Archive for April, 2008


Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
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Yesterday was the day I was afraid of most. A fight between 2 rivalling gangs. Everybody warned us that the situation might escalate and even the people who come out in the scene weren’t sure if they could stay calm. They told me that they have to take it serious if someone is saying a wrong word or doing the wrong signs. Then it wouldn’t matter anymore if we are shooting a movie or not, then they have to fight for real.

After some problems at the beginning with the lights the others started shooting in the car and left me with 40 gangsters. I should keep them calm and try out some fighting for the scene… That’s really funny, specially when you know how I look like and how stoned and/or drunk most of them already were. In such a situation you can do only one thing: talk to the person that looks most dangerous (this is probably the person that has the most power) and control the situation with his help. So we started practicing fighting when I got a call from Barbara. She is on her way together with the police and I have 1 minute to hide all the people, the dogs, the drugs and the weapons. PANIC!!! I turn to Viscious and just say “The police is coming, we have to hide!”. Viscious starts shouting and within a minute I and 40 gangsters are in the backyard in the dark and completely quiet. The police passes by as nothing is going on and we are saved. That’s what I thought at that time.

Half an hour later Barbara is dividing the people into groups when Saint passes me a cell phone. I should talk to a mother so that her son can stay a little bit longer. I was just thinking “What?” After saying “Hello” a woman starts accusing me of kidnapping her son and that she is going to call the police… Perfect that’s exactly what I need right now. After finding out who she is talking about I grap the kid and drive him home. Saint was thinking we could need more people and took a 14 year old boy from a fancy neighbourhood with him, without telling his parents. After talking to the mom for another half an hour to stop her from calling the police (serious: what do you answer when someone asks you why her son smells like he had smoked weed?) I got back to the set.

There the fight was already going on, they hit each other as hard as they could and someone got already injured (luckily I bought a first aid kit at HEB for $7,99 – I knew it was a good investment). Then Barbara started to put fake blood (which is fucking expensive and which we took with us from Austria) on everyone. It looked really crunk and they couldn’t get enough from it. Obviously the fight was already big fun for them as they started laughing during fighting and Barbara had to tell them to look more serious. During a break they even started rapping and took a picture. When we finished at 3 am I was more than relieved that everything worked out that good. Lets see how I can handle it with the ticket. But anyway this shooting day was definitly one of the most delicate but most beautiful ones.


Monday, April 14th, 2008
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Today was gonna be the big night: The big fight between two gangs: Southmost versus Cameron Park. Meeting point: Fuego’s backyard at sundown. While Haake and Andi set up all the lights, the gangs already arrived in their cars and pick-up trucks. Rap Music in the air. Lots of ‘em were already drunk or stoned. Two girls started to cuss on one of the neighbours. The problem: The neighbour was gonna give us power for our lights. But because of the girls, he no longer wanted to give it to us. Great! But Andi, all desperate to get enough power for the lights, just used some of the plugs from the other neighbour’s garden. While doing that, he almost got bit by some aggressive dog and could just get away by jumping over the fence as fast as he could…. Wow! And we had not even started filming yet.

But before we started the big rumble scene, I had to shoot a real short scene with three actors in a car. Lalo was driving the car and it was me, Gaile and Jesús on the back seat while Haake was sitting in the front. Lalo was just heading to Boca Chica when Jesús lit a joint and we started shooting. One minute later, we got stopped by the police. Let me tell you that much: I will never forget the following minutes.

The cop wanted to see Lalo’s driver’s license but Lalo replied he didn’t own one. What? Oh my God! All these times shooting scenes where Lalo was driving and he never mentioned a word that he didn’t own a license. Oh well, in addition to everything we didn’t have any papers whatsoever with us. But it got even worse! Jesús, who was sitting next to me, was actually on the edge of getting arrested. He was not even allowed to be in Brownsville. Months ago he was busted in San Antonio for drug dealing. He was supposed to stay in San Antonio until his hearing in court. Being in Brownsville ment getting arrested. In addition he had a joint in his hand. Of course he had already turned off his joint but he had no idea where to hide it. He just looked at me all nervous and then just threw the joint in his mouth and swallowed it.

