PREPRODUCTION: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DIRECTOR MATT BUSCH!
With so much happing right now in pre-production on Aladdin 3477, we thought this month it would be fun to have Director Matt Busch share an entire day of what is happening on the movie. Matt agreed, and delivered an intimate look at a random day, which happened to be last week Thursday, April 17th, 2014. Here’s Matt with the details:
5:00 am: Wake up- I’ve only had 4 hours of sleep, but lots of meetings and things to take care of. I normally do a lot of work at home, so it’s nice to just wake up and head to the office. My best creative work these days seems to be in the morning, fresh after some sleep, so I put the final touches on a new Star Wars poster comp I’m working on. This takes about an hour to wrap up and then I email the design in for approval.
6:00 am: I’m way overdue on email, so I take an hour to hammer through. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I was all caught up on email. Some of these emails include an insurance policy for filming portions of Aladdin 3477 at the Silver Lake State Park, as well as trying to find what the hold up is with receiving the first Hollywood is Dead hardcover books so I can send them out to Kickstarter backers.
7:00 am: Brandt Keller, who is our Casting Director as well as the webmaster for Aladdin3477.com, wants me to approve a new article that showing highlights from the Cast and Crew Party we had the Saturday prior. I have just a few text additions, and he’s good to post.
7:30 am: I enjoy a half hour with the wife Lin Zy and our puppy Roxie in the family room. Lin Zy and I go over our day, the parts that we are together and the parts that are separate. She’s just as, if not more busy as I am, so she should really be writing one of these, too.
8:00 am: I start loading my truck with as much stuff as I can find that needs to go to the soundstage. I’ve been collecting items to be in this movie for nearly 20 years- tons of props, trinkets, posters, statues… Items from all over the world. Some stuff is fragile, so it needs to be packed delicately.
9:00 am: A shower is a must. It shouldn’t take me this long to get ready, but I have a bad habit of day-dreaming in the shower. I just stand there under the hot water and plan my day, which leads to daydreaming about the movie, which somehow leads into solving world hunger.
10:00 am: I’m out the door, on my way to Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee: a Medium with a shot of Mint Chocolate, 1 cream and 1 Splenda. It’s funny, I had gone my whole life never drinking coffee. I did quit drinking soda last year, but this coffee bit is a new thing I picked up just a month or so ago.
10:26 am: I’m late to the Kaleidoscope Koi Soundstage in Clinton Township. The production crew is already there working hard. My father Frederick and Clayton Selestow are figuring out how to get the Sky Sail’s wing to rotate on a full size frame of the vehicle. Dave Todd is cleaning and organizing these cool floor mats we will be using for certain sets and stunts.
11:00 am: After checking on everyone’s awesome progress and answering questions about set pieces, Dave helps me unload my truck and I wander up to the mezzanine. This is where I continue to organize props- which items will be used in which scenes. Including duplicates, there are nearly 300 scenes in Aladdin 3477. Most films don’t have anywhere near that many, but not uncommon for an epic action-adventure movie.
11:45 am: Most of our wardrobe department shows up, headed by Betty Selestow and Dawn Nelson. Lin Zy handles a lot in wardrobe but she is busy elsewhere handling something else I can’t remember. In total, there will be well over a hundred custom-made costumes for Aladdin 3477.
12:00 pm: Sarah Wojcik, a reporter from C & G Newspapers arrives right on time. She’s here to interview myself and our lead actor Erik Steele. He’s running late, which is fine, because I give Sarah the tour of our soundstage facility and bring her up to speed.
1:30 pm: As the reporter is leaving, my sister Jessica Nordstrom shows up. Jessica has worked on numerous feature films as key hair and/or makeup, but she is actually playing the part of Keeta Ratana in Aladdin 3477.
1:45 pm: Lin Zy shows up, and before a bunch of us scoot, she has Erik Steel try on a new pair of pants custom designed for Aladdin to wear during the final battle scene of the movie. They are not quite where they need to be, and we all throw in some ideas to redo them that make them super cool.
2:00 pm: Today is a shopping day! Most of the costumes in Aladdin 3477 are made from scratch, but a few of them are really cool finds we’ve made around the world or in specialty stores. There’s a really cool store here called Showtime Detroit that has vintage, rock, and stage clothes you won’t find anywhere else. Lin Zy, Erik, Jessica and I hop in my truck and we head downtown.
2: 30 pm: We arrive at Showtime. The owner Dan and I go way back. I’ve been buying cool rock clothes from him since I used to do my Fantastic Visions shows nearly 15 years ago. In some cases, we are looking for specific clothing items for Erik, Jessica and Lin Zy (Aladdin, Keeta, and Oomi in the movie) as well as other characters, but we are also looking for crazy cool futuristic and/or ethic costuming we can use.
