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It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 5 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 5 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 4 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 4 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 3 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 3 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 2 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Episode 3, Chapter 2 - Couples Against Crisis
It's All True - Spit Shine
It's All True - Spit Shine

Episode 1, Chapter 3 – The Coldest Day of Shooting in Film History

Holy smokes! Sorry to be tardy to the party with this last post, but between all the shooting we did  the weekend of the 19th, George’s birthday celebration that took a little while to shake off, Cathy busy battling through tech week of  “The Skin Of Our Teeth” out at Folsom Lake College,  Keith also in the same locale  building sets for El Dorado Musical Theatre’s next show, “Anything Goes”, and me taking a little time to work on my “Hogan’s Heroes” musical (I just finished the dream ballet segment between Hogan & Col. Klink and, not to boast, but the words “stirring” and “masterwork” come to mind)  I had to take a week to recuperate from it all.  But nonetheless, I’m overdue to write about how tough this segment was to shoot and  what troopers everyone was who helped out that day. So here goes:

The location of this entire chapter is a magical land known as Foodlink.  Foodlink is located in the old Army Depot here in Sacramento .  What’s really great about Foodlink isn’t really just its fantastic cold war-era army base feel. It’s more what owner John Healey has made out of the space. Foodlink is one of the largest distributors of food to the hungry  in the entire state of California! Allowing us to sneak in during their off hours with all our fake blood and liquid latex in spite of all the important work they are trying to accomplish is a testament to what an amazing and generous individual Mr. Healey is. So,  from the bottom of our hearts here at Idiots Avant! Productions I would like to extend a hearty Thank You! and much respect to John and Mike Healey and to the entire staff of Foodlink for all you do for the less fortunate of California and to our silly little web show. There are multiple scenes in various episodes that are richer for your help. We can’t wait until the next time we’re allowed the pleasure of shooting at the facility.

Okay, moving on: The original plan was to shoot all this secret lab/zombie business in early October. The weather would still be balmy and daylight savings would not have hit yet giving us plenty of hours of sunshine to shoot in. However, scheduling conflicts pushed the shoot out until December 8th, which turned out to be one of the coldest days of the year. I believe the high that day was 38 degrees.  The footage you are about view was shot at two different times in a couple different locations. The original Dec. 8th shoot which was a two day affair, and there are several pick up shots from six months later (when it was nice and toasty) from Foodlink and from the Cannery featured in Ep. #2 cut in. Keith did a tremendous job matching all the footage up.

We used three main locations to shoot in at Foodlink, a expansive section of warehouse, an employee parking lot, and an administrative building which at one time had housed the NORAD command center when the Army had owned the premises.  I remember the NORAD building well because it has these elevated floors that really bounce sound.  It sounds like Tamas (Dr. Vladitch) has half the Russian army with him as he marches Will through the tour at Biolation Industries.

The other thing I remember well about the NORAD building was that it was the only place we had access to that had heat. This was tough because due the size of our cast and crew most of our activity was centered around the frigid warehouse. This was an arduous, freezing 12 hour shoot that Saturday. The fact that we even got anyone to come out in the icy morning hours on a weekend, let alone allowing us to smear them with fake blood and zombie make up (which for those who don’t know is kind of like a latex version of paper mache) still amazes me. We are forever in the debt of those brave souls and good friends that came to help us that day. Cast and crew are all heroes in my book. The zombie crew, which Keith affectionately dubbed the 35 degree players were superstars though. Tromping around a cold warehouse in frigid rubber and a hospital gown for the sake of someone’s art is truly something to be admired or perhaps pitied depending how you look at it. For those of you viewing the clips make sure to take a moment and watch the credits at the end of chapter 4 and take note of these brave souls and maniacs. Without their contributions none of this would have turned out so cool.

Episode 1, Chapter 2 – Electric Boogaloo

Wow, where to begin on this one? Let’s start with two words: DARYL PETRIG. Daryl is a veteran community theater actor, who in my my opinion should have been famous a long time ago. The opening gag of this chapter shows Daryl wandering around a government complex for a full minute and fourteen seconds. Long for a gag, but even longer in real life. By the time we finished making Daryl stomp around that facility he must have hustled through at least 5 miles of tunnels, corridors and stairs. He never complained once, or broke a sweat. What a pro! Me, on the other hand, I was panting like a water buffalo in heat halfway through the shoot.

This is also our first glimpse of the mysterious antagonists “The council”. Which, is comprised of a motley crew of friends and colleagues from community theater. Greg Collet (General Powers). Tim Sapunor (as the depraved alcoholic Congressman Simon who is featured in Ep #2), and John Crabtree (Throckmor) have all worked with either with George or I at local theaters here in Sacramento at one time or another. Rumor is Crabtree is actually somewhere in his mid 60′s and was expelled from an Inuit community outside Anchorage in the late 70′s for crimes unknown.

