Quiet on the set! “Clove Smoke” in production.

November 13th, 2006

Well, last night was a first for me for a couple things, the second of which was a complete surprise: It was not only my screenwriting debut (actually story credit with script consultation, but most of the dialogue is right from my short story), but also my acting debut, a cameo with two brief lines of dialogue.

I also have the contract in hand now, so I can go ahead and broach radio (or actually blog) silence.  Last spring, I met up with Robert Mims, a new producer looking for material for a short film.  I sent him a copy of “Clove Smoke,” a short of mine that’s been well-received and even translated into Spanish.  Next thing I know, I’m looking at a screenplay adaptation by Robert’s writing partner, Justin Queen.

A thumbs up, and next thing we’re in the fast track.  Principal shooting finished yesterday at the House of Shields in San Francisco, where I’d gone both to get to see the actual production of the filming of my story, and to set myself up for a cameo as background.  Stephen Watts, the director, then surprised me by offering me the role of the bartender, since it gave me a speaking line and also offered some contrast visually since I’d known the color palette the production designer was going with and I’d dressed to match it, adding the red that the principal actors weren’t wearing for the scene.

I also got to meet the actors, Anissa and Jason, who are playing Aurora and Jimmy, a strange bit of serendipity giving them the same initials.  They were great, both in terms of acting and in looking the parts.  The second, in fact, even better than I’d pictured them, thanks to Anissa’s wardrobe (she’s also a model) and Kirsten Larsen’s skill as production designer.  Richard Cascio, the director of photography, was also getting some amazing shots, or at least from what I was getting to see literally looking over his shoulder–one shot was from the bardtender’s perspective, so I was standing right behind him so Jason could get the right line of sight to my eyes for when we later reversed the shot.

And I stepped on a light box one of the grips had left behind the bar, mistaking it for some sort of platform you’re supposed to step on.  However, one fluorescent bulb is not a disaster and it was fascinating to watch a full production up close.  The dolly shot curving around the bar was particularly amazing.

What was also amazing was the location.  The House of Shields is a hundred years old, literally, being built in 1906 and opened in 1908 (delays caused by the great quake and fire).  Edwardian lamps, the bar from the old Palace Hotel, coffered ceilings and so on.  Gorgeous. House of Shields interior

5 Responses to “Quiet on the set! “Clove Smoke” in production.”

  1. kateelliotton 13 Nov 2006 at 11:33 pm

    That is so cool!

  2. Constance Ashon 14 Nov 2006 at 9:35 pm

    No wonder you are stoked and excited! Anyone would be.

    But, I’m confused!

    I also have the contract in hand now, so I can go ahead and broach radio (or actually blog) silence.

    Coz you’re breaking radio silence?


    1 : to make a breach in [breach a wall]
    2 : BREAK, VIOLATE [breach an agreement]
    intransitive verb : to leap out of water [ whale breaching]

    vs., on the other hand, #1 following, or #3:

    1 a : to pierce (as a cask) in order to draw the contents; also : to open for the first time b : to open up or break into (as a mine or stores)
    2 : to shape or enlarge (a hole) with a broach
    3 a : to make known for the first time b : to open up (a subject) for discussion

    As said, I’m very confused now (which, as we all know happens so easily to me)!

    Except for — Congratulations, muchacho!

    Love, C.

  3. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 14 Nov 2006 at 10:47 pm


    Eep! Yes, I meant both “break the silence” and “broach the subject.” Did I mention that the movie shoot ended at 4:30 AM and I got back at 6?

    I also have great sympathy for bartenders now and must tip them more. After spending six hours on my feet behind a bar only pretending to serve drinks, they definitely are are deserving their money.

    And yes, Constance, Kate– Very happy and excited. This is all very cool, and it’s also a great pleasure to know that almost all of the work is out of my hands at the moment. I might be called back to provide voice tracks to dub my lines back in (it was a rainy night, making for more car noise than usual, plus there was a fire truck) but it’s all very good and fun.

    Looking forward to what the composer comes up with too.


  4. Constance Ashon 15 Nov 2006 at 3:31 pm

    It’s fun, to see how much delight you are feeling!

    Good stuff in this grim world must be enjoyed for all it can be.

    Love, C.

  5. LauraJMixonon 06 Dec 2006 at 12:17 pm

    Signing in awfully late — that is way cool, Kevin! Very exciting.

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