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Merrily, Merrily - Cast and Crew

I'm fully cast for Merrily, Merrily. I found a great actress named Emily Burgardt to play the lead. She's actually not at all what I had in mind for the character when I started the auditioning process. As a matter of fact I wasn't even going to call her back. I was re-watching the auditions tapes from the first round and while fast forwarding to a particular actress I wanted to look at I just happened to stop on her. For whatever reason I saw her performance with new eyes so I went immediately and called her mother for a callback. My instinct just totally kicked in. I still wasn't completely sure though. During the second audition I got to spend a little more time talking to her. I had sent her the script and she spent a good five minutes telling me all her thoughts on the character and script. Then I had her read two scenes and she completely nailed it. I mean absolutely perfect. I thought she was funny and most importantly, real. I knew she had to be it. She hasn't ever done any film which I kind of see as a plus. The other great thing about Emily is that her mom is really cool. She's very down to earth and jokes around a lot. At our first meeting she said "Hey, I really like your modeling pictures." Nothing breaks the ice like pictures of me in my underwear! I was really worried about having to deal with a crazy "stage mom", thankfully this isn't the case.

For the father I've cast Andy Sensenig. I met him when he was an extra on GDMF and worked with him on a currently on-hold web series. He's just an all around pleasant fellow. A great attitude with great talent to back it up. He'll play any scene any way you tell him. You can throw anything his way and he'll just roll with it.

For the mom I've cast an actress named Jessica Craft. She hasn't done any film either. Mostly just print and commercial. In the small world category she is actually the field rep for the company that Spiral Diner buys tea from. When I received her headshot I didn't put the two together until she mentioned it in a later discussion. I cast her based purely on instinct. I can't say she did a great job in her audition from a technical standpoint but she was really honest admitting her nervousness about working in independent film and also about some personal aspects that she felt applied to the part. She had a realness to her, a sort of raw energy, that I couldn't ignore.

I've got a great crew lined up as well. Lots of great friends which in my book is the only way to make a film. Nick Prendergast is on board as DP. You'll recognize him as the DP from The Outlaw Son and as a co-Director/Writer/Producer on Deadroom. Curtis Heath is doing the score (he's in The Theater Fire and is an amazing solo artist as well.) Although I'm attempting to edit this myself David Lowery will still be around to be my editing sensai as well as on-set editor for the P2 workflow. Valerie Mangum will be taking her first foray into film as Art Assistant. If you've ever seen any of her handmade clothes or been to her and Curtis' house then you'll know why I was keen on getting her for the Art Department. Britt Robisheaux (brother-from-another-mother) is doing the still photography. He did the same on Ciao and did all the "prom" pictures at the Spiral Diner Zombie Pirate Prom Party. My neighborhood homeboy Justin Wallis will be representing with some behind-the-scenes video. Most importantly of all Sara Hicks, who is opening the Spiral Dallas location, will be doing all the catering.

There are some friends I've made along the way working on other projects that are joining me too. Mark Aaron Sharon, that crazy SOB, is Camera Operator. Alexis Patterson as Art Director, Steve Mayeda as Key Grip, Loretta Yeargin as Script Supervisor, Tim Nagles on Sound with Frederick Trevino as Sound Assist. James Lenszch is helping out with Grip and hopefully a very important location. Mark Hoffman will be Gaffer. He helped Nick with lighting on Outlaw Son and they also work together professionally as still photographers.

I've got some new found friends helping me too. Sharon Palkowetz is the AD. The film gods truly helped me out on this one. She's a real AD, the kind that directors need to make an independent film professional. Ricky Herrington helped me out during the auditions and will be onset as a PA. He's the type you love to meet - a great attitude and willing to help out with anything. He loves the craft and therefore loves the work.

I think we've got a few more positions to fill but for the most part that's it. I'm ecstatic about the cast and crew.

I'm starting to feel really good about this project. Like it might really be something. Sometimes optimism is dangerous. Especially when you get the first rejection letter from a festival and it starts ramping toward bitterness. But for now the future is untold and I've got high hopes.