Here are a FEW of the MANY Stories

 

 HERE IS THE FAMOUS LIST THAT WAS DISPLAYED ON OUR GRIP TRUCK

                 

2 Divorce

1 Marriage

11 breakups

2 trips to the ER

2 wrecked vehicles

6 people losing their real jobs

752 fights

2 warrants for trespassing

2 scratched BMW's

5 shut downs

$1000's of dollars lost gambling

1 knee injury

1 stalker

7 Producer=1 brain

0 Permits

1 Bad relationship with SAG-They hate us

 

Here is the fun count:

8132 beers consumed

5 public places we were thrown out of

Over 100 rolls of film shot

$854 won gambling in Casinos

Thousands of photos-mostly blackmail

Frequent flyers miles- we can go anwhere

Several one night stands

lots of junk food

                                                                 

Stories from the CAST & CREW

FROM: NEIL MATHER
I remember the time when I was asked to become an actor/stunt driver.  In the scene, I was to drive somewhat fast around a corner while evading Colette who was chasing me from behind.  To make a long story short, during the third take with the THIRD BMW and rain just starting to come down, I decided to go for broke and floor the car ( a rental of course) around the slippery corner.  With the back end fishtailing almost 90 degrees and a look of terror on my face I was able to pull the car back in, stopping it from hitting the concrete wall and sending a producer for a fourth BMW.

FROM: JUSTIN GORENCE

So many stories, so little time.  I guess the first thing that stands out is Tom's commitment to the project.  I remember at the very beginning before we started shooting, Tom called to say there was going to be a delay and I thought  "Yeah, Right!  This is going to happen!!!"  But Tom never lost is positive attitude-- he always said the movie WILL get made!!!  I think even when everyone else doubted, he never did.  I know that positive attitude helped him beat that Solicitation charge in Oregon..... and that Pedophile stuff in Northern California, and .... Oh! yeah, the public indecency charges in Nevada.
Yes, Tom is one positive guy.
I also remember all the time and miles I spent in the RV, riding shotgun with Ran.  That thing always seemed to be on it's last leg, but somehow it kept going -- even if we could only go 20mph uphill, somehow it made it!!!  UH!!!!, that is , until the transmission fell out.
I guess you really get to know people  on the road-- and I mean REALLY know them.  For instance, not many people know that Neil is a crossdresser or that Chris likes to wear "GURANIMALS"!!! I always thought he was just well -coordinated.
How about all the meals from the HUFF -N-PUFF.  There was nothing on the menu without fat.  I remember one week where it seemed that lunch consisted of cold cuts for a whole week.  I think I wanted to burn my bike pants after the shoot.  I probably wore those things for two months straight.  One thing really stands out---Those guys made the most of their budget.  But the producers always made it a real priority to take care of us ( Hey , it wasn't their fault we stayed in a CRACK Hotel in Yakima, that even the cops were afraid to visit.)   But I tell you , even after finishing up 5-6 months ago, it still feels like a family reunion when we get together.
PS.. Truckers are probably still talking about the idiots who jammed up traffic at the Washington- Oregon border.

FROM: COLETTE O'CONNELL
It's just so great that guerrilla filmmaking is alive and well in L.A.  The idea that a group of enthusiastic young people with a dream to make a movie banded together on the Warner Bros. Lot  and made it happen is fantastic.  They also had a part I had to play!!  It had my name written all over it.
I just had this feeling about "BORDER TO BORDER" and wanted to become a part of it.  These guys (the director, Tom Whelan, and the Producers) looked hungry and I sensed the movie had a shot at turning into a good black comedy.  Little did I know that these hungry young lions and the rest of the cast and crew were to be my "Other Family" for over a year.   We shot whenever we had the money, film, the crew had free time, the producers could take off from their other jobs, it goes on and on.
And then, there were the fights over my character.  Was she going to get the money or not?  Was she going to go to Mexico or not?  Was she going to live or die?  Was she going to get shot?  Or at one point, they wanted to throw her out of the plane and show her body hitting the Bay of Mexico.  I definitely campaigned against that one!
It was crazy, but these guys did their job as well as I thought they would.  It came together beautifully.  I'm so thrilled that this little guerrilla move called "BORDER TO BORDER" met with such wonderful success at it's very first appearance on the film festival circuit at the NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL.  It won "THE GRAND JURY AWARD for BEST COMEDY" and I won an award for being a complete psychopath called "BEST ANTAGONISTIC ACTRESS" ---What more could an actress ask for but to be in the company of Dennis Hopper who won the counterpart award for "BEST ANTAGONISTIC ACTOR"    
     Viva "BORDER TO BORDER"