4:00 pm: Score! Dan hooks us up with some of the coolest clothing we have seen. We find everything we’re looking for and more. If you’re ever in the Detroit area, you need to check out Showtime Detroit. I don’t usually make a habit of plugging stuff here, but here is the website where you can go and friend them on Facebook as well. The 4 of us split and head back to the East Side.
5:00 pm: All hungry, Erik makes the suggestion to hit up 5 Guys Burgers and Fries. Which sounds just okay to me until he mentions that they have Mr. Pibb Xtra there with Cherry and Vanilla! Great- after quitting soda last year, I fall off the wagon and get a Large Mr. Pibb… But so worth it! And the burger was way better than I remember, so good call!
5:30 pm: The 4 of us drive back to the soundstage. I play them a sneak peak of some of the exciting music I have licensed to be used in the movie.
5:45 pm: Back at the soundstage, wardrobe already has a new version of the pants Erik tried on before. This time, they are just right! They make Aladdin look super cool and he can run and jump around in them just fine. Jessica models some of her new attire, and we figure out what remaining pieces need to be custom made for her character.
6:00 pm: Actor Jerry Hayes shows up early for a script reading, so I show him around the soundstage to take a look at the latest developments. Erik and Jessica are done for the day, so they take off.
6:30 pm: Actress Christi Perovski arrives right on time for our script meeting. We start in our newly re-designed hospitality suite, but it’s slightly chilly in there today, so we move to the cozier production office. The point of this meeting is to have both Christi (who is playing Princess Kamala) and Jerry (who is playing Sultan Shivali) go through their lines together. Because they are father and daughter, we want their tone and accents to match. We go through a few reads, trying to find the perfect balance- we don’t want Amercian MidWest accents, but we also don’t want too thick of a Hindu or other ethinic accent making it difficult for domestic audiences to understand. We opt to use some creative license and have a light European accent. There’s a lot of British history in India, and typically the kind of English that one in the Middle East would learn is more European sounding. Bottom line, Christi and Jerry sound great and they work so well together as actors. They totally sell it.
7:30 pm: Jerry is all set, so he takes off, but Christi has a few things to try on in wardrobe. For the most part, her ornate dresses have a wonderful Eastern Indian look. But we do have one section of the movie, when she goes with Aladdin to a night club in Hong Kong, where we have her in an outfit that is paying homage to Princess Jasmine from Aladdin animated movie. This is the outfit Christi needs to try on. I almost have tears in my eyes, because Christi looks so amazing! While this movie isn’t a lot like the Disney version, I think fans of the animated movie are going to dig what this live-action version brings to the table.
8:00 pm: Christi is all set, and as she leaves, Tony Miello arrives, who is playing the part of one of our villains, Harshad. Tony also needs to try on the latest version of his costume, which is authentic clothing from Pakistan, but custom fitted for him. He has this great custom made turban that looks so cool, although we need to alter it to fit a bit better. He’s also wearing a cool beaded amulet that my mother custom made for me.
8:30 pm: Irfan Sheihk arrives, who is playing the part of Pradeep, but also is helping out with Hindi translation for the movie. Irfan tries on some clothes, but we need to make some alterations. He’s lost a lot of weight!
9:00 pm: Wardrobe is all set, so they leave for the day. Lin Zy splits as well, as she has more she can do from our home office. Irfan, Tony and I head into the Hospitality Suite to work on their lines. They share a few scenes together, most of which they speak in Hindi. Irfan can speak it already, but Tony doesn’t know a word! So we spend 2 hours going through all the lines, writing them down and translating best to what the script has, what’s relatively easy to say, but also what would make sense, should a Bollywood audience ever see this. Considering how difficult the language is, Tony is able to roll these words off his tongue in character pretty well. He is being a trooper about it for sure- this will not be easy!
11:00 pm: Tony and Irfan wrap. We plan when a good time to meet and go over lines again would be. They split, and I’m the last man standing at the soundstage. I noodle through each room, checking on progress and closing down the shop. In the production office, I go over notes and check the calendar and schedule to make sure my ducks are in a row, at least for the next day. I shut everything down, lock up, and head for home.
12:00 am: I arrive back at the ranch. In the office, I check email- not to answer any- but just to see if there is anything ultra important that needs to be addressed. Thankfully there isn’t. I zone out browsing a few websites and social networks I’m keeping track of.
12:30 am: I join Lin Zy and Roxie in the family room. Playing with our puppy, we go over the day we just had and chat about what the weekend holds.
1:00 am: The dog is pooped and so are we. We put Roxy in her cage and hit the sack. Normally I have insomnia issues, but with the schedule getting thicker and thicker, I’m thankfully able to doze off instantly in the moments I’m able to. I’m crashing earlier than usual, but it’s up at 6am again tomorrow for another action packed day. Good night!
Principle Photography on Aladdin 3477 begins in just 3 weeks, so by the next monthly update, the Cast and Crew will be knee-deep into filming! Stay tuned!