CASTING WEEKEND PART 1: Taxi Driver

On April 5, 2011 by admin

All’s well that ends well is the phrase people like to say. It makes them happy. No matter what happens if we make it to the end alive that’s all that counts, right? I guess. The reason I bring this up is because I’m wondering why you never hear people say – “All’s well that starts well”. Why is that? I mean, why the Hell not? Cause anything and everything that can go wrong, will? That Murphy guy was a positive little ray of sunshine, wasn’t he.

Let me tell you, I don’t crap jellybeans but I like to be a little bit more positive than the next cynical bastard and if I can’t, I make sure to surround myself with glass half full types. I’m not talking about skippin’, whistlin’, happy go lucky zombies who think a smile can cure cancer (for the record it CAN cure athlete’s foot). I’m talking about the fools (like me) who believe if we don’t start none, we won’t get none. And you can substitute none with ANY word and it still means the same thing. Go ahead, try it.

It’s why I wanna be startin’ somethin’, gotta be startin’ something. Mama say, mama sa, mama get up off that thing and shake til you feel better! Ok, I’m mixin’ my Jackson with my Brown…gotta focus. On my casting trip to East Coast, the right coast the coast that’s home to 147 professional sports teams and the Mets, I wanted a little kick off for “THE LAST INTERVENTION”.

I took a red eye from LA and landed for a stopover in the heart of rock and roll, Cleveland (take it up with Huey Lewis, if you don’t likey). It looked cold from my window seat and it felt cold in that first step off the plane. You know, the first stretch of that hallway on wheels that’s a little open and exposed to the outside right after the pilot and stewardess give you their goodbyes. The chill hit the back of my neck and for a second I forgot that I still had another plane to catch to Hartford, CT. After a long walk from one end of the terminal to the farthest end of another terminal I found my gate and before I got on contemplated some coffee but after almost missing my first plane due to the last minute NEW SHOT I was working on (http://www.shu-sho.bandcamp.com) I hopped on.

In Hartford, my brother, co-producer, right hand man and spiritual safety net, Rafael Blanco picked me up and took a pit stop in Manchester to drop off his drums at a rehearsal studio with Metal Band photo ready train tracks in the back (I swear I saw Jimi Bell play here in the late 80′s). After the hairnet flashback we headed over to La Paloma Sabanera http://www.lapalomacoffeehouse.com/ on Capitol Ave in Hartford, CT to meet up with our D.P. Daniel Salazar III and our A.C. Helder Mira.

Co-Producers, The Blanco Brothers

At la Paloma Sabanera we met the wonderful Virginia, the owner and operator. Virginia is a huge supporter of the arts and community culture and political/social awareness. She’s allowed us to have our Hartford auditions here on Saturday and as we’ll soon find out, she makes a mean breakfast sandwich (the secrets of which will not be discussed here). Sitting down with Raf, Daniel and Helder I felt a rush and a slight fever coming on. We’re doing this thing. We’re really doing this. We discussed budget (lack of), schedule, shooting styles, goals with the project, casting and additional crew. We also covered the Blanco Brothers work ethic (no drama) and locations. We were later joined by Nina Salazar, our soon to be appointed Production Designer about how crazy it was all going to be, not because of the work (it will be a breeze) but because of the schedule (we won’t have script and breakdowns til maybe the end of the next week – a week or so before out first shooting day).

Daniel Salazar III, our D.P.

We hit the streets and all our available shooting locations. We took some video and made our notes. We’re strictly following the Robert Rodriguez 10 minute film school laws – use only locations already at your disposal. All the locations (the main ones anyway) are the homes of my closest relatives – I’m not sure they really know what we’re doing, though – neither do we at the moment.) The point is to keep the locations to a minimum to keep costs down but also get locations that have many uses. The same way we want people on our crew with many talents. It will be a small crew of multiple hat wearers. It’s the only way.

Gabriella Blanco, Casting Assistant

We hit my sister’s place and my mom’s apt, picked up Gabriella our casting assistant and Raf’s daughter and we ended up at my dad’s home in Hamden where he pretty much gave us the keys and free reign and fed us a whole lotta cheese. We had three options Pepperoni pizza with extra cheese, chicken parmigiana heavy on the cheese and something that was just cheese and sausage. We clogged some arteries and hit the road…into the city for a little christening.

Every ships gets the champagne bottle and every baby gets the butt slap, and we’re gonna jump into the world of THE LAST INTERVENTION’s production with a little Scorsese.

Daniel had mentioned the new digital print of “Taxi Driver” at the Film Forum and I knew we had to begin the east coast casting weekend with this. At the Film Forum the line was long and the anticipation was palpable. I forgot that I had seen this movie a million times before.

I had never seen it like this. It’s the best depiction of NYC in the 70′s and it’s never looked crispier. The colors were bright but never out of place. It was exciting and inspiring. It felt like the first time. I never realized how many hand held shots there were before and this time around it was actually very funny. What a movie. The next day we begin the casting process but right now we walk out into the Village night, wet, cold into the city that’s nowhere near as dangerous as Paul Schrader’s 1976. Ta to!

Giovanny Blanco, Director

 

Gabi, Raf and Daniel @ the Film Forum

 

NYC, Thursday March 31st, 2011

 

Real NYC taxi being...

 

...pushed into the night.

CASTING WEEKEND PART II next!!!!


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