Thursday, January 31, 2013

DAY 6: Thanks For Coming In

Where I live here, there is a McDonalds & Burger King across the street from each other. I thought that fascinating until I saw there's a Wendy right behind BK. That's just silly.

It's officially cold here today. Last time I was outside, it was 1 degree. I'm told by it actually feels like -21. It's still not cold enough for me honestly. I mean, yeah I don't want to stay out there, but I wanna feel the worst you got. It's like when you ask for spicy at a Thai restaurant but they don't think you can take it, so they really give you medium. If there's no fear an appendage might fall off, it's not cold enough. BUT, on the plus side, it IS finally cold enough to bust out the arctic gear for a fashion show. Stay tuned for tomorrow's blog ladies ;)

At the end of today's auditions at 8:00p, I was completely exhausted. Even though I started only at 4, I saw lots of people today and I said the same things to most of them. My voice & mind were gone by the end of the sessions. Lots of good people and I think enough to make my decisions. I'm gonna stew over it tonight & tomorrow & revisit some of the audition tapes. I certainly met some interesting people through the sessions. One girl works at UPS but is also a blacksmith & a rapper. Another works in microbiology and we discussed bacteria, sometimes in relation to stds. She also said I was really weird. Sometimes on these little unrelated side stories, I get a better idea on the actor than when they just read lines and I'm not against adding some of this real element to their fictional characters. One of the roles (Younger Woman On Date) has to improv why they love animals. If all else fails, I can just take the responses from these auditions and make a "Duluth Women Love Animals" movie.

Tomorrow & Saturday, it's "time to get serious." Time to start making some decisions and prep everything for filming, which looks like it will be the end of next week. I want to get all my chores out of the way and go back to simply experiencing Duluth. It's better blog fodder. 

Hey, is it too late? I wanna audition!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DAY 5: Now Take Off Your Clothes

Today me & a potential actress for the Webcam Sex Girl role watched some reference video and had a good laugh when the webcam performer gave a tease of her granny panties. Five minutes later, she was eating a sandwich. HOT!

It was the first official day of auditions. Saw 6 people in 4 hours. Should have been 8 but someone's car broke down and someone just didn't show up. I'm sure that actress' foot was stuck in a bear trap somewhere. Everybody today was solid and all are certainly in consideration. The biggest challenge will be finding the right couples. Just because someone is individually good in a part, they may not be right when paired with someone else. So it's a bit of a mix/match game. Tomorrow I have my final set and will know who's what Friday or Saturday.

There are at least two other films being filmed in Duluth at this time. I know because the actors have told me. I haven't heard a single word about them in the press. And one is a feature! I'm trying to figure out why my little short film has been getting so much attention. I suspect it's a combination of 1) I choose Duluth specifically and came here 2) The title is provocative 3) I raised money to do this via Kickstarter & 4) Because I've actually had some previous success.

I must admit I kinda get off on my bad boy image, because if you have met me in real life, I don't think I come off as terribly threatening. I often get cute & endearing. My resemblance to a weasel also helps in this regard. People have been looking at me funny here. I'm not sure if it's because I'm dressed like an idiot or because they recognize me from the news. Can anyone verify if there is a wanted sign at the post office?

In other news, it looks like we'll be filming the date scene over at Bellisio's. Again, super nice. Super supportive. In terms of getting locations, Duluth is awesome. It's never been this easy & it can be a real struggle in SF, unless you know them already. Most just don't want to be bothered with your little film. So to the other filmmakers of the world, consider Duluth!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DAY 4: Malls, Zoos, & People Too

I am intimidated by snow. When I woke up this morning, I looked out the window to see if it was still there. Of course it's still there! And it's waiting for you to move your car. I also came up with a game called "What Footprints Are Those?"

This morning I met with the publisher of the Duluth News Tribune, Ken Browall, to talk about filming there for the office scenes. He is disgustingly nice and showed me around the tribune offices, even offering his own office. It's a great space and will work well for my purposes. Ken also happens to be the upcoming chair of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. I asked Ken if he hated the title of the film. He replied "not at all" and was happy for any attention the town received. Later in the day, I got an email from a local restaurant that is interested in being the backdrop for the date scene. I visit with them tomorrow.