FROM: AMIT BHATTACHARYA, Director of Photography
"...........seeking D.P. for BORDER TO BORDER, a 16 mm action/comedy.  20 days shoot in August.  Call........."  I saw this deceptively simple flyer at the American Film Institute's job notice board in June of 1996.  NOT in a million years could I have imagined that making the call would lead to an adventure unlike anything I had experienced before.
Just as Hunter S. Thompson applied "GONZO JOURNALISM" to his brand of writing, we surely defined "GONZO FILMMAKING" with BORDER TO BORDER.!!  What other film crew has used a giant Caterpillar Excavator to film a perfectly acceptable crane shot or, "stolen" power from a cabin, using a impromptu distribution box to light a campfire scene when a generator failed to show up.
From our 1st day in a suburban home in Valencia dressed to look like the interior of a whorehouse to the last, shooting inserts on the parking lot of the equipment rental house, it was my task to capture it all on film.  Shooting a road movie is a difficult undertaking under any circumstance, but to do so with the bare minimum of equipment and a mostly inexperienced crew borders on lunacy.  My motto soon became "We'll make it work": be it shooting a 500 ASA stock in bright daylight, making a rock strewn gully look like a campsite or me and my camera crew hanging from the back of a 1978 Nissan pick-up while shooting a chase scene with 2 other cars!!!  Through all this, Tom would often turn to me, smiling and say, what almost became his mantra, " What the Hell are we doing? Dude!"
True to it's road movie genre, the production of BORDER TO BORDER paralleled the "you never know what's around the corner" sentiment.  Quite often, except knowing the scene we wanted to shoot, we had no idea of where and how.  We would just drive along till a place caught our eye, then figure out the best way to shoot it.  Tom and I became very adept at making these quick choices.  A simple thing like a change of season from the time we scouted to the time we shot, caused a tree to sprout leaves and block our shot of the monorail in Seattle.  So we scrambled to find another location which ultimately gave us an ever better shot than we had hoped for.  And then there were times when I would throw all caution into the wind and roll camera on faith.  The first campsite comes to mind.  As the light level dropped by the minute, I kept opening up the iris while my exposure meter started flashing error.  Finally, I was shooting at what all desperate cinematographers known as W.F.O or Wide F*&#ing open.
The experience of BORDER TO BORDER went beyond all my expectations.  Aside from the professional satisfaction, I have been deeply touched personally.  The shared adventure of traveling thousands of miles, eating and sleeping in quaint diners and forgettable motels and the grandeur of the land has left indelible impressions of me.  I can only hope my future filmmaking experiences will be as gratifying.



FROM: COREY MILER, Writer

Most of the things that I learned writing a low-budget feature revolves around the two "ises"--compromise and surprise.  At the beginning, your mind reels with all of the possibilities that the story and characters bring.  Then, shooting begins.  When you can't get the location that best serves the scene, you compromise and hope the words are enough.  You've run out of time or light, so you cut the scene in half and hope your point still comes across.  An actor bails at the last minute, and you sit back and realize that filmmaking at any budget is a crap shoot, and that rarely does a film meet the makers' dreamworld expectations.  So, in the end you are surprised.  Surprised that the last-minute location looks luminous on film, surprised that your scene is actually better when cut in half, and surprised when the actor you ended up getting does the part better than anyone you could have imagined.  And that feeling alone is better than anything film school could teach, because the learning is real.
A story that I most remember:  The company was hundreds of miles away, and I was awoken from a lovely sleep at 1 a.m. by Tom, the director.  "We don't have much time tomorrow, not enough to shoot a five page scene at Crater Lake.  The scene you did, that was great, just great.  But, hey, can you cut three pages out of it, take out Neil's backstory, make it more of a banter and make it funnier? Oh, and we need it faxed to the hotel by 6 a.m. before we leave for location."  Clint Eastwood's philosophy has always been to just make it as good as you can and move on, and that is something I have taken to heart.  Because for all the worrying going on, it got written.  And it turned out well.  It also got cut out of the final film.   NEXT.....!!!!

FROM PAUL EPPLESTON,Art Director                                                                                  

 "It was an incredible shoot. I can honestly say that Iíve never had as much fun on set as I did working with this crew. Yeah, it was stressful. Yeah, it was long hours. Yeah, Ran and Shawn and I nearly gassed ourselves out of existence with the leaky Rialto that was spitting fumes into the cabin on the way to Seattle. But it makes for such great stories! For myself I found a different career path. One day up in Seattle we were traveling to location through the forests and a couple of us were goofing on the radios. A lot of Yogi Bear imitations: "Heeey Boo-boo, I think this would be a good stop to find some pick-a-nic baskets, hay hay hay!". Well, I do a pretty good Boo-boo so I responded and there was dead silence on the radio, like, nothin. Then everyone wanted to know who was doing the talking. Eventually Chris Owens came up to me later and asked if it was me. Now, I just knew him as one of the producers, and I was, and still am, a little sheepish about getting into trouble so I was toeing the ground and mumbling "Yeah, sorry". Then he comes back with "Have you ever thought about doing that for a living?" It was then I found out his father was Gary Owens, voice of Space Ghost, Blue Falcon, Powdered Toast Man, etc. and that animation voice was a valid career. It had never really occurred to me before to pursue that as a career, but as a result I took a couple of classes and fell in love with it.

