Budget Watch: $579.26

The busy days, they have begun.

Saturday kicked off with auditions, which went pretty darn well in that we saw a good number of folks who impressed. (Can’t tell you any more, though, until after the cast is announced, since those who impressed don’t yet know they impressed. I’m sneaky that way.)

The down side: oodles of cancellations and no-shows. Most were due to the snow, which hit hard in Kentucky and prevented several folks from driving north. It kept enough people away to convince us to hurriedly schedule a second round of auditions; we’d hate to miss out on the perfect person for our cast just because of some bad weather. We haven’t set a date – it’s tough to book a free room on short notice – but it has to be soon, since the cast read-through is a mere three weeks away.

Following auditions and a lengthy lunch break, Ryan and I set up for effects tests, with Shane and cast member Jack Burrows helping out. Ryan ran several green screen tests involving chunks of meat and, later, Jack’s skeleton legs (he plays a guy who… um… you’ll find out when you see the movie). The legs looks terrific, although we noticed Robb had accidentally given both legs right feet. Don’t tell anyone.

As for the meat: We couldn’t find a workable non-meat substance, so we went with option two: canned food that can pass as ground beef, but for cheap. We tried several formulas involving chili, oatmeal, sloppy joe sauce, even bread crumbs. The result was a tub of red-orange ooze that smelled like the door to hell and looked twice as bad. (I know, because as the meat “puppeteer,” I spent about an hour with my face next to it.) The amount of foodstuff we used wound up costing the same as it would to just buy beef and make sloppy joe in bulk, so now we know: next time, we go with the real deal.

After the test, I went to check out Swear Jar’s practice/recording space, which they’re generously donating as a place to film the space capsule interiors. Conveniently located on the corner of Crack Deal and Hooker With A Cold Sore, the building will provide us with a tiny but perfectly designed room for free. (Remind me to tell the crew to lock their cars.)

And now, the Budget Watch rundown:

$9.90 for pens and legal pads (for general use), plus a second box of brads (I wound up about six short for the scripts). Shopping for office supplies makes me feel like a grown up.

$13.39 for cans of chili, chili sauce, sloppy joe sauce, oatmeal, and three plastic bowls all for the FX test. All ended up in the garbage, completely unable to be reused, except for half a tub of the oatmeal, which I’ve embezzled.

$28.70 for two sheets of acrylic of various size. More portable – and more affordable – than glass, these will allow us to film the meat oozing its way across a green screen without ruining the green screen. They clean off surprisingly easily considering the mess we made, which means we can reuse them throughout the shoot. In a perfect example of jumping to action without thinking things through, the larger sheet has a circular hole cut into it because I thought it would help with the “puppetry” aspect. It didn’t. At all. We had to plug the hole with plastic wrap. The lesson: always check with your effects man before you start drilling holes in things.

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