Comments continue to pour on the "Vincent Gargiulo Is Horrible" piece. It's odd sitting at home casually drinking tea & eating a banana, reading people talk about you. I feel terribly ordinary and undeserving of such attention, still getting used to my role in the spotlight. Adam Carr, the author of the piece, reached out to me and said it was supposed to be in jest. I said it's all good and let's be friends, though the temptation was certainly there for both of us to keep on an online feud. You know, just for the fans.

Today has been my busiest day yet. I traveled around doing location scouts & getting errands done. The guy at the UPS Store on Kenwood was quite pleasant & helpful. EVERYBODY HERE is quite pleasant & helpful. And they're genuine about it too which makes it worse. I went to the mall to take pictures of the food court (yes, there's a scene there). The parking lot at Miller Hill Mall IS horrible. It is disgusting with mud, snow, & bad parking everywhere. Being a connoisseur of malls, I found it about average. I also saw stores like Shopko & Younkers? That's a 50s puppet show right?

Until Jan. 31, zoo admission is two dollars cheaper so I ventured over to the zoo for a scout. I was alone. Just me & the animals. And they were all very social, as if they were saying "You are the first person we've seen in weeks. Play with us. Please!!" Well, except the Burrowing Owl, who got off his ledge and came right up to the window to hiss at me. Loosely translated I think he said "You fuck my wife? You fuck my wife!!??" It's a nice zoo. A little sparse. But there are parts that are achingly gorgeous in terms of landscaping. I really enjoyed the nocturnal indoor sections too. I also never knew cougars made a little bark sound. That impressed me so much that I gave the cougar a role in the film.

I ended the night meeting new people. I did a special timed audition with Meghan & Bryan, an actual couple trying for, get this, an actual couple. Not too shabby. The auditions proper begin tomorrow until late Thursday. Regardless of their possible appearance in the film, Meghan & Bryan were very friendly folk that I could spend a while talking to. That said, they were unable to tell me what the mysterious channel 117 is on my television that seems to just show somebody's heart rate. After that, I met up with a young actor named Deven at Blackwater Martini Lounge. He found me on Facebook weeks prior and invited me out for a drink and socialization. He's a good drinking buddy. My Duluth celebrity also hit me as I casually mentioned to the bartender that I'm hated in town. Instantly, she replied "Oh are you that filmmaker making that movie?" Long story short, the bartender might appear in the film in a cameo, either next to a statue or jumping on a trampoline.

What a day. I'm still in west coast time and got up at 7:15, which means I really got up at 5:15. Time for bed and the first round of auditions tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

DAY 3: Vincent Gargiulo Is Horrible

Late last night, I was surfing the web getting ready to fall asleep and made the fatal error to visit the Perfect Duluth Day blog. This is the same place that broke my Kickstarter story and caused the initial uproar. To my surprise, there on the front page was a seemingly anger-fueled parody of my project called "Vincent Gargiulo Is Horrible" I immediately found this hilarious. Not that it's particularly funny, but that this amount of hatred existed. I then got slightly concerned when I saw who wrote the piece.

His name is Adam Carr and he did a similiar project last year, writing a blog called "January in Duluth." I'd actually already been looking at it. Mr. Carr contacted me on Saturday saying he was in town until Monday afternoon and if I wanted to get together to chat. He was extremely cordial in the email and had "no agenda." I was traveling and sick and in that short amount of time replied that it wasn't to be but I wished him best in his adventures.

Perhaps he's doing just a slight ribbing and certainly, I can take a joke about myself. In fact, I left a comment that I was looking forward to auditioning. But his piece seems to be coming from a different place. It's like if I made the film with a different name and then changed it later to "Duluth Is Horrible." His piece feels passive agressive and backstabbing. I apologize for not getting coffee with you. Though now I'm convinced you might of poured a latte on my crotch. Mr. Carr, I challenge you to "March in Stockton." I pick the streets.

Meanwhile, my sickness is nearly out and with that, I decided to get out and walk around. Armed with a Canon 5D Mark II, I took photos of the neighborhood. I never really been in snow. I giggled like a small child as I built a small snowman & stepped into unexpected deep pockets of snow. It was all lovely. Do I feel guilty for calling it horrible? No.

Today was also spent contacting local restaurants to see if I could film there. While there are many possibilities, nobody is willing so far. Come on JJ Astor. You follow me on Twitter for Christs sake! On the other hand, I have an appointment tomorrow morning with the Duluth News Tribune to look at their space for the office scene. I hope it'll work.