"Itís funny to look back at the pictures now and see what we accomplished on this shoot. Sometimes I canít believe what we were getting away with, or what we were doing with practically nothing. Like up at Donnerís Pass where the Donner party resorted to cannibalism to survive (we had no such problems thanks to Craft Service!). One of the cars in our convoy had run into trouble getting to the location. Unfortunately it had the hero (used in every scene) helmet for Justinís character. We had another helmet, but Justinís was yellow and this one was purple, so I spent the next 10-20 min frantically covering the helmet in yellow tape so we wouldnít be delayed. Just as I was finishing the van showed up, so we didnít use my creation, but hey, it was worth it. I think some of the most challenging parts of this project was finding ways to dress a location with the few props we had and could carry with us believably. In Seattle, the cafť we shot at was actually a South American specialty restaurant, but with a little bit of product placement from our good friends at Java Central, and a couple of Cliff bar wrappers, we were able to make it a rather believable coffee shop overlooking the city. I also spent a lot of my time Greeking, or changing brand names of things into not-so brand names. For example, Visa might become Wisa after Iím done with it. This is because Visa didnít give us permission to use their name, so we have to work around it. You suddenly becomes very aware at the preponderance of advertisements surrounding you when you have to try to change all of them to say something completely different!"

Stories from the PRODUCERS/DIRECTOR

FROM: TOM WHELAN, Director/Producer
A lot of times you have to depend on creativity, and not money, to get you out of trouble while making a low-budget film.  I remember this one time in Lake Tahoe when we had our first all night shoot on the film.  Bob Bajorek, Amit and I went scouting  around the mountains of Lake Tahoe looking for a suitable campsite location with a place we could draw electricity from (Since we couldn't afford to have a generator brought up from Sacramento and there wasn't a place in Reno that had any available).  It occurred to us that if we shot next to some cabins, we could run stingers from a cabin to the location and get some lights working.  We found the perfect spot for the scene  and it just so happened that there was a cabin about 150 feet away.  We knocked on the door, but nobody was home.  We looked in the windows and there wasn't even furniture inside.
So we went to the next cabin, which was another 70 feet way from location, and asked if we could pay them some money to use their electricity.  The man looked at us and asked why didn't we just use the close cabin's electricity.  I told him that no one was home , and looked at me and said, "SO".  That was good enough for us!!!  We started off just using the outlets that were on the outside of the house.  Amit eventually said he needed more juice and then of course the inevitable happens.  "Does anyone know how to tie into the Distribution box?" When we wrapped out the next morning, we left a thank you note and $50 in cash.  In the end, the scene looked great considering Amit only had four lights to use.



FROM: RAN BARKER, Producer
We wanted to start filming in Seattle and travel back down, so the entire crew had to first drive directly to Seattle.  Brandon had acquired a 1970 beat up FLAIR RV with really ugly orange carpet.  I'm pretty sure this RV was not even cool in the 70's.  Someone had to drive it to Seattle from Los Angeles and I got that lovely task.  I recruited Shawn McClintock, Paul Eppleston and Jeremy Becker to come along and help with the long drive.  All the vehicles drove in a caravan and about 50 miles out of LA, the other cars pulled over and said that we were weaving, we told them that we smelled gas and upon further investigation we realized that the exhaust was leaking into the air-conditioner.  We didn't have time to take it back to LA so we rolled down the window, turned off the air and continued on.  Within two hours everyone in the caravan had run off and left us and we were on our own.  We decided to just have fun, so we made a sign in the window that read "MTV ROAD RULES" and took out the video camera and started filming while we were in traffic, people were honking and waving at us, yelling out their windows, taking pictures.  We made our own little film as we went.  Shawn and I took the first turns at driving and after 8 hours we decided to take a nap on the bed over the cab as Jeremy and Paul took turns driving.  Shawn and I were laying head to feet and fast asleep when Jeremy hit the brakes and sent us tumbling forward, my elbow stuck Shawn in the crotch and he surged up in pain and struck his head on the top of the camper, then Jeremy took off again send both of us sailing to the ground.
Sixteen hours later, we were able to hookup with the rest of the crew and as we came out of the RV, dirty, battered, bruised and looked like we were stoned from all the gas fumes and driving with the windows down.  We were loud and wild and everyone was staring at us.
We decided to drive the rest of the way instead of staying the night with the crew and soon got back on the road.  The next morning we were near Washington and stopped in to see Jeremy's parents.  They lived in a large old home with these huge weeping willows in front.  As we drove in, I though we could make it under the trees........... I was wrong........... and we took half of one of those trees with us - Once  we stopped we realized that the tree we had pruned had a HISTORICAL MARKER on it-- we freaked, thinking we had killed an historical marker-....... Jeremy put it up on that tree as a joke years ago.
Mid morning, I was driving and everyone was asleep and I announced " I NEEEED A COKEEEE"  Seeing an exit, I turn off the freeway and what looked like a straight ramp suddenly became almost a U TURN.  The roads were slick and we could not slow down  fast enough-- by this time--- EVERYONE was awake and watching us slide toward the side of a  brand new pickup at the intersection.---luckily for us, the light changed and he zoomed out of our way as we came to a stop where his truck had been..........That was the last time I drove ......that day.
 It took us a total of 30 hours straight to drive to Seattle from LA.- On the way back to LA, the RV overheated several times, the transmission fell out and had to be replaced, and we backed into several other cars, trees and various other obstacles that seems to get in its way.........when we got it back home-- it still had tree moss in it from hitting that weeping willow at Jeremy's parents house.  I was glad that I had been a part of the group that drove the RV, it was like we had earned our stripes.  We had an adventure that the others missed out on. Thanks guys for making the trip so much fun!
There were a few casualties of our trip:

