Here it is, folks. It's finally available online. This is my modernized Romeo and Juliet movie I made with my students. But before I post the videos, let me go into some production details (since I didn't do a Production Diary like I did with my Odyssey movie).
- This movie took forever to finish, mostly because there were issues with students staying after school for one reason or another. In fact, this past week was the last full week of school (as in Monday - Friday, not necessarily all full days), and we were having to rush hardcore to get it done. And Jill, my Juliet, was out for both Monday and Tuesday for health reasons. Then, on Wednesday, when all we had left was the Party Scene and her half of another scene, she had roughly 5-10 minutes to film everything she needed to (and she actually didn't even have that, as her parents kept calling, wondering where she was at. She kept telling them, but they wanted her to come home rather quickly due to her aforementioned issues). So we had to super rush her part of the party scene. I ended up actually missing a couple lines of hers, but I made it work. She also didn't have either outfit she needed for the two scenes, but I added in a throw-away line to the Party Scene, and she had a close-enough shirt for the other that it worked.
- I kept pushing back the Party Scene the entire time we were filming, mostly because it was a big scene and I wanted to do it right. But when the time finally came, time escaped me, and I couldn't decorate the room, get masks, or... you know... people. I had a few extras (which you pretty much see), but that was it. So I essentially had to film in the corners of the room and add in sound effects to make it seem like there were people in the room.
- In other words, the Party Scene sucks. I think the initial conversation between Romeo and Juliet is good, and that went really fast in filming, mostly because it was the audition scene for them and they remembered all their lines from way back then. But every other part of it is pretty lame... even I'll admit that.
- The guy who plays James Capulet (Lord Capulet from the original story) can't really act and has about the blankest expression through all his scenes. The reason I cast him as this character, though, was because he actually volunteered to do it, and I'd been having trouble getting him to do much of anything all year. It was an opportunity not worth passing up.
- You can probably tell the differences in editing between this one and the Odyssey one. I purchased Final Cut Express 4 as opposed to just using iMovie. I also learned some tricks of what to do and what not to do from the first movie. Hell, I even learned some other tricks during the making of this one (like changing angles for certain shots in filming... it helps keep the editing from being too weird or choppy. I still have some issues for that here, but it's less noticeable, I think, than the first movie).
- There is an insane amount of clothing discrepancies in this movie. The worst is from the introduction of Marcus to the party. After filming the Marcus intro scene, Layne (my Romeo) got that shirt stolen. And when we began filming the party scene, he was wearing his white shirt--both of us forgetting he needed a black one of some sort. So we compromised and put a black jacket on him that he unzipped and took off to reveal the white shirt underneath. It's really crappy, but again... it's all part of the Party Scene...
- The guy who plays Ben stopped cooperating very well toward the end of the shoot, so I wrote him out of the scenes we had left that he was in (namely, a big death sequence and the Party Scene). You can't really tell he was supposed to be there for one, but the other is slightly noticeable. I'll give you 3 guesses as to which.
- I actually wrote a large chunk of this script. I had my students write Acts 1 and 2, which follow the play pretty closely scene by scene. But by the time we got around to filming Acts 3, 4, and 5, we were already long done with reading the play. Not to mention time was short, and I didn't have any to spare on them writing it or me filming anything extensive. So I actually found a way to shorten Act 3-5 into 5 scenes (2 scenes for Act 3, and 1 for both 4 and 5, plus an Epilogue). I also wrote all 3 Prologues and the Epilogue. And, of course, like with the Odyssey movie, I did keep a large chunk of what they actually did write, but I did alter or add some stuff of my own.
- My artistic take (writing and directing) on the story is an over-the-top, ridiculous, cheesy love story that just ends in a crazy, violent, melodramatic depression. In other words, I wanted to make the characters of Romeo and Juliet (specifically Romeo, though) as cheesy as possible to emphasize how ridiculous the overall story actually is. My Juliet is kind of a straight-girl character in her reactions to Romeo, though I couldn't have her be like that completely, because she does go along with it. But everybody else around them is pretty much like "WTF?" the whole time. So if something feels cheesy/corny, it's supposed to be. And then the end is hardcore.
