Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blog Killing Letters – The End

My blog has never been as slow as it has during the running of these film stories and letters. But some of you have written to me privately, and here, and wanted to know the rest of the story so, I’m including all the letters left in one post. If I don’t, I’m afraid this thing will asphyxiate! I’m tired of the stories myself and a typical journalistic format isn’t my style anyway. I wanna tell you what I REALLY think, and DON’T ask me tonight because I could spit nails and clean my teeth with a certain person’s bone fragments! But I’ll leave that alone for the moment and wrap up the filming stories.

This was a herculean effort by a LOT of dedicated and loving people who worked sacrificially, gave up sleep, gave up vacation time, and gave up earning any money. Most everyone who worked on this film project actually PAID to do so in time and gas and wages and donations and MASSIVE creative effort. I think the problem is, you had to be there to see it and believe it. THE END.

And now, we stumble forward, if for no other reason than to see and remember all this happened – and it is now a matter of record. Read them if you want to hear the ramblings of an insane woman in the middle of the night. You’re used to that. It won’t be new.

7-22-10 2:31 A.M.

From Me:

Hi Everybody~

The latest tonight - well, this morning - is that no one is dead. It was pretty touch-and-go a few times today and I wasn't sure that would be my report tonight. What a crazy day with draggin' behinds and intense schedules. Many of us melted down today, including me. One good ten minute cry and therapy with Annalise while we went thrift store shopping, and I was back. Later on Melissa rubbed my feet - and may I say, NO ONE should EVER have to rub feet that were as gross and dirty as mine in my flip flops. But she said it "didn't gross her out" and bless her heart, my dessert after our wonderful dinner tonight was a life-saving foot rub. Melissa? Annalise? You ROCK!

The Lori, Kaylee, and Connor came to our rescue early today and did our shopping and re-shopping and then shopping some more. Then they put all the shopping away or helped apply it to the house. I was gone with Annalise during most of it but was still singing their praises at midnight as we staged the last room and I was able to use the curtain rods they bought and get our Diane-made-curtains on the windows. Thanks for more boxes, Lori! They saved many a scene in our box room. And Karla? Thanks for just jumping in and picking those up along with pies and giving me a hug - because I NEEDED IT!

I wish I could tell you about the crew. They have been so inCREDibly amazing through long, LONG hours and very warm conditions. They all deserve medals. And that's not even the TINIEST bit of hyperbole. I told Evan, our AMAZING TO THE NTH DEGREE CAMERAMAN, that they say when the Apocalypse comes, only roaches will survive. I believe now that it will be roaches AND Evan.

Dear, Patient, LONG-SUFFERING, and hysterical, ST. EVAN. (He was “sainted” as well):


Kim has kept us well supplied in food and water and coffee and NUTRITION and wise council that is never heeded. She and I have agreed many times on what should be done and how absolutely insane the hours are, but that's about as far as we get and we both keep going like demented and limping Energizer Bunnies.

Okay, on to business. We will need extras tomorrow. We are shooting coffee shop scenes at a coffee shop across from Teazers in the Tower District. I wish I knew the name but that, along with my brain, escapes me. I only know the location. I don't know the time of the shoot but it will be after eight a.m.. If you're interested, text or call Kim or Rod for details. I will be sleeping in tomorrow till at least nine. If I don't rub five or six hours of sleep together pretty soon, I'll be taking a vacation at the Funny Farm. If the scene has NOT been changed - and I wasn't in the scheduling meeting tonight - we are shooting scenes from three different days meaning we need different coffee drinkers in that shop. We could have a few repeats because people are regulars at these types of places but it would look pretty Stepford Wife if everyone was exactly the same. I don't know how many we will have but there is always the risk of there not being enough. We also would ask that everyone buy a coffee drink to support the kind owners who have allowed us to take them over. We want to bring them business, not drive it away. :-)

Our nephew, Jeff, has GENEROUSLY given us his way cool house in the Tower District to use as an apartment scene. I'm really looking forward to this one. It requires very little set design and/or shopping or creating or moving because his home is gorgeous. I think Rod would say a hearty "AMEN" to being excited about a set that needs no work AND has air conditioning!

So, we hope to see you tomorrow even if you only want to come to one of the locations to check out the last 48 hours of filming. I just hope it's not 48 STRAIGHT hours!

