The crew welcomes the boats back to the docks after finishing the last scenes in Maine.
The pictures say it all. This is after three-and-a-half weeks of intense filming days for cast and crew (although the producers and I were all-in starting in June, so for us, it's been all summer!) This moment is after 12 hours of getting the last boat scenes in. Fridayyyyyyy!
We had an impromptu party in the parking lot and then it was off to The Myrtle to have some beers and sing some karaoke for the cast and crew for our Maine wrap party.
Now, what's next you ask? Stay tuned, we still have about six more days of filming that needs to commence in L.A. where there are more resources for interior scenes, such as the hospital scenes. The cast and producers are all taking a brief break before driving or flying back, but our story isn't over yet! Some of our favorite crew will be back on set to finish the scenes. We still have some cast surprises in store for you and I've asked everybody to send me photos so we can continue this blog until the filming is complete. For now, enjoy the photos. If there are any copies left, buy The Ghost Trap at local bookstores (it's on backorder on Amazon) or stay tuned to my upcoming in-person book signings, as we post more photos/videos on Facebook and TikTok and Instagram, so please follow!
In another spotlight of the crew of The Ghost Trap film, I present to you Rebecca Myshrall, our Unit Production Manager/Craft Services Queen.
Becca, who is from Portland, had the unenviable task of navigating all of the restaurant/takeout businesses in the Midcoast. Because the weather and tides dictated so much of where the shoot was going to take place, she often less than 24 hours' notice on where we'd be the following day.
"Basically, I was catering and craft services, which is essentially two positions rolled into one," she said. "I didn't really know where to get meals for 28-30 people until I got here, plus we had to have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, dairy-free and soy options."
It's really unfortunate that the bill to incentivize movie productions in Maine was turned down by the Maine legislature this year, as I wrote about in a PenBay Pilot article because our production gave a serious economic boost to Midcoast AirBnbs, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.
Becca said she utilized a lot of Rockland restaurants including Rosalind Thai in Rockland, which was a big favorite among the crowd, along with Oceanside Deli. "They were fantastic," she said. "We loved their pizza. "We also used Rock City Cafe and Home Kitchen Cafe." When we filmed in Northport, she used Dot's in Lincolnville and Stone Pizza in Northport. And in Camden, she said the crew really enjoyed BOWA (Best of What's Around) "They were great."
Becca definitely ran into her share of challenges. One of our film mornings started insanely early--4:30 a.m. and happened to be Labor Day, September 5, so, literally nothing was going to be open at that hour. Except for Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, a 45-minute drive away. "Moody's has been quite wonderful--they start at 6 a.m. but they were able to make us breakfast sandwiches even earlier, which was really sweet," she said.
Dunkin Donuts in Camden was "the only reliable Dunkin' I found in the area," she said. Not everyone appreciated an order for 30 people so early in the morning. With staff shortages everywhere, and stressed restaurateurs/businesses trying to cater to the summer tourist traffic, it's totally understandable.
Now, let's talk about the timing. According to film production rules, the craft services person is required to have meals ready to be served a half hour before the official break time. (Rules stipulate that cast and crew are fed at the beginning of the shoot and every six hours thereafter, on the dot. This meant driving sometimes an hour and a half round trip just to get the meals ready each day.)
"You also have to have snacks and drinks available throughout the entire day or night," said Becca. Then, on top of that, she tried to source different flavor profiles and types of food (Thai, Continental, Californian, etc.) so that the cast and crew would not get bored with the variety.
We already covered in an earlier blog post the night Becca's car was used for a driving scene, then promptly died an hour before she was supposed to get a BBQ going--oh--and in the pouring rain. So, we raced to Hannaford Supermarkets (also a place we sourced from a lot) in order to get the food to crew and cast on time.
"I'm going to miss this crew," she said, despite all of the challenges of her job. "We all just got along fantastically; usually there is a dynamic [on a film set] that presents a problem, sometimes people's egos, but with this crew, we hall had the same level of professionalism. I'm really going to miss the people and this makes me want to get more work in Maine and Massachusetts."
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While the boats were out filming, I took a few moments to chat with Jena Morgensen who works in the Hair/Makeup department under Dept. Head, JoJo Proud for The Ghost Trap.
Originally from Chicago, Jena moved to L.A. for makeup school and got work in the industry, where she has been ever since. "I wanted to be in a lab and sculpt prosthetics, which I still do today, but I went on set one day and kind of got sucked into it," she said.
Given that the film is set in a fishing community, the makeup for the women needed to reflect the real-life aesthetic. In other words, this wasn't going to be a lot of fake tans, fake nails, with a lot of heavy makeup.
"The biggest thing we do when we get the actors in the chair is to make sure they have sunscreen, make sure they have that sun-kissed look," she said. "For Greer and Sarah Clarke (playing Jamie's mom, Donna), we had to put on a little mascara, just so it shows up a little. Other than that, we just used a pretty natural palette."
"With Zak, we just did a little glow-up on his skin; it was pretty easy. I think he was only in the chair for about 10 minutes each time," she said. "But as the film goes on, post-Anja's injury, we make him a little more tired-looking with bags under his eyes."