I need to pick up some mace too tomorrow.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 2: I've Arrived & To Prove It, I'm Here

Been listening to any song with the word "Duluth" in the title on Spotify. So far, my favorite one is "Duluth." I am officially here today and can also hear again too. All the gunk from my ear went back to my nose in the night. Better to hear people, then smell their breath. I hope to get out and about tomorrow and start making the most of this trip.

A quiet man let me into my apartment which I rented from a woman on AirBnb. He didn't say much. I asked where the pool was. He said "Lake Superior." It's a nice apartment. A little feminine but it'll work and way cheaper than some crap motel. A picture of Jesus sits in front of the toilet. He stares at you and he cries when you poop.

There's something called Alternate Side Parking. I'm parked on the side everyone else is, so I guess I'm good? There is snow. It's all around. There's a light drizzle now. There's also a lot of what I think is called "smud" - snow & mud. It's a blast to drive on. Your car goes this way and that way. Fun and little shady like any good carnival ride. One of my biggest goals with this trip is to successfully return the car to ACE without any incident.

Driving up from St. Paul this morning, I found this state really is beautiful. It's like what you always thought Christmas should look like from a California perspective. It was a "warm" 32 degrees today. I'm told the negative numbers are coming this weekend which I look forward to. I wanna know what cold is. I want Duluth to show me.

My only venture in town today was going to Super One Foods. I thought getting groceries for my apartment would help cut down on costs.  Not so when you shop at the Super One. It's like Safeway without the club card. Paying full price for things you know are overmarked hurts so bad. And they didn't have sliced salami or even salami sticks? Yet, they had entire displays of pepperoni. I looked for the beer aisle twice until I realized those couple 24 packs of Milwaukee's Best were it. They asked if I wanted paper or plastic. In SF, plastic is the devil's bag so I said paper. They gave me paper bags without handles. How can I carry 4 bags without handles in one trip? No wonder they looked at me weird. Really roughing it out here, folks. (SF SNOB ALERT)

Tomorrow I might meet people. I look forward to this.

My Cute Little Apartment.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 1: Yep

The first words I heard from a Minnesotan, upon asking if this was the shuttle to the car rental place, was "You Betcha." Really? I guess there's a reason for stereotypes.

This day started with a very early pickup from my house to SFO. The early morning hot mix of Estelle, Katy Perry, & Miley Cyrus from the shuttle radio made me want to go to my fictional corporate job and "close the deal." Seriously though, nobody should have to listen to "Party In The USA" at 4:30 in the morning.

Got laid in Phoenix. Laid over I mean. The plane was delayed. I thought about many bizarre things during this time of contemplation, which by this point I've completed forgotten. Mostly I thought how long will I continue to be sick? I am slightly better today or at least I was. Since arriving at MSP, my entire left ear has been clogged up and refuses to go away. It's not much fun being in mono.

I write from the Prime Rate Motel where I've been told there are free donuts for breakfast. The decor looks exactly as one would expect from a budget Minnesota motel from 1982. Also numerous items are slanted to the left on the wall. Does nobody care? Am I first person to stay in Room 139? Or is there some some of "Mystery Spot" action going on here. In the corner is the chair that nobody wants to see. A table sits next to it but sitting on the floor gives you the same height advantage as the chair. I'm being very descriptive because I'm also being very lazy and refuse to just take pictures.

I could of gone to a one of a kind place here in Wherever I Am, Minnesota but just wanted something quick, simple, and could bring back to my room. It's just not a Bumpers Sports Bar night. So I decided to eat fresh at the nearby Subway. In going to a place familiar to these eyes, I was able to spot the subtle differences. First of all, everybody here is White. Growing up in highly diverse Stockton, CA, I still find large groups of just white people a little strange. Secondly, this Subway was gigantic and stretched out for what seemed to be miles. Thirdly, they just give you spinach without even asking. I busted out some Arctic clothes for this Subway trip and found myself overdressed. I was prepared for ice fishing. Not the Spicy Italian.

But yes, what you've heard is true. It's cold outside...Sorry.....BABY, it's cold outside. Although warm for here, I believe it was around 21 degrees. It didn't feel too bad. It was brisk. I kinda liked it actually and was slightly disappointed that my lungs didn't catch on fire or my eyelids froze open. I will regret that joke when it comes time to actually filming outside. And besides, I did lose my hearing so there's that.