Also, tomorrow night is our scheduled prom night out in Easton. We will need extras in prom dresses (think early 90's) and guys in suits.




7-24-10 2:50 A.M.

Thank you so much, Dave. Your family has single-handedly saved my family today. Nacoya has worked faithfully and lovingly to assist Hannah in every way she can. The scheduling became Hannah's and it is a daily nightmare that she hates with every fiber of her being and fills ill equipped to handle. It's a high stress position in which nothing EVER goes as scheduled or exactly the way they want it. In a perfect world she could confer with Shaun but the perfect world has left the building. These kids are toast. We just butter 'em and drive 'em around. Which leads me to my next big thank you. Reg, I can't tell you how much it means to me that you are willing to pick up Hannah at 5:45 in the morning so that I can sleep and she doesn't drive off the road. My sleeping in this morning was a pipe dream and four hours seems all I am destined to get. I'm pretty sure I'd be a "walk-on" for Night of the Living Dead. And thank you for being my pilot car on the freeway tonight. Your rear end guided me home. I've never said that to a friend before.

And, once again, our friends (not that we'll have any when this is over but we're grateful for them while they last) have come to our desperate rescue. (A movie should be made about this WEEK!) Diane, in all her splendor, went to the 70's house and gutted that rotten food that sat in a warm fridge and on the counters for 24 hours. And we purposely had gross food as that house was a pit and was made to be disgusting. It was a VERY depressing and oppressive place and returning to it tonight to pick up Hannah's painting was horrid. I HATE THAT HOUSE. I was SO glad we wrapped it last night. The scenes are HEAVY and if it wasn't for the spirit of our Christian friends and crew, I don't think I could have made it.

THE 70’s house. Deliver us from evil.


Jason showed up tonight and went over and did even more cleaning. We have to take all the props out next week and I'm considering just blowing it up and being done. It was PERFECT for the scenes but that's where any goodness ends, in my non-humble opinion. Thank goodness for redemption and beauty in the movie!

We also wrapped the coffee house scenes today and are VERY GRATEFUL to those of you who were able to make it to serve as extras. We also had a few people off the street and ended up having just what we needed. I think we ended up with about 30 extras which was amazing. And Pam and Karla just put up with us when Kim and I yelled at them to "hurry and run and get 40 lbs. of ice and three flats of water!!!" And they did and kept people from falling into dead heaps in the hot room. Karla, I thank you profusely for helping with food and you, too, Diane, and for cleaning Jeff's house when the rest of us vanished suddenly like it was the rapture.

Tomorrow we need fresh extras to walk the sidewalk scenes in downtown Fresno at Tulare and "O" streets. If you were in today's scenes you could be in these as well because the coffee house has people who would be walking to it on these streets. I know many of you can't come due to prior commitments but don't stay away JUST because you think you couldn't be in these scenes, too. NOT TRUE! If you couldn't make it today and can help us out tomorrow, yahoo! Extras' call time is 7:00a.m. but if you can't get there until 8:00 you could probably fit in at the tail end. Many different days will be shot tomorrow. The one thing you won't see is ME there. Yes, I'm going to try out the theory of sleeping yet once again. I didn't melt down today but certainly glued together a few who did. We are keenly aware that our witness as Christians is key to those around us who are hurting and in need. We want to be there for them so please pray that we meet the challenge and show kindness, patience, and love to them and each other. Long days and little rest bring all emotions to the surface - tears or anger. I even saw the veneer crack on one of the most stalwart so - hello - the world is tilting on its axis. Pray that this doesn't cause yet more climate change and that Al Gore doesn't feel compelled to make a sequel movie.

Okay. That's it. I'm going to bed and I'm putting my daughter in Reginia's capable hands. Please pray for me, and Hannah, because I have to call work for her tomorrow and let them know that she will be gone another week. I don't expect that will be happy news for them but shooting will continue through Wednesday and then the child must rest or her work will be the least of our worries. Please pray that she will still have a job and that, if not, another one will open up. God is in control. The kids feel that the message of the movie is too important a ministry to fail to finish it now.

We love you and are completely befuddled as to why you love us!

The Cast and Crew of the S.S. Minnow who thought we were signing on to a three hour tour but then the "weather started getting rough."


