KODT Live Action Series: On-the-Set Diary Day 1

Yesterday was surreal. I made the long drive down from Chicago to Brandenburg, KY feeling like an expectant father rushing to the hospital to witness the birth of a child. My good (bestest) buddy, Craig Zipse was riding with me. Between sessions of blasting tunes on my iPod playlist and downing massive quantities of Monster Energy drinks we discussed the movie that was to be filmed over the course of the coming week.

I was nervous. Was the script the right choice? Was the casting the best choice? (I had confidence in all the actors/actresses as far as their talent but I wasn’t’ sure if even *I* knew how these 2d-dimensional (and let’s be honest, poorly drawn) characters should translate to the world of the living. As a fellow reader, I know everyone has their own voices in their heads for their favorite characters.

I had concerns about the pacing. Would the jokes fall flat. Were we over-looking something?

Now, at the same time I was giddy as a school kid heading to grandma’s house on Christmas morning. I knew it would be exciting. And I knew it was going to be magical. To see something, I had a hand in creating and working on for almost two and a half decades come to life — what an opportunity. What an HONOR!.  Even more so because the project had been made possible not by out-side investors looking to make a buck or put their thumbprint on the property, but by the fans themselves. Every dollar pledged toward the Kickstarter was a vote of confidence saying, “I believe you can do this!”

Anyway, long story short, Barb, Craig and I arrived on the set to find B.A.’s table five chairs assembled around it. It was eerie. Did I say it was surreal?  Director, Ken Whitman came in and asked, “So…? What do you think?”  I didn’t have the words to be honest.

We had been instructed to bring items flesh out the set to make it look ‘lived in’ and more importantly to make B.A.’s table look authentic to the comic and to what most gaming tables look like. Barb got out her old, dog-eared character sheets, I brought out my big jar of dice, and Craig set to work drawing a map. Snacks were brought out and partially eaten. Empty/crushed soda cans placed here and there. We even set up Bob’s ‘dice rolling zone’ at his place at the table. 😉

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As shooting began, Barb was in charge of watching the script to make sure the actors got the lines right, Craig stepped up to help with sound, and I checked everything out for authenticity. When the actors began going through their run-throughs before each take, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Once the cameras began rolling, however, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how these incredibly talented actors brought my old characters to life.

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The expertise of Ken Whitman, Tim Gooch and the cast and crew had us able to wrap up early. Back at the hotel, we were still on a high. I could barely get to sleep I was so pumped up by what had been accomplished. My greatest expectations were realized and more. My only hope is that the fans will be at least half as pleased as I am.

As a wise man recently told me, “Nobody sets out to make a crappy movie”. Every movie, like a cake, starts out with the same basic ingredients. The magic is how those ingredients are mixed, baked and prepared. Let me just close by saying I felt a LOT of magic on the set on day one and I’m stoked by what I’m seeing. 😉

I’m writing this as I sit on the set on the start of Day 2. The crew is setting up for today’s scenes (in B.A.’s kitchen). I’ll report again tomorrow.

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  1. […] George Fields on KODT Live Action Series: On-the-Set Diary Day 1 […]


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