Tag Archives: Uncle John

“POST PRODUCTION” by the PRODUCER – Andrea Ajemian

I feel like my life has just been a blur since May.  Once we secured funding for “We Got the Beat,” (something I worked towards for two full years), everything happened so quickly.  From hiring the crew, to casting the film, to securing locations,  we finally got to that first day of the shoot.  That’s the day it all comes together and the magic happens.  Of course, at the time, my mind was spinning.  My uncle had a massive heart attack just a week earlier and we didn’t think he’d make it.  The day prior to production beginning, one of our main cast members dislocated his knee cap (he just happens to be the main breakdancer in the boyband), and one of my grips got into a car accident, in the rented Budget truck, on that lovely first day of production.

My family, who has lost many members of it at far too young, finally got our miracle.  My Uncle John not only survived, but after being told he’d have severe brain damage, is almost 100% now.  Sure, he gets upset if he can’t remember certain things about his past, but he looks healthy, knows everyone, is back to work, and is smiling like he always has.  Mr. Breakdancer came through and although he was told he wouldn’t be dancing for 3 months (keep in mind he was told this the day before he had 2 weeks to shoot his scenes), he somehow moves like Gumby in the film, and does things with his body that I couldn’t dream of doing with two healthy knees.  Oh yeah, and nobody got hurt during the Budget truck accident – thank God!  There were some minor damages, but luckily $7000 in insurance covered the $1000 in damages.  Hmm.  Now that I write that it doesn’t sound like such a great deal.  Ha. (I’m exaggerating on the $7000 of course, but it was pretty close.)

Once production ended, it was sad.  We had over 40 cast members, hundreds of extras (many of them like part of the crew, with us every day), and a crew with volunteers totaling around 40.  I loved all the people around.  Having such a high concentration of talent all working towards a common goal is a beautiful thing.  Everyone worked together and helped to make everyone else that much better at their jobs.  Production ended and people cleared out – went back to L.A. or New York, off to other jobs, back to school.  Kaz, Dave, and I remained in the production office in Worcester, with an office full of so much stuff it drove me crazy.  First thing I did was to have some Production Assistants come in and help clean the place.  That got rid of about 1/8 of the clutter.  Then I donated about 30 bags of 80’s clothes to the Salvation Army, redesigned the reception area of the office with some vintage couches from the film, and slept, for about 3 days straight.

For the last three months, it’s been all about editing.  We now have a solid cut of the film which we’ll be testing with audiences during the next couple of weeks.  Jon and I will review all the feedback and make final decisions on the cut at the end of December.  January and February will be for the audio mix, color correction, and music!  (Kaz has already written and produced over 15 songs currently in the film, but we need more.)

The best news is that the movie is hysterical.  It looks great and it’s funny.  Now it’s my job to sell it and make sure it gets out there so everyone can see it.  No pressure, right?

Uncle John had a heart attack

I know that these blogs are supposed to be entertaining and teach people something about making an independent film. This might be a bit more serious of a blog, but I have to write what I’m feeling. Two days ago, my Uncle John had a heart attack. Heart disease runs in my family. My grandfather died of a heart attack. One of my uncles died of a heart attack. My dad was having heart problems two years ago. He went to the doctor and they did a bunch of tests, including a stress test. He passed all of them. Because of his family history, they did some type of a dye test, where they put dye in your heart and they can tell if there are blocked arteries. Sure enough, my dad had two arteries that were seriously blocked, and they put in two stents. Since then, he’s been fine. So, Uncle John has always been expecting to have heart problems. He’s only 51 years old, works out, plays softball, and is in great shape. The last few months he hasn’t been feeling great. Two weeks ago, he went to the doctor’s office and told him that he’s been having chest pains. They kept him overnight for tests. He passed them all, including the stress test. He requested the dye test, but was told “no,” that it was too invasive, that they were 99% sure he wouldn’t have a heart attack in the next five years. Two weeks later, he had a heart attack.

I realize horrible things happen everyday, but it kills me that this could have been prevented. So, of course they go in and find out that one of his main arteries was 95% blocked and they put in a stent. (They could have done this two weeks ago.) Now his heart is fine, but he has brain damage. Last night, we weren’t sure if he was going to live, and if he did live, if he’d ever leave the hospital bed. Today he said “Hi Julie” to his wife. So, my family has hope. There’s hope he’ll recover. And even if he can’t ever work again, or play softball, if he can walk and talk, and know who we all are, than we’ll get him back. So, I’ll keep praying and hoping and sending my positive thoughts his way. What does this have to do with making a film you might ask? Nothing. But, we start shooting in a week. The actors arrive tomorrow. I’ve worked for 7 years to get to this point, and for 2 years full-time on raising money for “We Got the Beat,” yet right now, nothing matters but my Uncle John being ok. I have a great crew. We’ll get things done. Somehow the movie seems a lot easier today than it did last week.

Somehow, getting insurance, and renting UHalls, and giving actors per diems doesn’t really stress me out right now. I wish we had a different health care system. I wish we practiced preventative medicine more frequently. I wish doctors listened to their patients and were always thorough. Making a movie – yeah, it’s hard work. It takes a lot of people, a lot of love, a lot of time, and a lot of energy, but it’s not that important today. Today I’m hoping for a miracle.