 Several branches from an Historical Tree 

Several highway markers 

2 bumpers 

49 unhappy motorist-behind us on 2 lane road

 1 bike tied to the top that didn't make clearance

 1 parking meter 

1 transmission 

and the Toilet in the RV........................the biggest causality



FROM: KAREN ROMERO, Producer
"Tom and I went on our first location scout in March/April 1996.  We flew to Seattle then drove over 2,000 miles down to Lake Havasu, AZ.  Along the way Tom would randomly stop the car, jump out and run across the street.  I would sit and wait until I heard a cry.  "This would be perfect!!!"  I would get out of the car and find him climbing the side of a cliff holding his hands together like a picture frame, as directors do when they have found the perfect shot.  "Come up Karen, this is perfect," he would say to me as he was about to fall off the cliff.  I would just smile and tell him to be careful, get down and let's find another place where we can actually get a camera.  This little "cliff action" happened at least 30 times."
"The script called for a whore house.  Outside of Reno, Tom and I pulled up in front of MISS KITTY'S.  We sit outside the door of MISS KITTY'S and go through a routine of "You go in, I'm not going in, you go in."  Then finally Tom pointed out, if a man walked in and said he wanted to shoot a movie here, they would think he was some crazyman.  So I left the car and walked up to the door and never expected what happened next.  I rang the bell and the door opened, as I walked in an old woman approached me and said, "Are you the poolman?"  I wasn't sure what to say because I wanted to look around and see if it was a good location but I didn't think I could pull off being the "poolman."  I said no, I'm not the poolman but I wanted to talk to someone about shooting a movie.  She said she was under orders to only let the poolman inside and I had to go.  First whore house, first try, first shut down."
"The second attempt at the whore house was better.  I (by myself) entered the MOONLIGHT BUNNY RANCH.  They were very friendly and really interested in the film.  I was inside for about 30 minutes.  Once I cam out Tom couldn't believe I was in there for so long , he asked if I was okay.  He thought I was being recruited by the house or trying to earn some extra money for the movie.  He was only joking of course."
"Tom and I really wanted to have fun making this film.  We wanted the cast and crew to enjoy the process of filmmaking and not think of it as just another job.  I think if you ask any cast or crew member they'll agree that we accomplished what we set out to do."
"Low budget filmmaking can be very difficult but somehow things always worked out for us.  We never had a film permit so we would just place the camera where we wanted and shot.  Most of the time it worked but once we were shut down because someone called the police.  We kept shooting until we saw the police coming down the street then we decided it was time to move on to the next scene."
"It was really great working with all our cameos.  I never thought famous actors would care so much about a little independent film.  Rue really came prepared for her role.  She told us she wanted to get into the role by making some jello of her own.  We ended up using some of her homemade jello in the shot."
"In Mexico, only one person knew how to speak Spanish so it was difficult to get people to do what we wanted.  I felt like it was a big game of charades.  Hand gestures and body movements were the key."
"It was tough getting everyone together on weekends but the cast and crew were willing to join us at a moments notice.  I remember calling everyone at the last minute on a Thursday night for a 7am crew call for Friday morning.  Thank goodness for a very cooperative crew."
"The process of making BORDER TO BORDER was parallel to the road Neil and Justin traveled, sometimes it was smooth and sometimes there were crazy turns and you never knew what was around the corner.   But in the end you were extremely satisfied with the journey you had and the end result, a great independent film."

 

 

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