob Smith acting in the other room and then suddenly sawing logs.

Lije Sarki, Rob Smith, and Kasey Buckley

Long story short, we shot the whole thing in three days.  Eighteen pages total and eleven were in the bar in one twelve-hour span.  That was rough.  Three pages per day is what is normal for a normal shoot.  But we weren’t normal.  We had a tight budget and time constraints and everything else that goes into making an Indie flick. But fact is, we got it done and now I needed to edit the thing.  iMovie wasn’t going to work for this so I put up another ad and went through the same process again to find an editor.  Except this time it was just Dad and I watching more demo reels.  I picked a chick to do it named Paula.  I think my dad had second guessed the decision but mistakes are what makes us better.  Paula was very sweet and nice in the beginning but we had our differences and that proved to be a major pain in the ass down the road.  But funny thing is, I still hired her months later to edit my acting reel.  We found out while editing that our sound sucked in a lot of it and that we couldn’t use most of the close-ups in the bar because the acting was not nearly as good as the acting in the master shots.

Garrett, Kasey, and Rob at the screening...such a great moment. ahhh

So in the end, rushing through all that bar scene and all those pages proved to come back to bite us in the ass.  AND SOUND IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS EVER!  Always have good sound.  You can watch something all day long that might not look perfect but could be acted well but as soon as the sound is f#$%ed you lose the audience.  My good friend Dave Hughes who was a DJ that I met at the bar I worked at told me one day he did post-sound.  Turns out he helped me on this project.  He did mini-wonders with the sound and between my father and I working directly with Paula to choose the “right” acting clips we got a little 23-minute teaser we were ready to show for some dough!  Would I show that same little teaser today?  HELL NO!  But back then, it was all I knew.  My first little project of many.  FYI, I have worked with Dave Hughes on every single one of my projects since and he is so dang talented and such a solid dude that he needs a “shout out”.  Thanks Dave.

the first batch of audience...

I found a little screening spot in Venice by my house and invited about a 100 people to come and check it out.  The place only sat about forty so I had to show it twice back-to-back.  I had some agents and managers and producers and casting directors show up.  Mostly I had friends come and support and the cast and crew.  I don’t know how I got so many people to come.  When I think about it today, it is quite impressive.  We were all pretty proud of the project.  It felt good that night.  It got some laughs and a lot of praise of nice work.  This happened in October of 2006.  What happened next was like a row of dominos collapsing.  This was a good thing.

Here is the trailer of the teaser for your enjoyment:

Thanks for keeping up,


the cast of Get She Water...Lije, Garrett, Kasey, and Rob

Next week is Part 3: Alphonso Bow


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