Rounding out the council is our beloved Whitney Deatherage and her crystal skull “Geoffrey”, The Cardinal, Jeremy Bennett who not only has acted for us, but donated many sets and created a ton of wonderful music for the show as well. International explorer Todd “Teo” Simmons was the  prototype for Prof. Higglesworth, Trey White of Chateau fame dons my personal sunglasses to play Director Pearce and last but not least is Dave Kesloff, man-child extraordinaire as Shriner Bill. A lot of people don’t know this, but Shriner Bill is really the heart of the whole show.

The Chairman is an entirely different matter altogether. If you look closely at the mask you can see the Chairman’s ventilators are actually comprised of two birth control pill cases painted metallic silver. It’s another brilliant Keith Richardson creation without whom we wouldn’t have half the cool shit we have on this show like guns or shards or, well…a lot of neat stuff. The Chairman himself was played this time by old friend James McKellips and voiced by our star George Schau just slowed down a bit. George however has been wearing the mask himself ever since Episode #2

Lastly, there’s Gwen played  by Dana Strickland,  another old friend who’s been helping us out. Will’s apartment for this scene was actually George and Cathy’s old place with the wobbly back stairs and crappy landlord. This scene went quite swimmingly as opposed to when we dragged Dana out to a street corner by the jail and railroad tracks with alarms going off to do her first scene with George. Sound was a nightmare that day, full of inmates screaming, freight trains passing and the constant beep ..beep..beep of the crosswalk for the blind. We learned a lesson in location scouting that day. But, George & Cathy’s place was great that night, no screaming prisoners or freight trains and cold beer in the fridge. Who could ask for more?

Time to start acting like the Big Boys

So I realize it’s been 5 months since I’ve actually posted anything here to the blog. But hopefully if you are one of the dozens of people who’ve visited the site the clips we’ve been posting are keeping you entertained. Which brings me to my point:

As of last Monday we are officially halfway through the first season of “It’s All True”, and just like the big broadcast and cable guys do we are going to be airing re-runs for a little while. But despair not! This is your chance to catch Will & co. from the very beginning. For those of you who joined us halfway through and were thoroughly confused, this will hopefully help. And as a bonus, I’ll be checking in weekly with each chapter of each episode providing behind-the-scenes stories, anecdotes and information about who we are and how this whole crazy project got started in the first place.

Back in early 2008 George,  Cathy & I were looking for an outlet for our creative juices to flow into. Originally we had planned to stage live versions of Twilight Zone episodes.  It was something that had been done in Seattle & Los Angeles and we thought it would work well here in Sacramento also. But alas, we couldn’t get anyone at CBS to return our calls and emails so went another route instead. I had this concept for a comedy/sci-fi show floating around in my head for awhile so I wrote the pilot and off we went.

After spending a little time polishing the script we recruited Keith to come aboard and help with the technical aspects, shooting and editing. Little did we know at that time what a valued writer Keith would become for the show as well.  So with the team fully formed, we set out to shoot.  What you see in the first chapter was shot over roughly five months in a variety of different locations around Sacramento.  Our cast is made up of old friends and acquaintances who volunteered their time and talent to help. There are so many stories I could tell about these first 6 minutes you are about see. How Chuck Hansen (our secret weapon) composed the wonderful music  in the opening scene.  Mike Healey, who plays Leslie, creeping everybody out with his inspired performance. Our lovely ladies at the strip club testing George’s and Chris’ resolve and concentration during the lap dance scene.  The first few shots of Biolation Industries and what turned out to be the coldest day of shooting in film history. But I’ve rambled on enough, those will have to wait until we do a commentary. Enjoy!

Episode 3, Chapter 5 – Couples Against Crisis

Episode 3 was made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Municipal Arts Council

Episode 3, Chapter 4 – Couples Against Crisis

Episode 3 was made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Municipal Arts Council

Episode 3, Chapter 3 – Couples Against Crisis

Episode 3 was made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Municipal Arts Council

Episode 3, Chapter 2 – Couples Against Crisis

Episode 3 was made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Municipal Arts Council

Spit Shine

As some of you may know, we had a tiny crisis last week in which we nearly lost all our footage to date.  Fortunately, it was almost all recovered!  But while the house elves continue to reconstruct some of the missing bits, we bring you…..this.

Stay tuned later this week for the second chapter of Episode 3 – Couples Against Crisis!

Episode 3, Chapter 1 – Couples Against Crisis

Episode 3 was made possible in part by a grant from the Sacramento Municipal Arts Council

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