Monday, June 30, 2008

Behind the Scenes of SHELTER

Today, I'm opening up my private collection of Behind the Scenes stuff from SHELTER.

If you've been living under a rock, I produced a little gay film last year called SHELTER. It just came out on dvd, and here's select clips from the "making of video" that is included in the special features (to see the whole thing, check out the dvd).

If you don't have your copy of SHELTER yet, the BUY button is to your left. You can also rent it at Blockbuster and put it on your netflix cue - but be forwarned, there is currently a one month waitlist for it. We got a B+ from Entertainment Weekly and OUT called it "an instant classic".


The video includes interviews with stars Brad Rowe, Trevor Wright, Tina Holmes, writer/director Jonah Markowitz and myself with set video shot during our 18 day shoot on the beaches of Southern California.




And here are our photos from the set.




FINDING AND SELLING THE SCRIPT

I found this script - which was honestly, really good - after Paul Colichman from the here! network contacted me about producing a film for him. Paul wanted to delve into the "film festival independent" rhelm of indie gay film making, and liked my track record. I had another script I wanted to make called ON THE LOW, but here! had just bought The DL Chronicles which had a similar subject matter (but totally different!), so that went out the window.

I had been friends with Jonah through Anne Clements (producer, Quincenera) for years, and I heard through the grapevine that although SHELTER did NOT win the Outfest Screenwriting Lab (a competition each year for lgbt scripts) people kept saying kind things about it. I called him up, he gave it to me and the minute I read it it was a done deal in my book.

It took some slight convincing to sell the project (It was a very ambitious project with an unproven director, plus the development department pitched their own choices for a film I would produce - which were similar to the other films they usually do - see In Her Line of Fire, Trapped and Murder.Com).

Paul got 100% behind it and we set out to shoot it in December - a cold month for the beach, but as Jonah always said, a good month for waves. The film was shot in a record 18 days on super 16mm film with the help of some incredibly talented and dedicated people including the production design department of Denise Hudson, Gabor Norman and Michael Fitzgerald, our editor Michael Hofacre and our director of photography Joe White. We also tapped the talents of an a list surf DP, David Warshauer, who shot all the surfing footage.

CASTING

Trevor was our first and only choice for ZACH, but Jonah had selected another actor to play SHAUN.

That actor got cold feet about playing gay a few days before our shoot began, so Anne Clements suggested Brad Rowe - a friend of her's - and she did a personal ask to him. Rowe - like the others that came on board - loved the script and agreed to do it. He learned the entire script in two days.


We also had a hard time casting the tough role of Zach's sister, Jeannie. All the women who auditioned played it too one-note or stereotypical. It is a very white trash, fucked up role, but we didn't want it to be cliched.

Our casting director, Jason Wood did a personal ask to Tina Holmes who was in Six Feet Under and Half Nelson. We knew the work of Tina and Brad, and both were cast without auditions.




Once on set, I found it interesting that both Brad and Tina's first films were gay - Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss and Edge of Seventeen (by Todd Stephens director of Another Gay Movie).

3 pithy remarks. Click here to Comment:

Trevor fan said...

Hi J.D.,firstly I wanna thanks for your job,because of 『Shelter』.I really love this movie,and the movie also bring me so much different kinds of emotions.I could not express my feeling by words,The only thing I could do is that to say thanks to all of your staffs,Thanks for your job again.And I have a question about Trevor,I'm a huge fan of Trevor,but there's no clue about his age,as far as I know there are lots of people also concerned about this issue.Could you please reply me?If this is Trevor's little secret,I can understand.Thanks a lot.

Shelter said...

Hi J.D.,firstly I wanna thanks for your job,because of 『Shelter』.I really love this movie,and the movie also bring me so much different kinds of emotions.I could not express my feeling by words,
The only thing I could do is that to say thanks to all of your staffs,Thanks for your job again.And I have a question about Trevor,I'm a huge fan of Trevor,but but there's no clue about his age
,as far as I know there are lots of people also concerned about this issue.Could you please reply me?If this is trevor's little secret,I can understand.Thanks a lot.

Scott said...

Hey JD. i don't know if you even ready this, but if you do i want you to know that i just watched shelter. i'm 24 my parents moved me from cali to ohio when i was a teen. and i moved back after college, but decided to make another stint in ohio for grad school, but despirately want to get back in the ocean with my board. i was surfing the web the other day. and found the trailer for shelter. and immediately i was drawn to the movie. i feel like zach's character. starting to realize who i am and what my heart is shouting that it wants. i've always felt like i might be gay. but the only gay people you see in the mid-west or hear about on the media are the effeminate ones who like interior decorating and stuff like that (sorry for the bad stereotype) so i've never really felt like i fit with the gay culture. but shelter showed me something. that i don't have to fit in with any culture. i just have to be myself. but at the same time i'm scared to be myself, because i'm scared that i'll lose my family. they're all really religious. and i'll admit that i believe in Jesus too, in my family's eyes i'm already shady because they know i'm a liberal. i want to be comfortable with who i am around everyone i know, and just try to be me, and figure out what that even means. but i'm scared of what my mom n dad would say. i feel like i'm rambling too much. but the movie has helped me start to figure some things out about who i am. and it means a lot to me. so thanks. any idea why life has to be so confusing? cuz if you have an answer for that my ears are open to ya. lol.

sorry for writing a book just to say thank you for making a movie that made a world of difference to me.