For six long weeks THE PREACHER’S DAUGHTER film took over Houston, Alvin and the Clear Lake area. Despite falling two weeks behind and suffering drastic changes in crew, we managed to pull it off and get the darn thing in the can – and it looks amazing to boot!
Production problems are bound to happen on any film set – it just comes with the territory. With lots of moving parts and moving people, bumps and bruises are inevitable. In the case of TPD, the bumps were a little more common and the bruises a little more painful. When the first day’s work was actually shot in two days, we knew we’d be playing catchup for the duration of the shoot.
But not all the problems were related to schedule. Instead, they were sometimes minor inconveniences that led to major delays. Instances beyond our control, like a rainout on a day scheduled entirely outside or the generator shutting down half-way through a night shoot. At one point, it seemed like the entire cast and crew had caught the same illness and due to the nature of “catching up” we were all constantly exhausted, scrambling just to complete the day, and more prone to making erroneous decisions.
All that being said, the collaborative effort of the film set as a whole fought to finish this film and finish it right. As production ebbed and flowed, the movie became something greater than we’d all anticipated from the beginning. Exceeding our expectations, the production value will serve the film greatly as we move forward into post-production.
Throughout the course of production, lots of other great things were happening with my films that I was unable to be present for. AUDREY THE TRAINWRECK won consecutive awards at Sidewalk and IndieMemphis, the former being one of my absolute favorite film festivals; EARTHLING was screening all over the world, winning the B-Movies, Underground and Trash Film Festival in The Netherlands and screening in Spain at Sitges, arguably the top fantasy festival in the world. The day after my birthday (which I celebrated on set), I flew to France to rep EARTHLING at Utopiales in Nantes, France – a wise decision as no one else could make it and we ended up winning the festival. It was a welcomed break but I was eager to get back into the movie upon my return.
The final week of production the crew was supercharged and anxious to finish up with a bang. On our last shooting day, we began at 8:30 p.m. I was on set most of the day before taking a Krewe du Lac party bus to RenFest in the morning. Sipping Bloody Mary’s on the long drive, falling asleep wasn’t an option. I was lucky to catch ten minutes during a fierce jousting session at the festival. On the ride home I was far too amped up to nod off. And then, immediately as we landed back in the Clear Lake area, my partner in crime and I were off to the wrap party for the movie. That span of time, like most of production, was a complete blur – and I’m the better man for it!
Now, in the final month of the year, I intend to focus on other projects I’m involved in, future endeavors and wrapping out the year. Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced a day before I turned in this article; and LOVERS OF HATE made the list – it’s up for the John Cassavetes Award. Our official ribbon cutting at the Texas Theatre takes place on December 9 and Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert will do the honors. Houston’s own Ron Jackson, who played a key supporting role in TPD will be making the trip with me and serve as a special guest, given his portrayal of the FBI Spokesman in Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” Additionally, there will be guest appearances from Gary Mack, curator for the Sixth Floor Museum, and Henry “Hank” Horn, Jr. – one of the first officers on the scene at the Texas Theatre to arrest Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963.
I’ll be back in Dallas to usher in the new year, as we’re hosting a New Year’s Eve party – “NYE: 1931” – at the Texas. Featuring the comic stylings of Neil Hamburger and authentic 1930s era music from the Singapore Slingers, party-goers will catch a glimpse of life at the Texas in the 1930s. Between now and then, I plan to catch as many outdoor screenings of classic holiday films at Discovery Green as I can. I also plan to sit back and relax as much as possible – and you should too!
The SCENE Film & Food Columnist, Adam Donaghey, is an award-winning film producer from Texas. His work has been seen at festivals and special screenings all over the world. Adam resides in Kemah. Find out about Adam’s films at www.adamdonaghey.com and what he’s eating at www.scenelive.net.