Wednesday, May 02, 2007


First, to my faithful readers, a sincere apology. I had tried very hard to keep up with things on the Dennis the Menace Christmas shoot in order to give an accurate depiction of the making of a low budget film and, with a few notable exceptions, I think everybody was enjoying it. But the last few days of the thing devolved into such a rapid fire series of illnesses, ghastly temper tantrums and random dismissals that I had a hard time actually focussing on getting back to the hotel at night let alone following along with my diary. So in order to bring everybody up to speed let me just do a quick precis of the final few shoot days.
After the school days, most of our kid cast were wrapped on the movie and there were a lot of tearful goodbyes and it seemed like it got colder and colder in old Montreal and then Kim Schraner got really really sick and I had to shoot around her which turned out to be a good idea because it forced me to stage a scene with Dennis that satirized The Omen and has ended up being one of the highlights of the movie --

-- but then the rest of the camera department got really really sick and then the same grumpy minority of the crew decided to have yet another mutinous meeting and even though we had scheduled to shoot the movie in 22 days we had some of the crew whining again about going beyond 20 days so we paid them an extra time and a half day just to be nice--

-- but not a single one of them said thank you and they didn't even say thank you when RJ Wagner graciously waived his "turn around" time so we could wrap early on the final day which we did and when it came time to say goodbye to Maxwell, our 'Dennis', he wrapped his arms around my neck and said "I'm going to miss you, Ron" which made me have to leave set for a few minutes to compose myself and then when I came back--

-- to my complete un-surprise my First AD simply vanished without so much as a goodbye which I suppose I can understand since he basically imploded during the last few days of the shoot and yelled at everybody in his department to the point where they were ignoring him and bringing all the paperwork and information directly to me which is a "no no" in the professional film world --
--but hey it got us through the last day and then the production bought a lovely spread of food and drink and t shirts and I bought fabulous Veuve Clicquot champagne and while most of them enjoyed it the same grumpy faction decided not to drink any of it because they were "taking a stand" against how horribly they felt they were treated --
-- and then they didn't bother to show up at the wrap party which was fine anyway because it felt more like a wake than a party and most of us fled early and i ended up at my usual strip bar to say goodbye to the boys which turned out to be surprisingly sad, especially when they all lined up for a toast to the success of the film which says a lot about how much classier the strippers are in montreal than SOME members of that crew--
-- and then on the final night we had a fabulous dinner with RJ and Lon and the rest at this great restaurant called Globe which, if you are ever in montreal, you must visit because although they serve martinis in hideous little mugs they pour them very very liberally which, at the end of a shoot like this one was, is a very very good idea if you ask me....

I packed in about an hour and a half the next morning and, after a quick "good riddance" to the dreadful Russian Whorehouse which had been my home for the past two and a half months, headed for the airport, thanking modern technology for the iris scanning ID machines which let me blithely bypass the huge lineup through US customs and immigration in a minute flat, and i collapsed into my big comfy chair in first class and, two bloody marys and a long nap later, I was home again in Palm Springs as if nothing had happened...
Except I had a house full of people waiting for me to celebrate Christmas...! ...ex models.......cheese thieving ne'er do wells......moguls and ex-politicians......and people off the streets looking for a free meal!!

Fortunately I had done all my shopping online, so everything was wrapped and neatly stowed under the tree which my delightful boyfriend and sister had put up; they, and Janie's bff Erika had also decorated the entire house and it was so beautiful it actually seemed as if my cool Palm Springs White Artificial Christmas Tree had actually grown bigger while I was away. Of course I discovered later that my delightful boyfriend had actually destroyed my original Christmas tree by flooding the garage while doing his laundry, but then had replaced it without telling me...But in spite of this, everything looked great and if you've never spent Christmas in a hot climate, let alone a desert, you can't imagine the pleasure of opening gifts on the Big Morning sitting outside by the pool in shorts and t shirts.
For a boy like me from a small nowhere village in northern Canada, this is as close to perfect as it gets....


Blogger lynne said...

Awww, Ron. That was a sweet ending to a sorry saga. I hope the editing has gone well.

We're looking forward to reading more about new projects (and to the release of the film!).

"Isaac's mom"

6:30 AM  
Blogger Mike Browne said...

Ugh. The AD team sounded like a bunch of maroons. Perhaps a team from BC would have been a better choice. ;)

Can't wait to see this one. I remember you talking about it during "All She Wants" last summer.

Have fun Daddy.

5:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

colour timing on "dennis" went well...

10:27 AM  
Blogger lynne said...

colour timing?

2:57 PM  
Blogger ron oliver said...

hi lynne - thanks for the note! actually the color timing message was from my brilliant director of photography on Dennis Xmas, mr kim miles. In spite of being malaysian, he is also i believe a genius. the movie is, btw, great and I will blog more about it later! xo, RO

12:20 PM  

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