Tomorrow I'll make my 2 hour trek to Duluth where I have an apartment waiting for me for 2 1/2 weeks. Just imagine the adjectives there! My hearing MUST be back by Monday or it's doctor time. Granted I'm not the Soundguy, but it's real hard to concentrate. Overall though, I'm excited. What am I doing here? A smug grin came across my face when the ACE Car Rental girl asked me this and I replied "I gotta go to Duluth." Nuff said.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Journey Begins

Tomorrow at 4:00am, a shuttle will take me to San Francisco Airport where I'll take a plane to Minnesota. I also stop in Phoenix but by the time I get there, she'll be rising. Why do people always say "safe travels?" It's not like I'm flying the plane.

The film continues to get press in Duluth. Here's a radio interview I did for a local radio station:

Two days of auditions are lined up Wednesday & Thursday. I'm feeling good about these prospects. I'm glad alot of them are actual Duluthians and not just a bunch of actors shipped in from Minneapolis (though there are those too). I could use a few more auditions for women in their 30s so if you are such an age and will be in Duluth at the same time, let me know. I also hope to secure all locations this upcoming week too. Luckily, there's not all that many. Once I have actors & locations set, we'll shoot for approximately 3 days. That should probably do it. I've tried to keep things simple and my crew will consist of myself, a fantastic cinematographer named Keith Horn, sound guy Dan (of course), and a stable of young optimistic people who want to help. I hope I don't crush their cinematic dreams with my increasing use of profanity and pessimism as the days go by. Hey, filmmaking isn't always fun ok!

I have encountered one slight setback so far. I am sick. Yesterday, I was really bad and saw visions of things usually reserved for my films. Today I am ok. At least, good enough to get on an airplane. With the help of my friend Mucinex D, I hope to be better soon. There is much to do.

Starting today, I'll be writing a daily entry here about my adventures in the Land of Lakes (love their margarine). Be ready for exclusive Duluth filmmaking coverage. Let's go to Minnesota!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Casting Call

Title: Duluth Is Horrible
Synopsis: A series of vignettes chronicling a few lonely people in Duluth, MN searching for a connection in a bleak winter.
Project Type: Short Film
Usage: DVD, Film Festivals, Eventual Internet
Shooting Dates: We're shooting 3 days between Feb.4-14. Specific dates TBD and can work somewhat with your schedule. Most roles will be needed 1-2 days, except the Lead.
Shooting Location: Will be in Duluth, MN. 
Audition Time: Wed. Jan. 30 from Noon-4. Thu. Jan. 31st from 4-8. Please email to set up time and receive a script. Please include any acting experience and a picture. If you cannot make either and want to audition, please email me.
Audition Location: Duluth. Address given after setting up appointment.
Union Status: Non-Union
Compensation: Copy, Credit, Expenses, Mileage, Select Roles Additional $ 
Submissions Due: Jan. 30 

Broken Hearted Man (35-45/M)
Lead. After girlfriend breaks up with him, goes on a trip out of state. Sits on a bench outside and sings acapella the brief title song. Sings a full song at karaoke.
Must be willing to travel out of state (expenses paid) Feb. 13/14. Must be able to sing decently. Comp: $100

Redditor (18-30/M)
Asks for advice on the website, Reddit, on a situation about his roommate & cat. Later seen watching porn in the dark. 

Office Worker (21+/M)
No lines. Walks through the office 3 times. Every time he turns a particular corner, there is something unusual.

Wasted Woman/Carmen Miranda 1(21+/W)
Says one line to herself overheard at work "If I didn't get wasted every night…". Later briefly seen dressed as Carmen Miranda. 

Zookeeper (40-50/M)
Shy man who works at the zoo as a groundskeeper. Draws doodles of the animals. On online date with younger woman.
Must have mustache & be able to draw doodles of animals quickly.

Younger Woman On Date/Carmen Miranda 2 (26-34/F)
On date with zookeeper but not at all interested. New in town. Loves animals. Later briefly seen dressed as Carmen Miranda. No accent preferred.  
Must be able to improv some lines about why she loves animals.

