Thursday, October 26, 2017

We Got our Wheelchair!!!

I cannot believe it! We got this amazing all-terrain wheelchair for our wheelchair race scene! We have a huge thanks to give Don Swenson, a dealer with All Out Access, in Ramona, CA. He is letting us use this chair for free! The trick will be transporting it from our house where he will be dropping it off , getting it to the City of Hope for filming, and then getting it back to Don's dealership in Ramona. Anyone have a trailer we can use?? Sounds like a job for U-Haul.

I cannot believe we have this weekend off. I will enjoy the sleeping in, but I would enjoy more the feeling of finishing this movie. We have two more weekends in November to finish, and the final filming and wrap party on Sunday, Nov 19th. It is all coming to a close, and the mixed feelings of exhaustion, sadness, and relief are interesting!

More later. just wanted to share our great w/c news!!!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Last Filming for October

The final countdown will begin in November. We only have 5 more days of filming! We will be taking a Halloween break then back on November 4th. It is strange to think we are nearing the end of this adventure. One thing I have noticed is just how tired emotionally and physically the cast and crew has become. It is rough to give up your weekends for three months. The lack of down time is definitely taking its toll. I was surprised to learn this sense of exhaustion is common in the film industry. It comes naturally enough from the work pace, the continual work of organizing and re-organizing schedules, and the pressure to learn lines and to accell in your job or roll; but something we don't realize is the anticipatory grief  of Having to say good-bye to individuals you now consider friends, and the toll the film itself takes on all of us emotionally. We all want to be tough and professional, but when you are forced to deal with death and dying issues every weekend, it can take its toll. The very material that has drawn us together is wearing us out emotionally. It is easier to blame the physical issues than to accept we are re-working our own personal losses. I don't know how the actors can be so emotionally vulnerable in their rolls and draw on their own experiences to convincingly cry and appear heartbroken. I feel that they do this so well because they are drawing on some deep hurt inside them. The crew cannot help but relate and they begin their own journey of facing their grief. It is rough. We have so many reasons to feel down. I am hoping the weekend will give all of us some time to re-charge and finish this amazing project. I will be forever grateful for all of the wonderful individuals who came together to make my dream of making this movie come true.
Now get some sleep!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Thomas Lives

In an effort to attract local Hospices to support our movie we decided to use one of the patient scenarios to show how supportive and helpful Hospice can be when a terminally ill patient wants to leave the hospital. We amended the course of Thomas' heart failure to allow him to stabilize and explore being transferred to an in-patient hospice or skilled nursing facility with hospice covering his care. We felt this was important information to share and would allow us the opportunity to educate more individuals about Hospice services. This change will see Thomas more alert and enjoying his Navy award and kazoo serenade. I also like the idea of showing not all Palliative Care patients die in the hospital, nor do they die soon after admission. In most cases we help make their lives comfortable and we help them feel valued and cared about for years before they reach this point.

 I will be taking on catering duties this weekend. I am a bit nervous about that as I could never do the amazing job that my friends from Out-patient Clinic did. I will give it my best shot. Giving up almost every week end to help is a lot to ask of anyone, and sometimes it feels like you will never get a weekend to yourself again! So I want to thank my friends for all of their hard work! I would have never gotten this far without you!

We are off next weekend because of cast availability and Halloween celebrations. That leaves us 2 more weekends in November and the final filming and wrap party on 11/19! This is so hard to believe!

Thanks for everyone's support!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Final Schedule Posted

We finally have a plan to complete filming! We will film this weekend, take the weekend of 10/28 &10:29 off because of cast availability, and then film the next three weekends in November ending with an 11/19  wrap party that will start after the final "cancer survivor celebration" scene. We have a perfect set and oddly enough it is called the Cooper Auditorium! Filming will start at 2:30. We have Cooper until 9pm, then the partying will need to shift elsewhere. I feel a sick day coming on for the Monday following this party.

As I write this I am filled with a mixture of relief and saddness. I will try to focus on making the time we have left together special. This is exactly what I focus on for my patients!! I know there is still time for problems and hurdles to overcome but we are now really close to the finish line, I am hoping  we will handle what comes our way.

So, save Sunday November 19th! We will need a crowd to cheer Niko on and we welcome all friends and family to help us celebrate our completion of an amazing film project.

Keep all prayers and good thoughts coming! We're in the final stretch!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

We May Actually Do This!!

A draft of the final filming schedule just got posted. I know that a lot can happen over the next month but, I am beginning to believe we will actually finish!! The final group scene is tentative for Sunday 11/19 in the Cooper (how cool is that name?) Auditorium at City of Hope. So save the date and start telling your friends too. We will need a crowd. It is the Survivor's Celebration scene where Michael gets to sing!! We are planning a pot-luck wrap party to follow. More details to come.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Light at the End of the Tunnel

I want to thank everyone for their input into the name change challenge. I got some great ideas. Seems almost any title has been used at some point. No final decision yet if we really have to change. I am hoping the tag line "Its all about the Journey" will help us stand apart from other Resilient Hearts titled films.

