Rejection! That’s something every filmmaker gets a lot of yet never gets used to. And when rejected by a film festival, my last thought is to actually attend that festival. Well, in the case of the Palm Springs International ShortFest, attending the festival lead to the most progress Adonis has made so far.
The visuals of Adonis are over the top. Some of the characters are over the top. The very scenario of Adonis is over the top. Clearly, the music soundtrack needed to go in the same direction to complete the assault on the senses. That could only mean one thing: kazoos!
When I think of my hometown, Hanford California, thoughts of air that smells like cows, water that smells like sulfur and Superior Dairy ice cream drift into my head. But as a filmmaker, I also think of ideas of what I could shoot there since I consider Hanford my own studio backlot with treasures and talents waiting to be mined.
On April 1st, I got a phone call from Monika Skerbelis, director of the American Pavilion Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes. She said “get your beret ready because you’re going to Cannes!” Considering it was April Fool’s Day, I thought this could be a very cruel joke. Amazingly, it was not a joke and that started the adventure that is still a bit of a blur: Adonis at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Where did you get all those hot girls?! Are they your friends?” I’ve been asked these questions a few times now after showing Adonis. Well, I wish they were my friends. Adonis is blessed with beautiful and talented actors because we made a concerted effort to make that happen. Thanks to our Adonis casting directors, we found the talent the old fashioned way: an audition.
You need to have good sound in your film. That’s always been the advice to filmmakers and it couldn’t be more true. Nothing loses the audience faster than bad sound. Beautiful cinematography, touching story, and powerful acting performances are all rendered useless if you can’t hear the dialogue. Sound is where the amateurs are instantly revealed, especially on short films. With all the time and effort put into making the short film Adonis, this was something I was determined to do right. Adonis has great sound because I put it into the hands of great people.
When I am asked to speak to a group about filmmaking, I usually wear my favorite t-shirt with my hero on the front: Wile E. Coyote. I think all those Warner Bros. cartoons are brilliant but I really connect with Wile E. Coyote. In fact, as a filmmaker, I think I *am* Wile E. Coyote.
After years of planning, years of buying dollhouses and model railroad buildings, months of pre-production, a week of shooting, and three long years of green screen compositing, Adonis was finally ready to be introduced to the world. The first notification from a film festival came all the way from Athens, Ohio. The Athens International Film and Video Festival promised to be a different kind of film festival, and it delivered on that promise.
Ernie Hudson is in Adonis. I could probably stop the blog right there. That’s an amazing and true statement but I’m going to continue to slobber on about how incredible it was to have THE Ernie Hudson as part of the short film Adonis. When people find out that he is in the film, they always ask incredulously, “how did you get a Ghostbuster?” The short answer is: I asked.
After Jimmy the dog was cast as Adonis, the next most important move was to fill Adonis with actors that made the story believable. Casting the actors was the key.