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Life on Tilt Test Shoot

I just returned from a three-day shoot of some test footage of a film adaptation for Life on Tilt. What a process! We had to find a funder, form a creative team (producer, director, writer), hold auditions, scout locations and all the associated pre-production work. It was a fascinating experience. Let me share a few highlights:

Auditions – the director put out a casting call and we had some terrific talent show up. It was a bit surreal seeing actors interpret characters I created for the novel. We even had one self-ascribed "quasi actress" who, after reading the casting call, felt so connected to the role she thought it was written for her!

Locations – we were fortunate to land a hot new restaurant in the area, the top law firm and other prime locations for our non-poker sequences. For the poker sequences, we struck out with Turning Stone & Foxwoods. We thought we hit pay dirt with Mohegan Sun, unfortunately they weren't opening their poker room until too late for us and they were adverse to having a film crew traipsing around only days before their grand opening. Fortunately, I was invited to do a book signing at a poker club near Philadelphia, so I asked if they would mind if I brought a film crew with me. Luckily, they were excited about the idea.

Cast – we cast a great group of actors who brought real life to their portrayals. We had one lineup change two days before the shoot, when the NYC model/actress who was to portray a Russian character had to back out because she was extended on a reality show. Imagine trying to get a Russian actress in upstate NY on last minute notice? Oh, on top of that, the character's name is Suka, which has a particularly bad connotation for a Russian female (think the C word). We were fortunate to land on the person we did on such short notice.

Shooting – makeup, lights, setting up camera angles, resetting shots…there's a lot of standing around on a movie set. We shot 14 hours in Albany, NY before taking a day off and travelling to Philadelphia. Then we shot 16 hours in Philly. End results? About 12 minutes of footage.

Soundtrack – we had a great composer from the LA area put together some cool, original music for this shoot.

Take time to Tilt,

John

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