Jena's favorite medium to work with is prosthetics, which she usually does for creatures and monsters, along with blood-rigging (fake blood)--but luckily we didn't have any of that! She got to show off her skills with Taylor Takahashi's character, Thongchai. The end result of her work is so cool, that I won't reveal it here--you'll have to see it in the movie!
"This is the fun part, the reason why I'm here," she said. "Taylor was a trouper--he'd never been in prosthetics before, and sat with me for about two hours." Her biggest challenge (as noted in a previous blog) was if anyone touched Taylor while she was applying her artwork. After I gave him a supportive pat on the shoulder, Jena looked at me like: "Uh...do not touch." But that was nothing, compared to Zak. "Zak was my biggest challenge," she joked. He literally went up to Taylor and shook him by the shoulders like in a fun, joking way, while I was putting a lip piece on Taylor and it got slightly messed up, so I turned it into a stitch. I was about to put a piece of paper on Taylor's chest that said: DO NOT TOUCH."
This is Jena's first time in Maine and she has been here almost a month. "I love it here, the greenery," she said. Everyone has been ridiculously nice. I don't know what I was expecting, like if it was going to be a New York vibe because it's east coast, or small town vibe, but everyone has been super curious about the film and super nice. Plus I love the spookiness of Maine. I need to come back in the fall."
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It was back to the public landing for two back-to-back lonnnngggg days on the ocean in Rockland harbor with Tall Tails serving as camera boat, Anteres as Jamie's boat, and a safety boat, run by my friend, Aaron Crossman.
Here is the cast and crew hanging out on Jamie's boat (actually Dan Merriam's). The lobstermen took off a couple of work days in order to make this happen. I can't tell you how much this film will ROCK because of all of their efforts.
The prop department, costume crew, and the hair/makeup crew tagged along as there were a number of scenes that needed their assistance. For example, for the scene in which Jamie stomps the crap out of a lobster trap to send a warning, we needed a real stomped lobster trap. So, Ryan provided one of his old ones and Zak got right up on it and stove it right in bub!
For the scene where Anja is resuscitated, we needed a foamy, pink goo to approximate what the lungs would spit up after a near drowning. Here is Jo Jo, using some red dye and healing ointment to get the right look.
Zak here looking every bit the lobsterman.
These two couldn't stop giggling and making fun of each other between scenes.
Zak pretending to put "a ring on it" with one of the lobster banders. This is an actual scene in the beginning of the movie, but here he is just playing around while we wait for the shot to resume (and putting the "wedding band" on two fingers.)
We've had so much fun with this cast and crew. We get the shots and then we have a laugh between takes. I couldn't have asked for a better experience my first time on a film production.
I was riding shotgun on the safety boat and we had to get out of the scene, so why not cruise over to the Breakwater lighthouse for a close up?
On this day, we were land-bound, but right next to the ocean, the entire time.
In this scene, which goes back to the Maine Lobster Festival, Thongchai, Tadpole, and Jamie have an encounter with the Fogerty boys, Ev, Kenny, and Russell.
In rehearsal, a flock of birds interrupted the scene.
Zak, just going with it.
Kip Weeks, a former lobsterman, as Ev Fogerty, and Gabriel Perez playing Kenny Fogerty. This is just a rehearsal scene. We ended up moving locations for the actual scene where the actual exchange between Tadpole and Ev takes place.
This is part of the boardwalk owned by Larry Reed, owner (and an all-around great guy) of Eclipse of The Pearl, who let all of our extras hang out for this scene. Also in this scene is Billy Wirth's nephew, Alec, who is playing Russell Fogerty.
We turned the little park right next to the police station into a side lot of The Maine Lobster Festival and had to decorate it as such. We got real footage of MLF earlier in the summer. Thanks to the Mac Attack food truck, we also got a giant inflatable lobster for this scene!
We're giving a big shout out to the extras who waited all day on set!
Alec as Russell and Billy as Dale. "TEAM FOGERTY"--they're going to make a t-shirt out of it.
Sarah Catherine in costume as Happy, waiting for the scene at "The Maine Lobster Festival" to resume.
Director/Producer James Khanlarian relaxing between shots.
Zak and Greer rehearsing the scene. Michael Tedford, cinematographer, in the background setting up the shot.
So, if you're wondering from the book: "Where is the lighthouse scene?" There isn't one. This is where the book and the script diverge a bit, but we wanted to have an iconic backdrop to the first time Happy and Jamie get to know one another. Introducing Sarah Catherine Hook of Netflix's "First Kill." SC plays Happy Klein, a free-wheeling first mate on a schooner that docks in Camden in the summer and Key West in the winter.
Call time was 4 a.m. I got there at 5 a.m. just as the light was starting to change. Luckily for us, the sky was cloudy and overcast, so it remained a consistent grey over the lighthouse, which is supposed to be a sunset, not a sunrise scene. A little movie magic will change that in post production.