On to filming, we finished our first weekend back at City of Hope. It was nice not to need to turn the air conditioning on and off and to not worry as much about inconveniencing someone by invading their home. I am so grateful to my friends who let us film, I know it was a challenge for them!

Filming this weekend went well. Allen organized the filming of multiple scenes to use in the introduction for the film, and we made it through even though our plea for extras ended up being only  eight. I can appreciate how rough it is to get out of bed on a Saturday morning, I know even I thought about just going back to sleep! But, we made it, thanks to the cast and crew taking on multiple roles. I wanted to give a special shout out to my boss, Dr. Dale and his wife for showing up to help. Also, I want to thank Sorin for joining in while he was on-call. So I hope our audience will be kind when they start counting how many times the same person appears in different roles.

I cannot thank the wonderful nurses I work with from the outpatient clinic. They order and bring in the food,  set up , and cleanup. They also do walk-ons and help man the home base by watching equipment and providing directions to lost cast and crew.We could not make this film without them!

We met for a few hours after shooting yesterday, and I think we have a schedule that will allow us to complete filming by the second week in November as planned. We just have to accept the bumps we will hit. Giving up weekends is tough for the cast and crew too. I just have to go with the challenges and believe it will all work out.

 I want to thank Niko for staying and helping with the schedule. His belief in this project, his willingness to help the other cast members with their scenes, his calmness with the chaos, and his ability to do it all with humor has made Allen and I  want to list him in the movie credits as an Assistant Producer.

All of cast and crew have been amazing, but I think we are getting tired. Three more weekends to go. There is definitely a light at the end of this tunnel!!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Calling All Extras!!

Sorry for my lack of blogging. Things have been crazy trying to organize the final shooting schedule with everyone's personal schedule. We came up with a plan to film the opening scenes and credits and need lots of extras. So, if anyone is available tomorrow between 10am and 5pm please come to City of Hope. We gather at the Biller Center in the main medical building off of Duarte (1500 Duarte, Duarte, CA). No one is expected to stay the whole time, just pop in when you can and take your chances where we are at with filming. All of the cast, crew, family, friends, and City of Hope staff are welcome!!

I am so appreciative of the cast and crew for their dedication and patience. It's rough when some of the cast cannot make a filming. So many are great with their advanced notices, and unfortunately for us, but good for them, are getting other acting work. I am happy for them but we are now at the point that I am forced to write them out of certain scenes as long as it doesn't change the flow of the story. This is painful, but I found in most cases it actually made the scenes better. I don't want anyone to panic, our core cast is irreplaceable. We are just trying to wrap things up by the second week in November at the latest and have limited options. This is the rough part of filming!

I want to thank Jeanne and Bob again for the use of her beautiful home last weekend . She helped make the scenes very special.

We are starting to talk to potential investors and looking at post production issues. We are going to have an awesome film we can all be proud of!

Thanks for all the prayers and positive thoughts. I am starting to feel that we are in the home stretch!!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

A New Name?

We finished the last home scene of the movie, now the remaining 4 weekends will all be at City of Hope. Just pray we can finish with only a few minor obstacles. The shoot went well at Jeanne and Bob Lawrence's home. I am so grateful she agreed to let us invade her home. Saturday was only rough because of the weather. The high temperatures made Niko suffer as he played all of his scenes in his red thermal footed sleeper, but he and all the cast and crew were real troopers. It took 52 bottles of water to get through the heat but we did it. It is miserable when temperatures reach into the 90s and you cannot run the air conditioner because of the background noise it causes, and you cannot open the windows because of all the noises outside. So everyone kind of cooked for a few hours! Today was much better and we finished early so there were no temperature issues to deal with. Allen opted to film the interaction between Valerie (Rupinder) and Jeanne as they pass each other in their cars. Jeanne had one line to say after she sees how upset Valerie is. Sounds like a simple scene right? Well, when the cameras finally were set to film a firetruck and rescue unit come roaring down the now blocked street, so everything had to be moved. A neighbor two doors down had to be taken to the hospital and the fire engine needed to keep the motor running. The decision was made to move the filming farther down the street. That's when the neighbors started to come out and ask questions. So a scene that should of taken a few minutes to film was now stretched to two hours! Nothing is ever easy! It was great how patient everyone was. We got through the scene and finished up the house scene in record time thanks to Jeanne and Bobs support. We are planning to have a producer meeting tomorrow to talk business planning for the movie and what it will take to finish filming that is now running into November.One last thought about the Movie: seems the title Resilient Hearts, has been used for a recent documentary about heart disease and for another documentary about Africa. I am thinking about changing the name of the film to avoid any confusion. Any thoughts?? I'm considering:

  • Heart's Journey
  • Life's Journey
  • Laughter and Tears
  • The Shadow of Hope
  • Transcendence

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Let's Hear it for Jet Lag

Almost back, at least I am home physically, just not sure what time it is, why my head feels like it's in a fog, why I can't remember where my keys are, and why I am so exhausted but can't sleep. Let's hear it for time travel!! Once I have a lucid moment I began to look forward to the coming weekend to resume filming. Then I space out again. Just want to thank Jeanne for letting us film in her home. She is the best!! Well sorry for the short note. I will rally I promise, now where are my glasses!!