I tried to explain everything to the officer but he didn’t wanna hear me talking. He explained that the car was confiscated and told us to get out right away. Right then I heard somebody say “Hi Barbara!”. I turned to the side and saw another officer now standing next to the car. He looked familiar to me but I had no idea who he was and why he knew my name. “I went to your casting at the City Hall”, he said, “You’ve never called me back. I guess I wasn’t that good as an actor”. Wow, I knew that was our only chance to get out of this trouble. So I explained him that I was actually gonna call him for a part in a scene next week. I also told him that I had a part for his wife in the movie….And oh my God, that officer was so nice and just gave us a ticket for some minor thing and let us go. He also gave me his phone number to call him the next day and deal with the ticket and everything.

I felt relieved but the excitement of the moment had not yet reached an end. The officers wanted to make sure that we took the car back to Fuego’s house and not drive any further with it. Therefore they followed us. While we were heading to Fuego’s house, I just thought: What if they see all the gangsters with their bandanas and dogs, all stoned or drunk, in front of the house?! So, I called Constanze on the cell phone. I told her everything as fast as I could. She had about one minute until we arrived with the police. Until then, she had to hide all the people, cars and trucks behind the house. No rap music from any of the car speakers. No sound from any of the guys. Time was running. 30 more seconds to clear the set… Well, I guess the rest is something Constanze can describe best.

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Sunday, April 13th, 2008
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Today’s scene: A wild teenager garage party on a Saturday Night.

Problem No. 1: David forgot to call the extras.
Solution: I called everyone I know and begged them to come.

Problem No. 2: Aimee, our main actress got sick and could hardly talk.
Solution: I made Aimee just smile and nod and cancelled all her dialogues.

Problem No. 3: Before we were even done with all the scenes, Aimee had to leave because her parents wanted her home.
Solution: We shot all the pictures with Aimee and the extras real quick and kept the ones with Aimee alone for some other day.

Problem No. 4: Somebody stole Aimee’s make-up and money.
Solution: There is no solution. I need a drink.


Day 66 - HORROR DAY, THE 30th

Saturday, April 12th, 2008
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Case history: Barbara decided to film our chase scene downtown in an alley. Haake’s comment: “Impossible.” Barbara’s response:“We’ll defintely film there.“ Haake again: “Then I need more light euqipment!!!” – Both look at me – and another nightmare began… After days of making phone calls and negotiations I manage to get the local firedepartment to help but not before one of the chiefs has explained a whole firecar to me, and that after 16 hours of shooting and at 1am. Does any of the team members thank me? Of course not.

Then the shooting starts and 2 actors don’t show up. After 1 hour of desperate phone calls with Triste, he manages to find one of them and also to find a replacement. Unfortunately the new guy wears completely the wrong clothes. Barbara: “WE need a costume, WE have half an hour ’till we shoot this scene. (Note: Whenever Barbara says or writes “WE”, it means “I”. So “I” have half an hour to check a costume. Might be interesting to read all her blog entries again, right?) So, where do you get brown dickies, a white muscleshirt and a bandana from, at 10pm, within half an hour? All I can tell you: after all the experiences I have already had during the last few weeks of shooting, that was no problem.

The shooting started well ’till RJ had to throw up from running and CiCi’s Pizza (Note: for $4,90 you get “all you can eat” at CiCi’s Pizza, but I have tried it and it wasn’t that good).

Then the Minivan we use for the chase scene is running out of gas. Haake and Andi decide to drive to the next gas station (3 minutes/ 3 blocks away). After waiting for them for 10 minutes, Barbara gets nervous. After 20 minutes of waiting she gets hysterical, ’cause our actors want to leave – obviously nothing is gonna happen anymore. So how to stop them? Luckily WE had the saving idea and recorded some freestyle rapping with them, which actually came out great! (great stuff for the Making Of). After another 30 minutes Haake and Andi are still not back, so I drive to the gas station to check up on them, but can’t find them anyway. I drive back and after another 5 minutes they finally show up, no idea where they have been. Barbara is justifiably pissed and I’m completely beat. Two hours later I drop off the last actor and take a deep breath. I have survived another day.

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Saturday, April 12th, 2008
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When Barbara told me 3 weeks ago, she wanted to shoot the chase of our movie in a more than 200 feet long alley; I thought that must be a joke… a bad one.

In fact it was a great location: cool wall structures, a barbwire fence, a parking place which was very close to the alley. Of course she wanted to shoot all over the place.

But there was a small problem. Andi and me are the only persons of the technical crew and we only have the equipment that fits into a minivan, nothing more and no generator at all. So I didn’t see a real chance to brighten a whole street. Thank god the fire department, which has its central right there could help us out with a big fire truck with integrated flood lights and some cables. So it was enough light and I was very lucky about that.