This is the interior of the lighthouse. We got special permission from Bob Trapani, the Executive Director of the American Lighthouse Foundation. He also happens to be an author of a book on the Rockland Breakwater. He and his wife, Ann, stayed to watch the shoot. It's interesting, because Bob is in charge of 17 lighthouses across the state and he initially was not inclined to let anyone film at this lighthouse. Too many people over the years have treated lighthouses as though they are some kind of Disney ride. Not enough focus on the cultural and historical aspect. But through Cheri, Bob learned this was a local Maine novel and script and he graciously allowed us to shoot our scenes there.
We've been so lucky in that rain has held off for most of the shoot--but this remnant of a hurricane day was actually the perfect overcast greasy sky to go with our scenes. We had a beach scene next between Happy and Jamie that was pretty somber and the gray, cold skies complemented it.
The last scene of that long day was the barn scene where Jamie approaches Dale Fogerty to make amends.
This is a great scene if you know what happens in the book. Billy talked with me ahead of time about adding one more line into the script, which I'll keep a secret, but it's perfect. He made Dale Fogerty his own character.
My friend Jack Churchill, a long-time filmmaker told me: "The worst subjects to shoot are boats, kids, and animals." Just ask the production of JAWS.
The crew and cast spent a LONG afternoon into the evening recreating the showdown scene between Fogerty, Jamie, and James Sr. and friends. The tides were strong, the wind, and the waves kept changing direction. The light was everywhere--never consistent.
Tall Tails served as the camera boat. We had to anchor out on the harbor and reposition multiple times over and over to get the shot.
Zak and James hanging out waiting to set up another shot.
At one point, Marine Patrol investigated what this was all about. Ryan shouted across the boat about what we were all doing out there. Then he said. "Hey, you want to play some asshole Marine Patrol guy in this film?" luckily the guy had a great sense of humor. :)
Here's Kip Weeks playing Ev Fogerty and Billy Wirth as Dale Fogerty.
Stay tuned! I'll add more photos. But I'm late and need to get to the set!
Come find me down by the Camden harbor from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I'll be at a booth next the the Camden Snow Bowl people. Would love to sign your books and chat about the film!
It was Dude Day on set! Yesterday's scenes were all about the confrontation between the Eugleys, the Fogertys and everyone in the middle!
From [L to R] Jay Hughley (Paul), Chris Ellis (Doug), Steven Ogg (James Eugley, Sr.) and Whip Hubley, Roger Powers, Town Office Manager.
Billy Wirth, from The Lost Boys plays Dale Fogerty with growling menace as he does a O.S. (off screen) reading of Fogerty on the phone with Roger Powers.
Remember Whip as the hotshot fighter pilot "Hollywood" in the original movie Top Gun? He said he played that character at age 27 and it was loads of fun. He and his wife now live in Maine.
Steven Ogg as the highliner defending his territory.
Scenes inside The Fish House, where the plotting takes place. Standing next to Ogg is actor Paul Bellefeuille playing the harbor patriarch, Don Thatcher as they debate what to do.
The Ghost Trap's breakout star, lobsterman Kurt Winters, whose job during these long scenes, was to stand around and look menacing. We kept laughing in the parking lot when the cast took breaks for set up how much of a badass he looks.
A light-hearted moment between takes with Zak Steiner and Taylor Takahashi.
Yesterday, we spent a full day at a beautiful oceanside cottage that replicates Neal Ames's house. This was the confrontation scene between Jamie and Neal. While we all sat outside in the garage (i.e. hair and makeup headquarters) we could hear Zak go FULL HAM on Neal, (played by Tim Peper). When Tim came out for a break after that scene, I asked if he needed a hug.
Meanwhile, Taylor Takahashi (Thongchai) was sitting in the makeup chair for a couple of hours while Jena Morgensen, Key/SPFX worked her magic to make Taylor appear as though he'd been out of the hospital a week after getting clobbered with a whiskey bottle. (Stay tuned for a special blog on the hair and makeup crew soon). I touched Taylor's shoulder to tell him something while Jena was applying special prosthetics and I got THE LOOK. People, I am going to tell you now. When hair and makeup specialists are doing their thing, do not touch.
We did a company move (translation: moved to a new location) around 5 p.m. that afternoon to set up for the day's last scene--Zak and Taylor sharing a bonding moment. Of course two things had to happen at this point: a vehicle failure (in this case a production truck) and a sudden rainstorm. (Sound familiar? See Day 7) I swear to God, the Powers That Be on this film set really, really have it out for vehicles not working just as we need them to.
But after the rain comes a rainbow, right? And no, that's not some treacly platitude, it really happened!
Just look at that light after the passing shower! It's just radiant. And I'll tell you, if had I just been living my normal life here in Maine, I would have been inside probably scrolling online while a shower passed overhead. I would have never seen this rainbow or the rich, moody light that followed. This is what makes being on a film set so electric--it throws you completely out of your comfort zone and rewards you with moments in life worth paying attention to. (Which I cover in a FB post).
Stay tuned as we post more photos/videos on Facebook and TikTok. We just started an official Instagram page too, so please follow!
News, musings, and events from a Maine coast writer. Stay Salty!