7-25-10 2:35 A.M.

Well ya and HOO, I'm on vacation! Thanks to Reg, I got six hours of sleep last night and found out we have Sunday off. We all look so burnt but Rod officially wins the "Most Sleep Deprived" contest. I hope he gets some serious sleep tonight because, as per his routine, when we leave at ridiculous hours, he's STILL there. I know he'll be busy readying the grip truck tomorrow for the return to L.A. on Monday. That doesn't mean we're done - just that the rental time is expired. The schedule is now to continue Monday night with the prom scene and wrapping Tuesday night or Wednesday morning - not sure.


7-27-10 2:47 A.M.

Just another day in paradise. Why does nothing move at a normal speed with any of this? We hit the ground running, trip, skin our knees, and then Marie hits her head and goes to emergency. You better be okay, Marie! Your daughter had her big debut tonight and did a GREAT job opposite our lead, Cameron. You will love this. She even slapped him!

Hey, on a far more practical note.....we have LOST a shirt of Cameron's. He last wore it at the Revue on Saturday. It's a dark green, long sleeved cotton shirt, in case anyone inadvertently picked it up in the mad dash to exit. I wasn't there as I was taking Jessica (our adult Anna) back to her house and I missed all the wildness to get out of there. But it's gone and we need it in a scene in a few hours. If anyone has been wondering where in the heck they got this green shirt, please call or text Shaun or Hannah. Thank you! It's pivotal.

Thanks to our well-worn friends for showing up with your sons and daughters to play in our prom scene. It was awesome and I think it turned out well. The girls were beautiful and the guys handsome. The highlight of the night was seeing Evan and Shaun crammed into one toilet stall in the girls' bathroom with a camera above their heads. This falls into the category of "things you can't imagine yourself saying." And I have photographic evidence.

Rod got the equipment returned to L.A. today and was still at the church when I left with Hannah for Easton at 1a.m. We headed out to see if someone left that green shirt out there. Unfortunately, that was a wasted trip and it wasn't there. We did manage to keep the 70's house still in tact today and good thing we did. It turns out the DO need to film a scene there tomorrow. You KNOW I can't wait to get back in there. I'm wearing my garlic and a cross.

Okay. I'm headed to the barn for my well deserved two hours of sleep. We're due at the Rocca compound at 6:00a.m. I'm thinkin' with this missing shirt and no sleep everyone should be in a great mood. I don't think Hannah's going to bed. She has decided to give up and just stay up and work. Not me. Two hours is better than no hours.

Please pray for our last day and for the discovery of the SHIRT!




7-28-10 12:34 A.M. (I never realized this was the time. My favorite numbers on the clock.)

"And it's a wrap!" Shaun uttered those beautiful words tonight after the last scene was shot in front of the Revue. I can actually sleep, lay in bed and think about sleeping, lay in bed and think about whether or not I WANT to sleep. Sleep and I are going on a romantic getaway wherein I snore, drool, and wear my rattiest t-shirt and sleep thinks I'm the bomb. Of course, I AM, but it's nice to be appreciated for my TRUE talents.

Since we lived, I have to say this has been one of the MOST interesting and educational weeks of my life. I have gotten to meet some awesome people who will be long remembered. Henry, our audio genius, and Evan, our miracle working cameraman, have been dubbed St. Henry and St. Evan for their grace under fire. They worked in deplorable conditions of heat, being cramped and nearly standing on their heads sometimes, and kept hours a soldier fighting for his life shouldn't endure, but did they ever snap at anyone, anytime? Nope. Not even once. They smiled and brought grace and humor to every situation. I am richer for having known them. It is said you meet yourself in adversity and find out who you really are. We met Evan and Henry, too, and they never changed.

