Things we did last week

One week ago we wrapped principal photography on my short film Things We Dig! It finally happened, for real, yep, we did it! I still have to pinch myself that this wasn’t just a wishful dream, but the result of four years of persistence and planning. I wrote the script sometime in 2015 and blogged about it the first time in 2016.

slate

The process was a lot harder this time (compared to when I made my first short ‘The Appointment‘), because ‘Things We Dig’ has 3 times the cast, script pages and cost. The universe tossed a lot of challenges my way, but I am stubborn if anything!  First came a loss of the location, then hospitalization, death in the family, surgery for a cast member and finally my own surgery. The long delay caused its own consequences, like having to re-cast three characters and finding new crew members. And to top it off, our beloved kitty had an emergency, got a catastrophic diagnosis; and we had to help it over the rainbow bridge just TWO weeks before the shoot! I was devastated, shook my fist at the sky, but then decided I had the film to focus on and throw myself into work. I was wondering what else would crop up and didn’t even dare making any announcements about the upcoming film shoot, much less blog about it. NO JINXING! The last time I posted about it was in February, only to let people know the project had come alive again.

In the end it all came together beautifully thanks to our brilliant cast and crew! We worked hard, but there was also lots of laughter and giggles. I couldn’t have wished for a better filming experience, directing and acting at the same time, with my 1st AD Stephen Mickelsen by my side. I couldn’t have done it without the immense help of the Mickelsen family (Bad Cat Films), my always supportive hubby and of course you, my friends and supporters!

SpellsceneOn the set – first night!

actingdirectingActing and directing between my fellow cast members Cat Forrest and Jenn Larson

outdoorstifleStifling the giggles while watching the scene on the monitor

hidingGreat BTS shot by our MUA Ty Marie Frost

piaacidAfter a long day…I’m ready for a hot, bubbly bath myself…

elsaspell2Production designer extraordinaire Elsa Mickelsen

piastephen21st AD Stephen Mickelsen and yours truly, really close to wrapping Day 3.

groupthumbsupPartial cast and crew after wrapping Day 2 – so grateful for these super talented people!

Life is back to almost ‘normal’, back to not having to put out last minute fires before or during the shoot. I’ve already had a few dreams since the shoot, waking up distressed, thinking I forgot to shoot a scene! That vehicle breakdown on the way to the set was just a dream, right? Is it filmmaker PTSD? Is that a thing?

I miss the fun times with everybody on the set already and love going through the many pics we all took. I’ve had a week to reflect and take a breather (well…except my day job, heh..), but the work is not done! Now we head into post production

Back from the Dead!

Well…sort of. It wasn’t really dead. Just in a deep vampire slumber.

First there was a text message, then a few excited exchanges. A location was established for the production (finally!!!) Then talks of meetings and ideas. Then the first meeting happened with amazingly talented people. Troubleshooting and brainstorming. Ideas flying around, passions re-ignited! Excitement growing! Props were brought to the set. A second meeting. A set started taking shape! The script went through final tweaks. List-making commenced again, lots of keyboard clicking. Then a third meeting, key crew confirmations and then a new cast addition.

Indeed, Things We Dig has crawled out of its coffin, dusted itself off and is ready for blood!

We moved the coffin AND the chandelier this time ;)

This all has been quietly happening over the last 3 months or so. At first I kept it super quiet as not to jinx anything, but as things got rolling, it was getting harder and harder to keep it under wraps. I’m so excited! This is ALL of my focus right now and it is giving me LIFE!

Time to get crackin’!

Bits and pieces round up

Hi everybody, including my lurkers! ;)

As promised/threatened in my “Giving Thanks”  post, here’s the latest on what I’ve been up to over the last few months. It’s been a whirlwind ride for sure!

In August I flew overseas for a way long overdue reunion with family and friends in Germany! I saw my brand new niece, celebrated a birthday and a big wedding anniversary shindig. Needless to say…lots of happy tears!

Then in September, I finally got to cross an item of my bucket list: Visit the H.R. Giger Museum and the adjacent Giger bar in Gruyères, Switzerland! Add Gruyères cheese and a tour of the Gruyères Castle and the dream is complete! I’ve been planning and saving for this trip for years and it was worth every second! It almost seems like an amazing dream several months later! So grateful we could make this all happen!

SwissTrip

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The feature drama The Samuel Project has been making its film festival rounds and one of the screenings was at the San Diego Film Festival in October. Of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to re-unite with some of the cast and crew! I wrote a bit about the work I did on The Samuel Project in previous posts here and here.

SamuelProjectGroupPHotoFrom left to right: Steve Weinberger, Lilinda Camaisa, myself, Ryan Ochoa, Malina Moye, Casey Nicholas Price, director Marc Fusco, Catherine Siggins and Hal Linden.

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Of course, I HAD to fly my horror freak flag during Halloween season! Shenanigans included doing a little acting in Beth Accomando’s annual (and by now notorious) Halloween haunt. This year’s theme was Death Row Execution – Ride the Lightning, and I played a prison ward who straps a demon-obsessed inmate to the electric chair.

prisonward

Photo credit: Dante Moran

Good times, mwuahahaha… Of course, you can see more pics on my instagram!

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Just a few days later, on November 3rd, I got to be one of the panelists of SAM 2018 (Storytelling Across Media) moderated by that same Beth Accomando (KPBS Cinema Junkie podcaster) and it was a blast! The event as described in the program:

Storytelling in Film – Independent filmmakers Fernando Jay Huerto (Harley, Finest City Showdown), Neal and Jana Hallford (A Case of Evil), Michael Foster (Hush), Jonathan Hammond (Isabel), and Pia Thrasher (The Appointment) will discuss what influences their approach to telling a story and why they choose to work in film. They will also address how personal identity, genre selection, and budget can impact the filmmaking process and the narrative we see on screen.

SAM2018filmmakerpanel

I was delighted to find a short bio of myself that Beth added to the printed program: “Pia Thrasher is a visual artist with a flair for capturing macabre beauty, and her film acting and directing also reveal a penchant for dark themes.”……. *squeee* I love it, cause it’s so dead on!

PanelSign

I was really nervous at first, but once the discussion started and my focus was on the subject of filmmaking and being in the moment, I relaxed and had a great time with my fun fellow panelists. I hope it was informative and useful for the audience!

 

I even got my own sign! I’m afraid Beth created a monster by inviting me…cause I COULD TOTALLY GET USED TO THIS! :)

 

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Of course there was/is some film acting, too! We’re getting closer to wrapping up my role as a detective in ‘Penance‘, a horror/thriller feature film. For a suspenseful ‘breach and clear’ scene, we received some real tactical training by pros and worked really hard for this to make it look as legit as possible. Just another reason I love acting – you never stop learning!

PenanceTrainingShootBTS2

Director approved BTS pics of training (back in the summer), recent shoot and wrap (for that day)

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That’s it for now, all caught up, yay! My focus is now back on my own short film Things We Dig! Till next time – thanks for reading!