Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Girl of His Dreams

I can't believe that it's been two years since I last wrote something here. 2009 hasn't been a very good year in that my father the jazz writer, George A. Borgman died very suddenly and unexpectedly in October.

The only thing good to have happened this year for me is the making of my short comedy The Girl of His Dreams. My father, who was the executive producer of this enterprise, gave me so much support and encouragement for this project. I'd often times play the dailies for him and he'd roar with laughter.

The Girl of His Dreams all started with an idea that came about early one morning while I was waking and sleeping. That state where you're not really asleep and not really awake. Well, I was working on this idea in that state for a time and when I finally got up I jotted down notes of the idea and things I had developed. This was in November of 2007. I thought it'd make a good film comedy.

I happened to mention my idea on one of my acting jobs on an industrial in November of 2008 and one of my fellow actors and filmmakers later called me and asked if he could make it into a short film. Being my baby, I said sure, as long as I wrote it and could play the "guy." I suggested that my friend could play Rick's sidekick. Well, things kind of fell apart when my friend didn't like the script and suggested it was way too long. It was 18 pages. So we parted company and I continued to develop the project.

With the script completed I needed to cast the film. The hardest part was finding a supermodel looking talented actress to play the lead and her real-life alter-ego. I was on the set of a television pilot down in Rhode Island and saw the woman who had the right look. I asked her if she were union and then I asked the unpardonable question, "Can you act?
I did it this way partly because I wanted to see her reaction, if she hemmed and hawed and bumbled about chances are she couldn't but she just gave me a succinct accounting of her training and resume. She seemed interested in my project and gave me her name Andria Blackman.

Andria Blackman I found out was the New England actress my dentist was telling me about whose picture he had on his office wall. Andria had gotten a nice role in the Dane Cook comedy My Best Friend's Girl playing Ms. Barber in scenes featuring Alec Baldwin and Dane Cook. I'd later see her reel after I already cast her after her excellent audition.

A friend of mine who had said she'd play the smaller role of Rick's real life girlfriend called me a week before filming and told me that she had thought she could do the film but that she couldn't so I had to find an actress fast to replace her. The first person who came to my mind was a talented and very funny union actress that I had met on set a few times. The role was so small, however, that I felt it was rather an insult to ask someone of her caliber to play it which is why I hadn't previously. But now being desperate I asked her. Her name is Casey McDougal. She nicely agreed to play the role. Her agreeing inspired me and I expanded the role some and added a scene which was expressly written to suit her. Casey has had a lot of film experience and has starred in countless independent films including Willows Way and After Last Season. I was really lucky to get her because she's so good at what she does and just so fun to work with. Our joking on set led some of my crew to role their eyes more than once!

It was while filming at a beautiful park that Casey was seriously injured in a fall during a take. Her ankle was shattered and her foot broken. It was totally my fault and I was devastated! In fact, I didn't want to continue filming, but she told me to, "Man up," so the next day I filmed some of the office scenes. My heart wasn't really in it and I flubbed my lines repeatedly. Casey eventually required surgery on her ankle and foot. Never have I seen someone with such a serious injury be so good humored! She's honestly a very very special person. Fortunately, she's now recovered and literally back on both feet!

The last role I needed to fill was that of Chuck Rick's comic sidekick. Chuck had some of the best lines in the script and I needed someone who could play this character with conviction. I asked the original actor who hated the script if he'd like to play the part and he agreed, but he was just so busy, being a popular actor, that in the end I had to frantically find someone else to play the role.

The actor I found was Greg Seymore. We had worked together on Shutter Island and I remembered how funny he was and when I ran into him on another set I said to myself, I've found Chuck! Greg has been featured in several films including the Hollywood feature 21 and After Last Season. Greg was hysterical in his portrayal of the lovable loser Chuck. He'd improvise a lot of his actions and bits and I was assured by crew members that I had made the right choice of actor which I wholeheartedly agreed with. I can't imagine anyone else as Chuck after the great work that Greg did in the role.

I play Rick by the way, but if it weren't for the marvelous cast the film could never have been made. I can't over state how lucky I was getting Andria because she was just so good as Stephanie and Fanny. She played two different roles with distinction. The film is truly an Andria Blackman tour-de-force.

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