Most of us wore multiple hats and Angela Aro, (plays Cameron's wife), was amazing. She did makeup, hair, set dressing, and even helped run audio in a pinch. We quickly discovered there wasn't much she couldn't do and she was frequently called on to do it all. Jessica (our older Anna) smiled and gave many much needed hugs and words of encouragement as well as bringing her whole SELF into her role. She brought Anna to life and let us see Anna's pain. What an actress! Jason (older Cameron) was the king of patience. He put up with our seemingly endless wardrobe issues and was always willing to go along and do whatever without ANY complaint. Last night his suit/tux was not forthcoming and he was willing to be in anything we offered. Fortunately, St. Henry lived right nearby and came back with a gorgeous suit, three shirt choices, and ties. They fit Jason perfectly. But I think my most heart-rending moment came tonight as I packed Emma's (young Anna) wardrobe items away. Many of these were purchased for her at thrift stores and were done on the fly, in a rush, and in an effort to achieve a certain look. As I looked at outfits she had worn again and again, I realized the hard paper tags with the staples they put in at the thrift store had never been taken out. Most kids don't want a REGULAR clothing tag rubbing against them and she wore her wardrobe with these mean things attached and scratching against her neck. I was horrified but she never complained ONCE. We were all blown away by how professional and cooperative she was in every scene. And only nine-years-old. As Hannah said, it will be fun to say they were the first ones to get her in a major role at such a young age. We all see her going very far.

Harriet and Bob, Rod's parents, were the best hosts we could ever have asked for and served as ground zero for all of our flurry of activity. They would give you the shirt off their backs, and nearly did. And the dear woman makes LACE! I turned a corner tonight and saw her in her chair crocheting the finest lace I've ever had the privilege of seeing. Lace making is nearly a lost art. And, of course, she dismisses it as "no big deal." She didn't even get flustered about us taking M.A.N.Y. lovely family heirlooms out of her house and just smiled when we brought them back in. No angst over whether they were alright or not. Just grace and faith and warm, reassuring smiles.

I got to visit the 70's house twice today. The first time I realized it had been torn apart before the kids were done shooting it. Knowing the house, it probably accomplished this on its own. The second time, I had to retrieve some things and it bit me and gouged my arm. Yes, I DID forget the garlic and my cross. I even took Annalise and Hunter but they couldn't save me. They did help me get out fast, though, before it absorbed me into the abyss. Reg and Christy are headed in there in the morning. Don't be fooled, ladies. It is not tamed or intimidated by the light of day. There will be one more visit as I go in to clean. Somebody tie a rope to my leg.

Thank you to our wonderful caterer for the week, our own Kim. Nobody goes anywhere or does anything without water and good food and she supplied plenty of both as well as treats for motivation. It kept me from having to cook the whole time and I AM GRATEFUL. Not that I COULD have cooked. I can't find my kitchen. For that matter, I can barely find the house. It looks like 10 frat boys live here and are using it as a flop house. All we've done is grab and go and then run in and dump everything. Maybe that's why I detest the 70's house so much. Reminds me too much of home.

Thanks to all of you for sticking with us through this whole thing. You've been kind, motivational, self-sacrificing, and WILLING. We do COMPLETELY understand, though, if we call you and you have disconnected your numbers with no forwarding. I will now be entering the "phone silence" zone as I unplug and turn-off. I've gotta run. Sleep wants me and I hate to keep such a hot date waiting.

With Love and Many Thanks from the Young and the Restless (Hannah) and the Old and the Breathless.


©Copyright 2010


  1. Holy Mother of Cod-fishes! Are you still sane, woman? I don't know how you do what you do, but you do it so well.
    And you do it with panache even.
    Which is a type of pastry I think.
    I am simply AMAZED at all the time, effort, blood, sweat and tears that went into this fantastic creation, and I can't wait to see the finished work!!!

  2. You were an amazing group of people pulling together for the ultimate goal. Get some rest. I for one am glad for this great experience for you and for your sharing it here.

  3. You are so talented! I bogged down reading the letters but I wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your ability to keep on keepin' on!!!

  4. I so love this insiders perspective and the letters do give us a feel of what the cast and crew must have been like. Thanks for taking us along, you'll never regret that you documented all of this for yourself, despite the seeming lack of interest to others :)

  5. I'm glad you've posted them. I think you'll be glad someday too. :-) I can't read them all at once because my dishes are propogating and making more dishes in the kitchen sink, and I'm fairly certain my laundry is doing the same thing. That being said, I will take it in a few chunks today... I am so amazed by you all, and the work and ingenuity that went into the whole thing. :-)

  6. Ok, I couldn't stop, and I just read the whole thing. I love how you're witty even when you're dog-tired. :-) Sounds amazing, and I can't wait to see it. :-)