Week 45: The Hotel Ray

{Giant thanks to Mr. Bill Bowles.  Read on to find out why.}

First, HOLY CRAP!  WEEK 45!  ONLY FIVE LEFT!!!

Just had to get that out of my system.

Now, you may notice at the end of this video, the copyright isn’t just my name, but my name plus Bill Bowles.  That because I feel like this episode is at least 50% his.  Bill has been a good friend for the last five years, and he is one hell of a filmmaker (check out some of his amazing projects HERE).  I somehow roped him into shooting Episode 15: Me and My Penis Pump, but his talents were unquestionably underutilized.  We’d been talking about collaborating again, and we were just looking for something that excited both of us.

I was in the Bay Area for the holidays and I got a call from Bill.  He’s just seen the most amazing location and he’s got an idea.  He asks, “Have you done an apocalypse guy yet?”  “No.  But I’ve been wanting to!”  From there we bounced ideas back and forth and we got set to shoot the next day.  Fast and furious.

Now, I cannot tell you where that place is or how to get to it.  I’m sworn to secrecy.  What I can tell you is that we literally had to dig with our bare hands to uncover a narrow tunnel made of mud, and then we had to crawl a little ways through that to a steel ladder that took us 40-50 feet straight down.   The place is immense inside.  The video doesn’t do justice to its massive scale.  And it’s spooky as hell when the lights are out.

We shot the bunker stuff first because we figured if we were going to get arrested it would be better to get arrested early and scrap the video, rather than shoot the exterior setup stuff and then have that just be wasted time.

Bill wasn’t just shooting, he was directing.  There are very few people I would feel comfortable allowing to direct a 50in50, but Bill is one of them.  I was able to just relax and focus more on the acting than anything else, and I have to say, it felt SO good to do that.  Taking an extra hat or two off was a huge burden gone.  I trusted that Bill was getting the shots, and I trusted that he would keep me on track, and he did.  That allowed me to just improvise the dialogue and really play.  I didn’t realize it was something I missed so much.  Even after 45 episodes of this project my main interests are still acting and writing (in that order), and if I can just do those two things for the rest of my life, I think I’ll be a happy guy.

Ray’s mannerisms were lightly inspired by a friend of mine who passed away.  He was an interesting dude.  I worked on doing a rough impression of him, then I pulled it back to about 20%.  The content, the stuff that I was saying, was spawned by my own hypothetical thinking about various “apocalyptic” scenarios.  They’re interesting questions to ask yourself.  What would you do if ____ happened?  Where would you go?  How would you survive?  It’s worth thinking about.  Now, personally, my solutions are quite different from Ray’s, but that’s where most of the dialogue came from.  I’d ask myself these questions (or Bill would ask me a question), and then I’d run them through the Ray Filter.  It was a good exercise.

Bill did the first two rough-cuts of this episode, which marks another 50in50 first.  I’ve never let anyone else edit one of these.  It’s hard to let go of that control.  In this case, though, since the concept was Bill’s, and since he directed, it was an obvious choice.  He did a great job with it and came up with some cuts I wouldn’t have thought of that worked extremely well.  After the second rough-cut Bill handed the edit over to me (which is so damn easy to do with Final Cut, even though were were 3,000 miles away by that point).  I cut a few things out, put a few things in, reordered a few things here and there, and did a little trimming and audio work.  The end product is our baby, and I’m extremely proud of the collaboration that went into this one.

In other news: wow, okay, so, only five left.  This is it, people.  This is the first time I’m willing to admit that I’m getting close to finishing this beast.  Five more episodes is still a lot of work, but I’m 90% of the way there.  Crazy.  I’ve got a couple dozen ideas for episodes, but most of them are on the complicated side, and without a crew in NY, those would be tough to pull off.  Do I just go for the simple ones now and save the complicated ones for post-50in50 filmmaking?  Or do I go for broke?  I’ll probably do a combination of the two.  We’ll see.

I hope you keep checking back.  We’re getting close now.  Very close.

Much love,

BR  1.14.11  1.12am

~ by 50in50 on January 14, 2011.

One Response to “Week 45: The Hotel Ray”

  1. thanks for this Brent – may Ray find his simpler, more sustainable future – may we all. bob

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