When we shot the chase for three times, we had a break because of RJ’s big vomit. That was the point of time for Andi, Gaile and me to drive to the gas station to buy some cigarettes and a can of coffee for the director. That wouldn’t have been a problem, if we hadn’t had to stop in a traffic jam, and if I had not have forgotten Barbara’s coffee. But Barbara and Constanze knew, how to entertain the gang people; shooting photos with them, telling great stories about Europe and so on.

I think, Barbara was a bit upset when we arrived. She did not drink her coffee. It must have been a kind of protestation, I’m sure.

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Friday, April 11th, 2008
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Ricky got shot out on the street today! No, nobody was threatened with a gun for real or something similar, but this time it was part of the film shoot. Today’s scene: Carlos and his friends driving by Ricky and shooting at him with paintballs. Of course, some people who live around that street got kinda scared. That’s why Constanze had to walk from house to house to tell the people not to call the police and explain them that we’re just shooting a movie and not killing people.

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Thursday, April 10th, 2008
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No, my blood pressure-drops won’t help. Not if you put thirty teenager girls in front of a huge mirror and tell ‘em to put make-up on. Wow, what a party!

It was supposed to be an easy scene in a girls’ restroom but it turned out to be a real challenge. Permanently, girls came up to me to ask if they looked better with curly hair, pony tail or a red ribbon in their hair, red or pink lipstick, green, yellow or red striped shirt, blue or purple bag to the orange sneakers or yellow pumps…. Once I answered a question, three more appeared. Wow, I should read more fashion magazines or kill myself with an eyelash-curler.

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Thursday, April 10th, 2008
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Today I had the feeling to die. Today’s challenge of mine: I need a school bus for TOMORROW. Because of that I have already spoken to the responsible person from BISD weeks ago, sent them all the required documents and wrote faxes with confirmations from our school. They told me it would be no problem, but all of a sudden they were not reachable anymore…

Today in the morning I desperately drove to their office and found out that they have gone on holidays and will be back in 3 days. After a little panic attack I started calling the Filmcommission, churches and youth groups. I drove to Cameron Park to find out who the owner of the school bus was which has been parked there for a couple of weeks. I drove to Southmost and went from sales place to sales place to see if I could rent one of the busses there, but all school busses were already sold to Mexico and of course the new owners weren’t reachable…

At 6pm I get the redemptive call: I will get a schoolbus from IDEA Public Charter High School. A lot of thanks to Mr. Cantu and the Filmcommison which made the contact! You really saved tomorrow’s shooting day at the very last moment.


Wednesday, April 9th, 2008
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Today we went back to the house of the two mexican ladies to film some more scenes – of course not without having some troubles. First problem: we need a Dad for the scene, but somehow forgot about him… So the ladies started to call all their neighbours to see if someone has time to come out in the movie (actually that’s how easily a carreer can start, but not that you think we are already totally desparate and take anyone, the guy doesn’t have to say a word and just stands in the background…). After an hour of calling we really did get someone.

Next problem: one of the actresses forgot her costume at home, so Barbara went with her to her house to pick it up. There she explained all the family pictures to Barbara for more than half an hour. Pretty interesting, but when you are already pressed for time not really helpful. Third problem (or challenge how Haake would say it): the car ride. Therefore see the video:

The rest of the scenes happend without any more incidents (putting aside the fact that Barbara forced me to crawl behind an old fridge and to pull out the kabel from the electrical outlet while shooting a scene. I got an electric shock, but couldn’t cry as we were filming…).

What I liked most was the scene with the egg. The Mexicans have this crazy superstition that you can eliminate a bad spirit with the help of an egg. By rubbing off the body with the egg and then to put it into a glass of water under the bed, you can get rid of it. Really crazy…


Tuesday, April 8th, 2008
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Had Hamburgers with jelly for breakfast. Just to make one thing clear: Europeans would never mix meat and sweet. However, we’ve reached a point, where we just don’t care anymore. As long as we get through the scenes, we’re happy.

And today’s scene was great: Aimee and her Strutter-Team practiced on a sports field while Patty, Zuly, Carol, Manni and Lalo watched them from the bleachers and made fun of them. It was upper-class strutters against the ghetto teens and it just turned out great. The only challenge: When Aimee realized she was getting a tan in the sun, she kinda freaked out. But not only her, the other strutters also panicked. All I can say: Sunblock made my day.

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Moved Permanently.