Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Jeff Meyer and Amanda

As previously noted I worked with Karl off and on for a number of years. The last project being a music video for a band Called Boom Boom GI. We shot it in downtown Seattle while the streets were all Torn up for the original Bus Tunnel project. The front woman, Laura Love went on to create the Laura
Love band that was had a remarkably different Celtic folk sound than the Indie Rockin sound of Boom Boom GI. I had coffee with here a few years later about doing some music for a low budget flick called Baked Apple but Ill save that one for another time. Suffice it to say that she was very nice and gave a copy of their recored on both Vinyl and Cassette. I still listen to the record and I really like it. Especially the Celtic stuff. Karl had some marriage issues and went off to discover his painter side and last I heard he was hosting a Public access show on Cable. I'll never forget what he taught me. It was a fun time though he was kind of the kiss of death on a resume. I now realize that it was more the problem of those reading the resumes rather than that of Karl. Karl introduced me to Jeff Meyer early on.Jeff was a longtime film maker here in Seattle who had written and produced a Cult classic (at least around here) called Gas City. This was a story about a drifter in a really fast old police car who would drag race up and down the Aurora Strip and his angst and relationships. Jeff was one of the original people around the Seattle International Film Festival. There was a screening last summer of Gas City at NWFF. I wish I would have known.I got involved with Jeff as his Sound Guy for his Feature 'Amanda'. I have a lot to say about Amanda.
This was a film that was shot on weekends and holidays over about 5 years. We did it all with an Eclair 16mm camera, A Roller skate dolly a high hat and this really cool suction cup camera mount called a 'Super Grip'. You could stick it to the side of a car or on the hood and all sorst of neat stuff. For lighting we had a Lowel DP kit (4 1k Tungstens open face but focusable) A Lowel Softlight kit one 1K and one 2K and a little Lowel Grip kit for simple rigging. The sound was on a 4 track where we added a sync pulse on the 4th track and used the others as needed. Mics were all wireless Lavs and we had a Cardoid and boom but rarely used it. All this stuff packed into the back of an old ambulance just like the one from Ghost Busters.The story involved a young photographer who meets a VERY rich woman who turns his life around. We used borrowed locations and cars. We used a mansion out in richmond beach that was built by a Boeing Exec many years ago but is now a convent. ABC used it as their location for the Jackie Kennedly show and had built the Sisters a pool. We had a Mercedes Limo an alpha Romeo and even a Delorean for one exterior. I mean the production values we got for next to nothing were astounding.Amanda starred Gail Rosella in the title role and Jeff as the hapless photographer, Jason Mason.
Other actors came and went during the course of the shooting but all were committed to completing the show so none dropped out. Over five years this is quite an accomplishment but these people were professionals for the most part. I even had a couple of roles mostly as BG extras but I also played a bit role as a Scuba diver in one of the gag scenes. IE "Eric, would you be willing to put on a wet suit and jump into lake Union"? "Uh..sure" SPLASH!!
This film is where I met my long time friend and mentor Mark Shapiro. I cannot say enough great things about Mark. He was the DP and we worked very closely during the production of Amanda.
Actually aside from Talent, the crew was basically Jeff, Mark and myself with
an occasional helper. Althought I do have to give snaps to Pat Plyley who was a pretty consistant crew member. The point is there were basically us 3 or 4. Every day we would shoot a seperate scene and any pickup shots we needed to add to the mix. Aside from Rosary Hights we were at the KIRO TV main entrance, the Design Center, Out as St Michelle and a lot of car exteriors on the roads around there, Down town streets and some shops, in the market etc and on and on.But back to Mark. From the first moment I appeared on the set he treated me with respect and as an equal and always took the time to teach me. This was invaluable in my growth as a filmmaker. As the years progressed we both asked each other to help out on differing projects. He gave me my first gig as Camera operator. He eventually went on to be a Fellow in Cinematography at the AFI and when he returned he was and is even more of a resource. Though AFI changed him he has never let it get in the way of mentoring and his critique is even better. The sad thing is that he does not shoot much anymore. Mathew and I are trying to change that.At any Rate we plugged away at Amanda over the years and evenually principal photography was complete and my role in the show was done.Jeff and Gail edited it and did all the post production tweaking that needed doing and eventually it screend at the SIF in the late 80s. But the bastards gave him a 5:00 PM time slot and that was the last major screening of this mans life work. Jeff and Gail had a falling apart over release issues and Gail eventually passed away in the late 90s due to early onset of Alsheimers. Very sad but all the old team was there so we had an amanda reunion party.If we can ever convince Jeff to screen the show again I recommend seeing it.


At 7:43 PM, Blogger elisa said...

Hi Eric,

Would you drop me an email re: "Gas City"?

Thanks much.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Eric said...

I just noticed this today. 4/2/2009
If I could get to your email I would gladly do so. But your profile is blocked

At 11:14 PM, Blogger elisa said...

Thanks - I got it (I don't know why this blogger thing doesn't include a direct email, weird!)

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Eric said...

I am still not sure I understand. You got my email? You got whatever it was you wanted regarding Gas City?

At 12:55 AM, Blogger elisa said...

Sorry - got in contact with Jeff already.


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