When Success Changes People

I am sure you’ve all heard the charge before: “Success changed him.”

Obviously some changes are bad, but others are necessary.

A good example of spectator envy can be found in football.  When content to watch football on television with all one’s buds, sitting around drinking, staying up late, eating potato chips and offering arm-chair advice, one’s friends are safe and unchallenged.

But what if one wanted to actually play football instead of watch it?  Assuming it the goal was within one’s reach, one would probably cut back on the beer, start working out, get good sleep, practice the majority of day, shift one’s study from hot babes on cable shows to game strategy, spend endless hours perfecting the nuances of one’s team position and lastly…not be around on Sunday to watch football with one’s friends.

No, you would be on the field playing instead.

Usually out of envy, your friends would pine your absence, lamenting your success at joining the football team: “Success changed him.”

They would sit around and bemoan your ulgy transformation, when you were just like them: fat, lazy, voyeurs of athleticism, content with their detached and their casual judgment.

In fact, they might even (consciously or unconsciously) try to lure you back to the couch with promise of free beer and potato chips.  They might even grow resentful when you decline, establishing your preference for grander plans.

They would, of course, be offended.

And blame you for your success.

The moral of the story is this: some people are inert, and refuse and resent any energy applied against them to dislodge them from their complacency.

Safety is addictive.

Just a thought.

The Disobedient

There is a place for the disobedient, the rebellious and those detractors who draw a black pleasure from derailing the well-intentioned, hard work of others… and that place should anywhere else except your set or place of business.

These people are lice and will club you over the head with your own good intentions and extort their pound of flesh for any sleight, real or imagined.

Avoid at all costs.

But more importantly, don’t let these petty day-players steal your joy or dislodge you from your peace into a more appropriate rage they surely deserve.

It’s hard, trust me, but forgive them and move on.

Dispose and flush.

Shroud ADR

Bold choices in varying the vocal ranges in the lower, middle and upper registers, effects, adjusting character’s timbres, inflections with Spanish lexemes, stress, pitch, tones and choral arrangements are all yielding results that elevate the soundtrack to Shroud far above and beyond the original sound acquired on set.

For this work, we are working closely with the very focused Johnny Marshall of Marshall Sound Design in Farmers Branch, Texas.  A veteran of music and sound mixing, Johnny brings a Hollywood level of technical understanding, education and precision to this very important and final phase of our first film.

His familiarity and expertise has been a strong guiding hand in mixing Shroud‘s stellar soundtrack.

Where possible we have recalled original cast to work with them to improve their delivery and perfect their performances, with only a handful of actors who are unavailable, uninterested or too unreasonable, dissenting from this crucial stage of post-production.

With little more than a week remaining in our ADR sessions, we will soon wrap our temp track for the film and submit it to various interested parties.

A special shout out to Nicole Leigh Jones who played Lady Victoria Celestine.  Nicole did an amazing job of recapturing the depth of her performance through a very long and arduous ADR marathon for her lead character.

Great job, Nicole.

Jacques-Marie-Emile Lacan

I still don’t know what to think about this guy.

Like most of the more esoteric underpinnings of 20th century psychoanalysis, half his stuff is wonderfully nuanced and the other half just seems pure bunk.

Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. had way too much time on his hands, so he wrote Dune and a few sequels.

Lacan had way too much time on his hands and he seems to have penned endless seminars that are really (let’s be honest) engineered to frustrate, obfuscate and disorient.

Some people just invent a bunch of nonsense to justify their job, one that should have ended a long time ago. Lacan strikes me as a bureaucracy of one.

I need more wine.

Bipolar Disorder

This is a very serious disorder that creates deep, penetrating and uncompromising paranoia in those people who suffer from it.

I’ve known two people who were bipolar, and I am pretty sure I’ve met a dozen since, and there is something just plain scary how utterly out of control these people are with their emotions. They ricochet from beaming joy to venomous spite on a dime.

A breeze can change directions and send these people spiraling into a frothing, self-destructive tailspin.

Empathize, but void if possible.

More Rare Talent – G. Russell Reynolds

If anyone brings the state of acting to its perfection, it is G. Russell Reynolds. With regard to acting, one does not watch Russell act, one experiences it.

Russell is punctual, professional, athletic, dedicated, resilient, eager, clever, innovative, stubborn, maleable, and capable of deep transformations.

His precision is matched only by his tenacity, his tireless search for the sleek and stylish summation of any scene in which he is a part.

Simply, a great actor whom we were pleased to work with, and so hope to do so again.

Rare Talent – Nicole Leigh Jones

When we decided to do Shroud, we were very optimistic about our ability to tell a good story with compelling dramatic elements and brave art direction.  Like any first film, it has been a long painful process, a mixed parade of brilliant successes, stunning achievements, unforseen setbacks, bewildering reversals, endless obstacles and finally — sweet, sweet victory.

We were very fortunate, given the ambitious nature of our first film: we worked with a lot of amazing people who understood this was our first major motion picture, and kindly forgave us the many missteps we made along the way.  Many, who had made films before, offered us advise and guidance on many issues and aspects of the filmmaking process we either didn’t know about, or anticipated only in part.

We broke all the rules and reached as far as we possibly could.

Make no mistake, it was arduous, at best. But the great talent we surrounded ourselves with got us through it.  We owe a great amount of thanks to the cast and crew of Shroud.

Also, like any business venture, our production was infiltrated by some persons who are best described as incompetent, while others were posers, passive aggressive, prickly, predators and some were just plain paranoid.   Despite our best efforts, we failed to weed out these people before allowing them to work along our more generous and accommodating cast and crew.   For our lack of judgment, we owe a great apology to the cast and crew of Shroud for forcing them to endure some plainly unprofessional behavior brought to both the production and post-production phase of our film by these people.

It is worth noting that some people are just deeply fractured, and in places not easily fixed.  These people corrupt the hard work of their peers with suspicion, hearsay, slander and accusations.  Despite the many extreme measures we made to promote a creative and safe environment — meeting as many demands and expectations as we were fiscally capable — some people simply preferred insults, injury and attempts at intimidation.

These people are so perversely biased toward their own interests, that no amount of diplomacy, negotiation or accommodation can or will please them.  Instead, they prefer their minor tyrannies to the more advanced human tier of partnership.   They keep their cold souls warm only through the thick blanket of arrogance in which they wrap themselves.  Their belief in their own sense of entitlement is chilling and palpable.

Fortunately, these people are incapable of subtlety, and invariably play their poor hand in front of everyone, allowing us to finally see them for what they are…and more importantly, what they are not.

Yet, there are many we had the privilege of working with that did not behave so boorishly.  Instead, a few of our cast and crew literally stand as examplars of professionalism, kindness, and cooperation.

One such person is Nicole Leigh Jones.

Possessed as she is of many flawless features and faculties, one might easily assume she is as cold-souled as many others in the entertainment business — I can assure you she is not.

Nicole, more than anyone else on the set of Shroud, demonstrated untiring dedication to our film, despite the long development, grueling hours, remote locations and demanding dialog of the project.  As impossible as it may  be to believe, her great beauty and her rare talent are exceeded only by her compassion and her sterling character.

Thank you, Nicole.