Broken Hearted Woman (35-45)
Seen walking at night alone. Later seen sitting at home listening to a home recording of herself
Must be able to sing a short song. Comp: $50

Lesbian 1/Carmen Miranda 3 (21+)
No lines. Seen briefly making out with another woman in everyday office clothes. Later briefly seen dressed as Carmen Miranda.
Must be comfortable with kissing another woman. Comp: $50

Lesbian 2/Sex Chat Girl (21+) 
Seen briefly making out with another woman. Later is revealed she does an internet webcam sex show.
Must be comfortable with kissing another woman. No nudity in sex chat scene but very suggestive clothing. Must be comfortable discussing sexuality frankly. Comp: $150

Male Tourist (26+)
Him & his girlfriend are seen arguing in their car driving round town. They also go to the Mall. No accent preferred.
Must be able to drive.

Female Tourist (26+)
Her & her boyfriend are seen arguing in their car driving round town. They also go to the Mall. No accent preferred.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Coming Soon To Your Town...

It's a done deal. The town is expecting me. I made an offer to the Mayor that if he starred in the film, I'd change the title. He wanted to know if a cameo would do the trick.'d depend where. I can always hire a Don Ness impersonator and keep the title as is.

Most logistics are taken care of. I have my flight booked, an apartment (courtesy of Airbnb), a rental car, a cinematographer, and clothing that will make me look like an idiot. Have a location list and a casting list, though not officially posted just yet. Auditions and location scouting will be that first week I'm there and the shooting will be the next week. I believe all shooting can be all completed in 4 days.

I should be back on Feb. 14 because there is nothing more romantic than being on a 8 hour flight with one stop in Phoenix. This certainly will be an adventure. I'm excited to go somewhere, to meet new people, to have new experiences, and obviously make my next film. It'll be like Call Of The Wild without the dog and more open cases of clinical depression.

Back on the homefront, I lost a production gig because "I do comedy" and they're making a drama. Keep in mind, I would be the cinematographer. Can you frame for funny? Even if you can, it's a light chuckle. I hope "Duluth Is Horrible" will show I'm capable of producing more dramatic work. That said, I got my Carmen Miranda costumes in the mail today.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I'm Going To Duluth

With the help of 87 generous backers, I’ve successfully funded my next film, “Duluth Is Horrible.” I’m a little shocked honestly and surprised, but there is little time to just sit in a daze. It’s time to put the wheels in motion. I’ve already started looking at the best travel times. I’m thinking I’ll leave Jan. 26 and return around Feb. 14, as to be present for my Muppetless Movie showing at the SF Indiefest.

I THINK I can get everything I need in that period. I don’t suspect actual shooting to be all that lengthy. There’s only 17 scenes and some are very brief. What will take a while is finding the right actors and they will be key to the film’s success. There’s about 20 roles of varying requirements and I will put up a casting call perhaps before arriving. I’ll also need to find locations and with a title like mine, this could be a challenge.

I have already purchased my winter clothes after studying the Arctic Climate Guide. I am convinced I will be laughed at. But at least I will be warm. I will writing in my blog hopefully every day about my adventures.

Before this all my previous films were self-funded and it was a bonus that people seemed to like them. Now those same people have given me money to make another so I feel the need to make something really great. My goal is to make something beautiful. I certainly hope I can and am extremely grateful to those who backed the project to give me the chance. Thank you.

Now, let's make a movie! 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Time Of Twilight Is Approaching!

Well Ladies & Gentlemen, this is it. This Saturday at Noon, my Kickstarter campaign will be over. I've gotten a huge push since the last update and we're only about 2 grand away. I think there's a good chance of this thing happening. Thanks to everyone who has donated so far and has spammed their friends with this thing. My appreciation doesn't translate well in words on the internet but I seriously appreciate any & all support. I owe everyone a beer (and whatever rewards you signed up for).

Assuming the campaign is a success come Sat, then it's time to get serious. Put up a casting call, find locations, book equipment & crew. My plan is to do some of this before my journey but obviously most will need to happen in Duluth. I'm looking forward to meeting people, spending time there, and apologizing to everyone for unfairly calling it horrible.

ALSO, SPECIAL MINNESOTA OFFER!: Pledge $2500 and we'll change the name to either "Duluth Is Ok Actually," "Fresno Is Amazing," or my personal favorite "Duluth, Don't Lose That Number." Think about it!

I'm going to bug everyone I know one more time and hopefully you can do that too, especially with your politician, NFL & dentist friends. Thanks again and I hope to have exciting news soon!

- Vincent