Set Diary - Tympanic's First Movie
DVD Extra: The Making of Tympanic’s Summer Blockbuster
“How we spent our summer vacation”
By Ted Brengle
A few months ago, filmmaker and official friend of the company, Aaron Pagel, broached the idea of a grand collaboration. He would provide the technical equipment and expertise, Tympanic would provide the story, actors, and any necessary funny hats, and together we would make a movie. WHAT ASTOUNDING WONDERS COULD BE BORN FROM SUCH A THING?
Yes, while everyone else spends the summer goofing off and drinking Slurpees, Tympanic continues to work (HARD!) to bring you Art. Why? Because Art doesn’t have an off-season! Also, I think a tax exemption may be involved somehow. But mostly, you know, Art.
So, the call went out far and wide to find a screenwriter and eventually this holy office fell to me, partially because no one else wanted to do it, but mostly because of my desire to become a landed baron of Tympanic’s tertiary media enterprises.
I’ve also written for Tympanic’s podcast series, The Bull Crow Project. My episode is entitled, “Best Show Ever” and will be coming soon to a media player near you. ...Have I mentioned Tympanic’s podcast, the Bull Crow Project? Legend suggests that the premier episode, “A Bad Idea” by Wren Graves, can be found HERE. You could go and listen to it right now if you wanted. I will wait here and hum until you come back. No, no trouble at all. Why not just open it in another tab?
In response to the challenge of writing Tympanic’s very first movie, I devised a rollicking, epic tale with a cast of thousands that was a mere 30 pages over the agreed-upon limit of ten. After being given what, in animal training circles, is termed “a slight correction” by the producers, I took another whack at it and came up with, well, this…
That’s the director’s actual production script from the first night of shooting.
Ten pages. Two characters. Some exteriors (both day and night) and interiors. Shooting was scheduled for one whirlwind weekend: Friday and Saturday evening and all day Sunday.
On the first day, cast and crew assembled in a quiet corner of Lincoln Square to shoot a dialog-intensive scene. Seen here: co-star Chris Waldron gets into character while Aaron directs some boom action. Associate Producer/Assistant Director/Clapboard Monkey Paul E Martinez looks on.
Except it really wasn’t all that quiet, providing exciting challenges for Brian Berman on sound. NOT SHOWN: Dozens of rampaging children.
Prop and costume supervisor Chrissy McGonagle helps test some levels…
…before swinging into action! Co-star Brenda Scott Wlazlo must be hydrated! It’s in her rider. It’s props! And craft services!
A Brenda’s Eye View of the proceedings as the set-up continues.
With bicycle high jinks happening juuuuust out of frame, we get our very first shot.
A tense moment between the lead characters.
It probably doesn’t look it, but here we are locking in the master plate for the film’s MAJOR SPECIAL EFFECTS SHOT. Whoa!
Only the fluid freedom of a shoulder-mounted camera can truly capture the excitement of Chris’ character checking his watch.
Dramatic lighting, clapboard, pencil behind the ear: This is clearly some serious film-making right here.
After a triumphant first day of shooting, we head inside Aaron’s apartment for some moody interiors.
Meanwhile, vital props are handcrafted by talented artisans Paul E Martinez and Holly McCauley.
Sunday, the third and last day of the shoot, was going to be the longest and most intense. After two very productive days, however, we felt very confident that we would get everything done. We were looking forward to filming all sorts of varied action, including some pivotal summer’s day exterior footage that…
SON OF A BITCH!
Or, we could just shoot the last few interiors and do pick-ups in a month. That’ll be… great.
Good lord, there’s kissing in this. Also, that pizza is officially a prop, so it is made of cardboard. True story.
Don’t worry, the Fire Marshall was on stand-by during this pyrotechnic gag: I had two bottles of water ready to pour if things got dangerous.
So, what’s this all about, then? Well, the film is called “All The Pleasures Prove” and a lot of talented people worked on it in every capacity you can imagine. It deals with the perverse kind of hope that can often grow out of regret if people would simply let it, and it is all wrapped up in a gentle fantasy conceit.
The brief from the beginning was to make something that represents the Tympanic aesthetic and signature flavor, which can roughly be boiled down to weird, yet poignant.
Did we achieve it? Well, I guess you’ll have to come to Tympanic’s Season Premiere Gala this Saturday, Sep 27, where we will screen the film for the very first time to find out… There will also be drinks, food, music and previews of our upcoming eighth season!
Until then, MARTINI SHOT!