Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shuffling the Deck

Ah, growing pains.  I thought I was done with those.  As I've learned, we never stop growing...hence, growing pains.

AYU Films, as you may have noticed, has been rather quiet for the past seven months.  NOT how I would prefer things.  A lot of discussion and debate.  A lot of weighing options and having to make hard decisions.  As a result, priorities have been rearranged.

Wanting "Panchrest" to be the absolute best we can make it will require more manpower than we currently have and a budget much larger than we have access to.  It is not, I repeat NOT, going to be left ignored.  The gears are still turning, just slower.

(Ha...see what I did there.)

So instead, we are turning our eyes on less...ambitious projects.  Smaller budget, less involved projects.

The current apple of our eye is "Grace and the Mountain," based on a short story of the same name.  The largest hurtle with this one is location.  I have confidence, however, that this will be conquered. 

The story is based in the Depression Era, requiring little in the way of overly detailed costuming (thrift stores, hooray!), contains only four characters, one of which appears only very briefly at the end, and is set entirely in one location.  The location, as I said, is the biggest problem.  It is difficult these days to find houses (even old ones) that have not been tricked out with satellite dishes or have an abundant amount of wiring coming into the house.  Aspects of the story can be adapted to accommodate the house once it is found.  The original story has a very particular description for the house interior which, while I imagine IS possible to find, it isn't practical to hunt down.  Nor do we want to spend too much on securing said location.

The story itself centers around Jack Dempsey (no, not that Jack Dempsey) and a young girl named Tully.  Jack and his twitchy cohort, Howie come looking for Tully's father, Ossie.  The trio, it is hinted, engaged in some sort of robbery, likely a bank heist.  Jack and Howie are fresh from prison and want their money.  Only problem is, Ossie's dead and Tully is the only one home.  It is clear she knows why they've come, but she's smarter than the average girl and knows how to play her cards.  The money is the leverage for her life, if Jack can keep Howie under control long enough to find it.

The original story is written very much in the spirit and the tonality of Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.  More is told in the pauses, the silences and the subtle interactions than one will find in the actual dialogue.

An excerpt of the story (and my favorite moment):

"You're a good girl."


Jack looked at her sideways.  The sun highlighted her freckles and made the tips of her gold lashes look like tiny stars.

"Tulliola Grace Weaver. You ain't asked my name yet. It's Tully."   One pale gray eye peered at him as the other squinted from the sunlight.

Smart in all the wrong things.

Jack managed a smile, "its a fine name."  His throat felt heavy; a weight like boulders sitting right were he swallowed.

Quietly, Toby whined then stretched his maw wide before smacking his gums and repositioning his head onto his paws.  The girl- Tully- turned toward Toby and lovingly stroked the top of his head.  Anyone could see the dog was past his time, barely able to lift his brows to peer blindly at the sweet child he guarded; his purpose.

Long dormant things, poetic things, stirred in Jack as he watched her. A gossamer mesh of sun-spun gold illuminated upon the back of her neck, just beneath the little 'V' shaped tail of hair beneath her cap of curls.  A younger man would kiss her there, ignite fires that such a vernal miss would not yet- should not yet- know what to do with.  Just a single kiss, his strong hand pressed lightly to the small curve of her waist where he could feel the texture of her violet, flowered calico dress as it shifted slightly over the treasured silk of her slip. All that while he could smell the faintest scent of lavender and rose oil soap on her skin.

Ashamed, he dropped his eyes to the plate of sandwiches.  Lifting one, he handed it to her. Without question she took it and bit in savoring it more than any girl had ever savored a peanut butter and oleo sandwich.  Jack tried a bite, knowing his would be somewhat more bitter.

We are looking into raising a small budget, as I said, primarily to secure a good location, but also for the usual film sundries: equipment rentals, feeding the actors, misc props and costumes.  If you'd like to contribute, we won't turn you away.  I am currently researching groups like as an avenue for building capital.  If such a project works well for a tiny thing like this, then I am certain it will be an asset toward pushing "Panchrest" back onto the burners.  If you know about these programs and can offer advice or suggestions, please do!

Anyone in my local area who is also interested in participating, email me.  I have not yet begun casting, so there are four open roles:

Tully -  female, 15-20, petite, not emaciated, but certainly skinny, possibly malnourished, prefer blonde, but not required

Jack "Everest" Dempsey -  male, 45-60, must be VERY tall (at least 6'), broad shouldered

Howie Gray -  male, 25-35, lean, twitchy, has psoriasis so actor MUST be comfortable with make-ups and appliances

Carol Hoffer -  female, 25 or older, any type/appearance

All characters have NO RACE requirements.  The dynamics for this particular story, (in my opinion), do not change dependent on character's race.  The only reason Tully is listed as blonde is due to the original visuals of the story.  There is no reason this cannot be changed.  Since no character is related to another, anyone interested can contact me. 

Other opportunities:

Blues musicians with an interest in very earlier acoustic.  Think Robert Johnson, Pink Anderson, Floyd Council, Texas Alexander, etc.

Singers with a sound like Billie Holiday, Ida Cox, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace, etc.

Anyone interested in tech-work can also contact me.

Keep in mind, no budget has been determined yet, so any possible pay will have to be discussed and will be dependent upon acquired funds.

Okay AYU Films fans...let's keep our fingers crossed and surge once more into the breach, dear friends.

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