Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

Meat Locker Interlude

Taking a short break from the Star Wars Celebration V postings while I gather more thoughts and photos. In the meantime, the final director’s cut of our 48 Hour Film Project submission is now online. If you’ve got eight minutes, you’ve got time to visit … The Meat Locker.

I’m going to write about making the movie and the Cedar Lee screening below, so you probably want to watch it first. And if the embedding doesn’t work, here’s the YouTube link.

Spoilers in …

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.one:

Since I’ve already summed up the weekend and the creation process, I wanted to share a couple notes here regarding things that are only in context if you’ve watched the movie.

The title: We had absolutely nothing in mind while writing the screenplay, but when we were finished, we wanted a title that a) had a sort of ’70s hard-assed-but-cheesy cop-flick title but also b) hinted – just hinted, mind you – that there was something here about a cow. Nothing really clicked. In fact, we called it a night around 3 a.m. with the working title Rare Justice. When the whole team reconvened around 7 a.m., it was writer Joe Wack who walked in and said, with no preamble: “I’ve got it.” Point is, while the title obviously was inspired by The Hurt Locker, it was only long after the writing was done that someone said, “Wait a minute, isn’t that movie about a bomb disposal unit?”

The cow: We had a cow suit available, and we used it. And while we threw around dozens of cow jokes in the early writing, in the end we decided it would make a better movie if we simply played the whole thing straight. (I think the only half-joke nod we left in was Frank’s description of the bomb as “a modified O’Leary.”) There’s this hard-drinking, bitter, divorced guy on the force, see, and, well, he’s a cow. One of my favorite moments comes just before the reveal, when we see the close-up of Frank’s hoof on the motorcycle handle – because the bell around his neck ringing at just that moment, right before the cut to the full-on shot, was totally unplanned. And yes, Frank is a guy. And yes, he has udders. Maybe that’s what bothers The Lieutenant so damn much.

The chase: Perhaps one of the shortest chases in cinematic history – 8.9 seconds, I believe – this was a great scene to shoot, since it came toward the end of a very long, hot, exhausting day, and because we got to work in the quick stunt-double sight gag. For the record, Hilly’s stunt double donned the very costume she had been wearing. Not an identical costume in a larger version – the same clothes. Hilly was played by a slim 13-year-old girl – something her stunt double was clearly not. And Keith’s post-production editing of this scene, from Frank’s study of the bomb to the tackle, is just incredible.

The screenplay: The whole experience was a ton of fun, but as a writer, my favorite stretch of the weekend was that Friday-night-into-early-Saturday collaboration session. I’m maybe a bit strangely proud of the work we put into writing this. I think we hit the tone we wanted as far as shouting out to the cliches of the genre while creating something unique, and I liked puzzling through situations and character backgrounds and figuring out how to layer different pieces of the story and even >gasp!< work some metaphor in there, too.

The music: I still find bits of the score looping through my head, thanks to Kevin MacLeod, who writes this sort of thing and shares it online at Incompetech.com.

The Cedar Lee world premiere: There were 33 films entered in the Cleveland 48 Hour Film Project, and ours was one of a dozen shown on Thursday, Aug. 5. The screening was a blast. We got laughs where we wanted them and several strangers told us afterward that they had included us in their voting for Audience Favorite. (Each of the three screenings awarded one of these, and figuring that all the participants would likely vote for their own movies, the balloting required exactly three unranked choices from everyone.)

Honestly, I thought The Meat Locker held its own, considering none of us have any professional moviemaking experience. Two films at our screening clearly stood out, especially in terms of production – one of them, in fact, won the overall Best Film award as well as the Audience Favorite from our screening – but I thought our effort put us in one of the next two or three slots.

Still, we didn’t get nominated for any of the awards. I obviously would have liked us to get a writing nod (none of those three nominations came out of our screening group), but where I really felt shafted was the “Best Use of Prop” category. I mean, come on – Frank ate the flowers. And yes, Joe did, in fact, chew up actual daisies for that shot. That’s commitment.

In the end, yeah, it’s a goofy little movie, but it made for an unforgettable experience.

Next summer: The Meat Locker: Special Edition. Spoiler alert: Hilly Shoots First. (Noooooooooo!)

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August 21, 2010 - Posted by | Current Affairs, Fiction, Film, Ohio, writing | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tony Pacitti, JRBooth. JRBooth said: Got eight minutes? Want to see a movie I co-wrote? Aw, c'mon: "The Meat Locker" – now online! http://ow.ly/2sQBN #48hfp […]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Meat Locker Interlude « Cornfield Meet -- Topsy.com | August 22, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] I co-wrote a movie. […]

    Pingback by Where We Were, Where I Am, What’s Ahead « Cornfield Meet | January 2, 2011 | Reply


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