Truth, Justice and Lollis… Tales of Light & Dark Production Week 7

Halloween is right around the corner and so is the launch of the very first episode of the TALES OF LIGHT & DARK.  This past summer has been a roller coaster ride.  It’s been a while since I have worked on a project of this magnitude.  Even though there were only four episodes it was like shooting an entire movie.  Working on a small budget was definitely challenging.  Working around schedules and shooting only on the weekends was definitely limiting.

From taking extra care to review talent’s special needs to managing time more effectively; so many valuable lessons have been learned.  We packed a lot of scenes into our shooting schedule that would have benefited from having an extra day of shooting.  Budget limitations really prevented that from happening.  In general, I learned a lot financially about what will make this series more scalable in the future.

I’m just about wrapped on post-production for LOLLI GIRL.  Though it has some black humor throughout, I’m taking a risk kicking off the series with something that is definitely more light hearted.

1235944_10151824300841465_310010963_nEach episode of the TALES OF LIGHT & DARK will get progressively darker in order to bring fans into this new world we have created.  This is a big departure from my previous movies.  The Black Rose Killer doesn’t exist in this world.  There are a few returning characters very subtly worked in.  For example, SINS OF THE FATHER’s Peter Jacobs (Rich Redmond) and THE TENEMENT’s Jimmy Wayne Garrick (Mike Lane) both appear in OPEN CALL.  It was a difficult decision to make as to how much of a tie this series would have with the Fairview Falls universe especially since many of the actors from my past movies play new characters. I figured if it could work for Kevin Smith and for the AMERICAN HORROR series where same actors frequently play different roles then it could work for me.

Initially each episode was planned to be completely standalone much like TALES FROM THE DARK SIDE and THE TWILIGHT ZONE which were among the many anthology series that inspired TALES OF LIGHT & DARK.  Since I’m a huge fan of serial dramas I couldn’t resist creating some ties between the episodes.  LOLLI GIRL takes place parallel to the other stories.  There are some obvious and hidden things in the episode that will tie it to the other episodes.  Only a sharp eye will catch one of them.

OPEN CALL ties more closely with the finale, GEOKILLING than TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY does.  There is something for everyone – comedy, drama, horror.  It will be interesting to see which episode resonates the most with viewers.

LOLLI GIRL kicks off this Halloween with Chelsea Roach in the lead role.  Chelsea will return again playing the role of Ophelia in January’s TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY.

1174999_10151824300506465_303277483_nWe wrapped this episode three weekends ago.  The day started off with Chelsea Roach (LOLLI GIRL) finally getting to meet the character’s creator, my friend and co-worker, Kim Bailey.

1229919_10151824300496465_675778630_nSometimes you just need to break the monotony of the daily grind.  Kim is great at doing that.  If it’s not “talk like a pirate Tuesday” then it’s some other wacky thing.  That’s how Lolli Girl came to light.  One day on break, she held up a pencil and just started speaking like a wide-eyed British girl.  One thing led to another and that pencil became a lollipop and the character transformed into a homeless woman.  We threw around ideas for months until the Tales of Light & Dark became a reality.

It was a lot of fun to finally see the character fully realized.  Chelsea did a fantastic job and really got into character and really had a lot of fun with the character.

Lolli MickandEd5Ed Shelinsky and Mick Fevola went from being practically extras in OPEN CALL to featured characters in LOLLI GIRL.  There creative input led to some of the funniest laugh out loud scenes in the episode. I stuff that gets thrown at Chelsea as they speed away in Ed’s Humvee seems endless.

Lolli MickandEd4Lolli MickandEd7Jude Pucillo appears in this episode as a nasty wino adding to his appearances in OPEN CALL and TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY as the ex-husband.  Jude plays a great mean drunk that I have a suspicion will return in a future episode:)

1240540_10151856173301465_276558016_n20130908_130533Mark Pozzuto (FAIRVIEW FALLS) returns in a hysterical scene that takes place at a train station (pictured above in the TALES OF LIGHT & DARK title teaser photo).  If you look closely you can start to see him crack up as he walks off camera.

Stewart Thomas makes his first appearance as Father Peter which strikes a nice balance compared to his more commanding presence in TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY.

LolliFatherPeterThis was the first time in years that my daughter Jessica appeared in one of my projects and if all goes well we will be collaborating on an episode next season. This also marked the first time that my niece and nephew have ever appeared in any of my projects.  It was a lot fun having Jess, Kate and Donovan on set and they all did a terrific job.

Lolli Kids1Lolli Kids2Lolli Kids5We shot all but one scene in the same location and then moved to the salon. Walking into the salon was like walking into a Dr. Seuss story.

553032_10151841430491465_1904842106_nIt was a perfect fit for LOLLI GIRL full of things for Chelsea to interact with.  The location was magical.

20130908_192714We had met Dani Masterson early in the morning so she could do the makeup for Chelsea and Jude and then regrouped with her later for a scene that she appeared in.

1175174_10151824300501465_290519573_n20130908_19295020130908_193013Dani has been so awesome to work with throughout production and was really nice to host an after party later that evening for the cast and crew to unwind.  My wife even bought me a cake to celebrate our last day of shooting.

1240585_10151836737146465_1982759203_nThe party didn’t last long though.  Upon returning Chelsea to the train station I was involved in a hit and run car accident.  Thankfully the other driver was eventually apprehended and arrested.  I suffered some injuries and ended up going to the emergency room but am doing a bit better now.

20130909_173827 Large Web viewIt has been touch and go as I plug away on post-production for this season’s episodes.  I’m taking a much needed break this weekend to write this blog and because, as luck would have it, my video that is less than a year old died last week.

The struggles of an independent filmmaker never end.  Please continue to check us out on Facebook and the central one stop place for all your TALES OF LIGHT & DARK needs,  If you like what you see please spread the word.  If you really want to support our indie films and series you can click on the “Vimeo” logo which will take you to Vimeo.  You’ll see a Tip Jar button where you can donate to us.  Funds will help keep this series going strong.  Here’s a direct link to the trailer that you can share –

Be sure to check out the latest photos in our Facebook LOLLI GIRL photo album.  More will be coming leading up to the Halloween launch.

Until next time,

Stay Scared!

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