- Collin, who plays Larry (the Friar Lawrence character), just cracked me up in this movie. I turned the character into a stoner. His introduction scene is one of my favorite pre-climax scenes of the movie. Not really anything special to say here... just felt like sharing that.
- It was a complete coincidence that Kash (Marcus) was chewing gum in every scene he filmed, but it turned into an interesting character quirk (even to the point of funny--i.e., in the character's final scene).
- During the scene where Adeline (the Nurse character) shows up to talk to Romeo alone about him and Juliet getting married, keep an eye on Peter (the guy with Adeline) in the background. He gets closer and closer to the two of them without you ever seeing him move, and I found that hilarious. Also, the chirping sound when Adeline and Romeo turn around to stare at him blankly was NOT a sound effect. Amazingly, there was actually chirping in the background as I filmed that shot, which was a hilarious coincidence.
- In that same scene, but in the first half, you'll notice the clips with Marcus and Ben are fuzzy. This is because this scene was filmed over about 3 different days, and the day I filmed the Marcus/Ben stuff, the lights had been turned off back there, so I had to turn up the brightness in Post, which caused the fuzziness.
- Fun Fact: The hand that smacks Marcus in the back of the head in that same scene does not belong to Layne (Romeo), because he wasn't there that day. In fact, there were a handful of scenes filmed where only part of a conversation was filmed and the other part had to be filmed later.
- Fun Fact: The guy who plays Marcus had often been compared to a mini version of me during classes. His character is our interpretation of Mercutio. I play Mr. Prince, who is our interpretation of Prince Escalus. In the play, Mercutio and Prince are relatives. To add to the perfect casting choice, he actually is a class clown, never passing up the chance to make a joke, even to a fault, just like Mercutio.
- Fun Fact: The Opening Credits sequence took about 3 days to film, and I'm surprised it turned out as well as it did... the only real discrepancies come from the cars in the mini-parking lot we're in, if you can even tell.
- Fun Fact: Just like with the actual play, there are quite a few puns spread throughout the movie, some more subtle than others. See if you can find 'em :P .
- Fun Fact: Almost all the people who played a minor role in the previous movie received a bigger role in this one. Though some moved up either slightly or stayed the same (Layne (Romeo) moving from Supporting Character to Lead and Kash (Marcus) staying a Supporting Character). Also, Collin (who plays Larry) did actually play a prominent role in the first movie, but you never really saw his face. That's right, he played the Security Guard wherein you only saw his feet through the whole thing.
- Fun Fact: Both movies have a character named Larry. They also both have a character named Penelope/Penny, though the name is never stated in this movie. And, finally, a character with two initials as a name (O.D. in the Odyssey and A.B in this one... though, again, A.B is never named in the context of the film).
- Besides the last names of Capulet and Montague, the only names to really stay exactly the same are Romeo, Juliet, Peter, and Prince (though it's taken from a title to a surname). The following is a character list of names that were altered from the original source to the modernized version:
Sampson and Gregory = Sam and Greg
Abram/Abraham = A.B (ironically being played by a guy whose name really is Abraham)
Benvolio = Ben
Tybalt = Ty
Lord and Lady Capulet = James and Penelope Capulet (In my head, I called her Pen Cap)
Lord and Lady Montague = Nicholas and Elizabeth Montague
Paris = Pierce
Rosaline = Rose (but like the play, she's never actually seen)
The Nurse = Adeline (pretty much the only name that's not remotely similar, because the character isn't even given a name in the play)
Mercutio = Marcus
Friar Lawrence = Larry
*Note: I turned the Capulet/Montague parents into siblings for my version, as parents wouldn't really make sense in the school setting.
So, all in all, there were a lot of behind-the-scenes issues (tons more than I even mentioned here, including casting replacements and one instance where an Assistant Principal thought something we were filming was a real fight), and even I wasn't sure if we were going to finish (my students pretty much gave up long ago and were about as surprised as I was that it actually finished). But, lo and behold, I did get it done... and now here it is for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy (It'd probably be best to full screen it)!
And here's about 10 minutes of Bloopers. They're pretty funny, especially the ones involving Layne/Romeo.