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Saturday, January 17, 2015

L.A. Nites: Episode 3

L.A. Nites: Episode 03

Your Work Comes to Life

Once you've done three it becomes real. One cigarette doesn't necessarily make you a smoker but three, well...

But this photo is hella funny.
...you may as well.

Since this was the third episode, we knew we had a series on our hands. Previous to writing and filming this episode we only had a set which is a small difference but different none the less.

Don't ask me why
In order to accomplish things you've got to trick the brain into believing that it's done more than it has

This episode was as far as Lawrence and imagined in his original concept. When we started, L.A. Nites was this: a guy meets this mysterious girl and she's killed because of a new drug on the streets of Los Angeles. The opening shot, seen below, is the fulfillment of Le's original vision.

By Lawrence Le, Caleb Manci and Erik Peterson
Howie under the pier

This shot was nabbed under the Santa Monica pier with our good friend Krysten Jorgensen, who played Howie. Web series fun fact: you're going to be lucky to be getting people to fill roles for you so a stand-in is probably out of the question. When we wrote that we found Howie's body on the beach, we had to tell the actress that we killed her character and then get her to agree to film her body on the beach.

Still from L.A. Nites
She's going to wake up, right Mommy?

This was the second time where I was officially creeped out by what we had written. Since Howie's death was the only part of the show that Lawrence had created, we opened the episode with it and then asked, "What now?" Again it's funny how these things come about. Our friend Tim was going to have a Hallowe'en party that week....

Monkey mask on roof
Tim Leavon, Actor/Comedian

At the time he lived up in Burbank and had access to this fantastic roof view. He was throwing the party because he was moving out. If we didn't shoot that weekend, we would never be able to use it as a location. So we wrote the roof jumping scene, a monologue which I knew Tim could knock out of the park.

L.A. Nites is supposed to be funny
The monkey mask was his idea

There were a number of optional cut aways that were written into the script but in the end it turned out that we didn't need them. The skyline of the Valley and Tim's delivery was more than enough to carry the shots. Every angle from that roof is gorgeous. 

Episode Three still, Burbank
Emmett (actor/writer Caleb D. Manci)

It was at this party that we met Carolyn Vasko who ended up playing Jewel in episodes 5, 8 and 9. Actually it was on this very same roof. She and Nate had driven out a couple of days previously to see if L.A. was something they wanted to do. Nate is the character standing to the right of Emmett in the roof scene.

this is not a photo of Nate because we already saw that side of the roof
Fascinating, yes, tell me about all the minor characters....

The most interesting part of the shoot for me was getting to hear Tim deliver the monologue that we had written earlier that week. He's an incredibly good actor so was able to breathe a ton of life into it. I'm grateful to him personally because Tim took so much care with his performance.

background image, intro from the Reanimator
Going up to the roof

We wrapped this shoot fairly quickly. Tim was the one that suggested the monkey mask and subsequently it was the reason that costume-y costumes became part of the show and why we ultimately ended up at the costume shop in episode 7. At the end of this episode we used the device I created to zoom out into the larger world which brought us to the detective and his follow-up investigation in episode 4.


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