Saturday, April 23, 2022

Makin' Movies: The Farm Report 04-23-2022

Makin' Movies

The Farm Report

As they say in the Monte Python shows: "And now for something completely different."

We've been makin' movies out here at Oakdale Farm. Well - to be more accurate, my two sons have been out here making a movie. I got the food concessions and general roustabout jobs on this project. We had a ball. 

Chad and Christina are very involved promoting and producing a Halloween Disc Golf tournament in the Madison, Wisconsin area. Chad - who is both an excellent disc golfer and has a diploma and actual training in video/graphic arts - has been using his skills to make a fun 'players' meeting' promotional video for this event. Last year it was a Count Dracula theme. Halloween in Madison is HUGE. So instead of a boring meeting to sit through, he's been using a 'story vid' to hook people into watching and learning the rules for the tournament.

This is 'Cecil B. de Inman' for those who haven't met him. We just call him Chad. 
The story for this year's thriller revolves around an alien-celestial contact, a UFO, a bachelor farmer living in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest, and a skeleton named 'A'mealio'. The guys picked that name for him because they said he looks like he needs - wait for it - a meal eeoo. He's all bones.

The show starts with a hearty breakfast on the farm. You can't see it in these pics, but they were using a skull and crossbones egg frying mold to cook breakfast. It's a Halloween theme, remember.

Why were we filming in April? Because April has the same light as October, and the landscape looks a lot the same. It takes long term planning when you're in the movie business. Success doesn't happen overnight.

Son Jon is a furniture guy by day, but he's a Ham Actor the rest of the time.

So the story line goes, he's a really good disc golfer - and never misses a shot. He probably has lots of time alone on the farm to practice. They actually spent real money and bought a trap door Union Suit for the costuming. If they'd asked, I could have just loaned 'em mine. All farmers have 'em.

See that bottle of hot sauce on the table? That's called 'product placement.' Chad and Christina manufacture and sell their own hot sauce called 'Deuce Juice.' It's a disc golf thing. Gotta get in the commercials however you can. That's the inside joke Jon is grinning about. Deuce Juice is really good, too.

It takes a lot of gear to make movies. It takes a lot of planning and 'getting ready' too. They actually had the whole video story boarded and on paper when they started the day. This ain't no Mickey Rooney spontaneous Thrown Together Play, kids.

Action! Chad rode in the back of the M filming the live remote action scene while Farmer Jon - The Best in the Midwest - drove to the fields to begin his work day.

There was a lot of 'director directions' coming here. I couldn't make it all out, but Jon was under pressure to perform. These guys only look relaxed. They were pretty intense all day long.

Off camera pro making the shots for the camera that The Best in the Midwest appeared to be throwing. Camera trickery!

So then it was time for A'mealio to make his appearance. 

Chad tied a golf disc (Frisbee) to A'mealio's hand so it could look like A'mealio was throwing the disc. Jon did double time as the Jim Henson puppeteer off camera with A'mealio as his marionette. Nearly invisible fishing line is attached to the ends of the long poles and A'mealio's important parts.

Rehearsal. The director can be demanding. The action has to be 'just right.'

And just like magic, A'mealio appeared to size up the target - make a measuring practice swing or two before throwing, and then TOSS!

We worked from before 7:00 in the morning until after 10:30 that night. We got a little goofy along the way and somehow A'mealio's legs got caught under the granary foundation. We thought maybe he was trying to escape, or crawl in to hide under cover.

"I'm going to be a famous movie star!" Annie dropped right into the roll of Farm Diva Dog. We weren't sure whether she loved A'mealio for his personality - or just for his bones. She loved the attention and insisted on being Chauffer Driven in her Farm Limo - complete with Pink Jerk Strap for safety - as any starlet would expect.

"Will my fans still love me when I'm Famous!, Tim?" Of course they will, Annie. Just don't let it go to your head. You'll always be the popular one out here. When the day ended, we all crashed, but the movie footage was in the can.

Well, that's the brief nickel tour. I'll let you know when the premiere is released for public viewing this fall. There was some spectacular drone flying and outer space footage shot at night. Chad is a licensed FAA Drone Pilot for his daytime job, and he has a really super drone which he brought and used during the filming. It will help you get into the UFO/Space Alien context of the story when you see the show this fall. 

After it was all over and done with - and the boys were on their way back to Wisconsin, O.J., Annie and I just collapsed in a chair and watched a Sci-Fi movie. Some of us were more interested in it than others.

Back to the garden next time. For now, All's Well in Farmy Wood. Cheers.