Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Three-Hour Production Meeting

I started an update about a week ago, but everything had to be scrapped after our three hour production meeting. What was that? You wish that YOU could sit through a three hour production meeting? It's your lucky day. Here is the reader's digest version, summed up in a tidy breakdown.

1PM We arrive Starbucks on De La Guerra (thank you for all of the wonderful new upstairs seating that makes it easier to have meetings/get my caffeine fix). Iced coffee, notebook, W9 forms, budget info, pencils, pens... we're set. My mother is filling in as our official note-taker, as both our stage manager and our assistant stage manager have started school for the Fall semester.
1:15PM I spy Maggie downstairs and give her a wave. She and her partner-in-crime George head upstairs and join us at the table. Polite hellos, nice-to-meet-yous. George happens to have an Evil Dead tattoo, obscured by articles of clothing.
1:20PM We go through every special effect in the show, from the first page of the script to the last. We mark the big blood splatter moments. Discuss how the various dismembered hand effects will be accomplished. I saw a recent production of the show in Martinez, CA and we might be able to rent certain props from them... but which props are worth renting and which are worth making? Masks turn out to be a particularly challenging bump on our path. Maggie and George aren't fooling around with this special effects stuff. Masks include molding, then latex, then painting. However, we simply can't find the money in the budget to have six individual masks made. George has a brilliant idea to make the masks from two more generic molds, and we keep going.
2:10PM George goes downstairs to get a coffee. Maggie and I are distracted by a gemstone-covered iPhone case in the shape of an animated character (that I cannot remember now for the life of me.)
2:12PM We regain focus. Do we need intestines for Scott, after he's been gored by tree branches? How does Jake's stabbing occur? Linda's beheading? What about the giant demon massacre at the end, to the tune of "It's Time"?
2:20PM Elisha, our set designer, arrives. More introductions.
2:25PM We all get nifty scaled sketches of what the set will look like. We circle where the major blood splatters are going to happen.
2:30PM Elisha and I go over what set materials I was able to scrounge up from my backyard (also known as our set graveyard from both Hair and Assassins) and what we still need. A construction company in town has agreed to provide what we don't already have at cost, which means we can redistribute some of our set construction budget to special effects. Even so, it's looking grim. Maggie and I discuss putting together a joint Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover the costs of materials, not to mention their time and labor, and a small amount of weight seems to lift magically from my shoulders.
2:40PM We head over to Center Stage Theater. Maggie and George have never seen the space, and the first thing we all do is crane our heads back to peer into the darkness at the grid. Blood has to spray from somewhere, right?
3:00PM It will NOT be spraying from the grid. Lights, curtains, and a whole score of expensive, delicate things dangle precariously near our splatter range. We scrap the idea of spraying blood down and begin to think about spraying it out. We take another look at Elisha's drawing and try to find places to hide tubes.
3:15PM Elisha and Brad mark out the location of our "Splatter Zone" with their steps and sit in the arranged seats. I stand on stage and jump around as Teri sits in the audience on the far right. "Can you see me?" I take two steps to the left. "Can you see me?" Two more steps. "Still can see me?"
3:30PM Teri strongly encourages me to schedule an additional tech day for the Monday before our opening. I take a look at the pages of notes that we've taken, the list of special effects from Maggie and George and the picture of our set... I nod.
3:45PM More talk about the blood spraying, which I have quickly realized is going to be the most challenging technical element of this production. Once blood has been sprayed, it can't be sprayed again unless there's time for a quick refill. Every splatter of blood requires someone behind the set, triggering it. We discuss the possibility of finding volunteers (on Halloween night? Yikes.) In a perfect world, Maggie and George would be there for each of our performances, setting off blood splatters and keeping an eye on things... and we're back to the idea of a Kickstarter campaign again. Stay tuned for more information in future blog posts...
4:00PM We go over a quick review of our more immediate to-do lists and say our goodbyes. We all seem to be on the same page at this point, and the show finally feels real. It's happening, and it's happening soon... that is, if the Halloween decorations that are already being featured in the drugstore are any proof.
4:15PM I walk down three aisles in the parking lot before I find my irritatingly nondescript car.

And that about sums it up! With October creeping closer, we've been busy brainstorming some creative advertising methods. The plan is to take Evil Dead promotions in a very contemporary direction, making use of guerrilla marketing with "missing" posters for Ash's detached hand, collectible postcards, viral media, and cast blogs! Get to know the cast and crew of Evil Dead: the Musical and get a behind-the-scenes look at rehearsals and more by visiting our brand new, shiny, blood-splattered EVIL DEAD BLOG.

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