Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Night Shift: Ghost Stories and Widows

The Night Shift is the production diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in "post" in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

Ghost Stories

"Did you just go upstairs?"
Thomas seemed nervous last night when he came down the staircase and into the kitchen. 
"No, I've been down here, waiting on the stupid oven to finish pre-heating. I did walk over to the desk (by the stairs), though."

"Nah," he eked out. "I probably just hallucinated. I was at the computer, and out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw you go in our room. Anyway, you're not wearing gray sweatpants."
At this point, he ceased being the nervous one, and passed that role onto me. "Hold up. You could tell what kind of pants and what color?"
"All I saw were pants and hair. I thought you'd walked up the stairs and gone into our room. I got up and went in there to talk to you, and you weren't there. That's why I yelled for you. Then I heard you down here."
"You were probably just seeing things," I offered, in an attempt to calm us both down a bit. "If it makes you feel better, a couple of times I've sworn I'd seen someone standing in the guest room."
"You, too?!  Did you see the shadow move?"

Oh. Dear. God. Not again. Please, not again. This would make the third home with "roommates" for both of us. My childhood home was haunted, but by a benevolent spirit: my dad. He didn't try to scare us. Instead, he made sure the security alarm was set if Mom or I forgot. That haunting was actually very comforting.
The apartment Thomas lived in before we got married had a distinct and heavy presence. Nothing unusual happened, but he always felt that there was someone in the room with him. 
Our last apartment was Spirit Central. We had two shadows that liked to peek out around corners. One had a top hat, and one was very small, like a child. We had a shadowy "cloud" that appeared in our room and chased me around a bit. I didn't care for that one, to be honest. I once saw, from outside the bedroom door, someone stand up from where they'd been sitting at the edge of our bed, and there were various and sundry little things, like lights, buzzers, and faucets working by themselves. Eventually, things calmed down. Either they left, or decided to just leave us alone. In any case, I was glad when we were able to move out.
Now, we're in a beautiful apartment. I have closets for days, and the coolest floorplan imagineable. We've been there almost four months, and I've not felt a peep until about a week, or so, ago when I thought I saw someone in the guest room. I wrote it off as my eyes playing tricks, but now I'm starting to wonder. 
I don't know if Thomas needs to take a break from staring at the computer screen, and all the ghosties and ghoulies on it, or if we have new "roommates". I'm wondering (and this is my reason for sharing with you) if, perhaps, we may have picked up a prop with a spirit attached to it. Sort of a two for one deal, if you will. 
We bought the majority of our costumes and props from thrift stores, or second-hand from eBay, so we have no idea where they came from originally. These are props from antiques like a (really cool!) portable bartending set and Civil War medal, on to mundane items like books and tea cups. Any one, or more, might have come with strings attached, so to speak, and we never would have noticed it with all the activity in the old apartment, but now, they're all stored in the guest room closet.
It may be nothing. If it's not, however, I'm of the idea to live and let ... um ... haunt? If they don't bother me, I won't bother them. Well, that is, as long as they stay out of my gray sweatpants. 

Widow (movie) Maker

You know, I'd always heard of the "widows":  The football widow, the poker widow, even the theatre widow. Heck, for a while, my best friend was a bowling widow. Now, it seems I've become a filmmaking widow.
Mind you, my husband is still home in the evenings, and I'm even in the room with him most of the time.  
However, Thomas has his nose buried in a computer cabinet, and I'm getting very, very good at Vegas Nights and Farkle on Facebook. Last night, he color-corrected special effects, and I watched a re-run of Doogie Howser, MD (a "very special" episode, in which Wanda breaks up with Doogie for, like, a second).
I do help, on occasion. I'm there if he needs a second opinion on how something looks, or a fresh set of eyes to spot a problem. The thing is, there's only one computer, and this putting-it-together business is, at least on this end, a one-person job. There's not much I can do, at this point. I can listen to him, offer advice when asked, and then stand back and let him do his thing.  
This is the part of production that's hardest for me. Not the pre-production craziness. Not the anxiety of filming. This is the part that I have absolutely no control over, and the part that causes the most stress for Thomas. He's handling it beautifully, I must say, with a great attitude, but it's rough on him, and there's not a thing I can do about it. Last night, he had to deal with special effects files that wouldn't load properly.  
Tonight, he has a conference chat about sound and music. Tomorrow, there'll be something else. The puzzle pieces are all falling together, and falling together well, but they're all raining down on one person. If nothing else, I'll be there with an umbrella.
We are so close to finished, I can taste it. The score sounds amazing. I'm working on organizing our fantastic publicity for the press kits (and on that note, did anyone see the blurb about us on Ain't It Cool News?  That was a nice New Year's present).  The special effects are mostly cut in to the final film, and all is going as well as could be expected.  
In other words: It won't be long, now.  Thank God.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some folders to emboss (still), a high score to beat, and Doogie on the DVR.       
We're still plugging away at this thing. In the meantime, you can follow The Night Shift at www.thenightshiftmovie.com. You can check out the poster, trailer, cast and crew, and some fun downloads. Heck, if you like, you can even be our friend on Facebook and Twitter (@NightShiftMovie), where you can follow more of the progress of the movie.

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