a film by Bill Mousoulis

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Pre-Production - October 2001

BACK STORY:  As the winter months were passing (or staying, as it turned out), I knew I'd be making a film at the end of the year. But I didn't have a script, so from early September I started conceiving ideas. On Monday, September 10, the idea for Lovesick was born (but it was called The Outside World at that stage). I then wrote the script over the next couple of weeks, and it was pretty much ready by the end of September.

Mon Oct 1:   First day of pre-production, officially. 6 weeks of it. And then three weeks of shooting from Nov 12. In morn completed the script's timings and shot list. Then sent notice to Filmnet, calling for actors, which should appear late this week. Went to Bourke St. mall, to look at the purse, which I really like. But how do I film there when it's busy though? Bizarrely enough, I then come across Con Filippidis (the DOP on my last film, Desire), as part of a crew of four, shooting a student-like thing in the middle of the mall! And using real people as unwitting extras!

Tue Oct 2:   Bit of a chore, but I typed script out. Most of the "info" pages (to send to potential cast and crew) are done, just need to do the "Auditioning Exercises" page.

Wed Oct 3:   Put some Actors' Required signs up - Readings, Trades Hall, Carlton Courthouse. Then saw Fassbinder's Fear Eats the Soul at CTEQ. Love the style - clean compositions - inspiring me for Lovesick.

Thu Oct 4:   More signs up, in Brunswick St and Smith St. cafes. But, by the end of the day, not one call (I thought maybe one or two would have come through). I email the script through to its first recipient - Rad Rudd, one of the actors in Desire, and one of my confidants. He rings and says "it's a little beauty".

Fri Oct 5:   Signs up in St.Kilda and the VCA. Finally, a couple of actors ring - both called Kate!

Sat Oct 6:   A somewhat surreal day. I spend all of it in "Robert Guédiguian" mode - preparing for and then interviewing him, then watching two more of his films at the Lumiere. And at the same time actors were trying to contact me and I couldn't respond to them - 12 phone calls, 25 emails.

Sun Oct 7:   Big day for the film, contacting actors. Good fun! Rad tells me he's serious about being considered for the main role, even though he's working. I haven't considered that, but I guess it's a possibility.

Mon Oct 8:   Something like 40 or 50 phone calls today. It's the sheer volume of actors interested that is amazing (and tiring) - almost 100 enquiries so far. Have already locked in 10 auditions.

Tue Oct 9:    In the head shots people are sending to me, one face has sprung out at me - David Tulk.

Wed Oct 10:    Spoke with Con about him being DOP. Bit of a maybe - he's sick of doing no-budget things. He's still there as a friend, so it's possible. I'd like to ask around, though. Flying around on the bike, adrenalin-charged, I have my first accident - a car hits me and races off. Luckily, I pick myself up and walk away, no broken bones, just bruising. The actors become real, human, in front of me, tomorrow.

Thu Oct 11:    Auditions began today. Tony Been - 20, and just too pretty for me. Simon McSweeney - laid-back. I like him for Robert! He's almost perfect for him. And yet he wants Steve! ?? John Bailey - interesting talent, slight possibility for Matthew. Made a few calls re: the crew. Super 16 is looking unlikely ...

Fri Oct 12:    Getting somewhere with the camera now. Ray Argall emailed - he's in Paris, but he confirmed his camera is set up for Super 16. So that's a possibility. Auditions today: Rad Rudd - he's keen, but I don't think he's quite right for Steve. Aaron Goldberg - interesting fellow, but his acting's not there. Holly Marshall - keen in her email and she's got talent! Definite chance for Louise. Paul Canlan - down-to-earth, but not suitable. Tamara Donnellan - very petite, very "light". Natasha Axenova - has the look, could pass for a detective.

Sat Oct 13:    Feeling exhausted. Break officially today, but still worked most of the day.

Sun Oct 14:   Another five actors today. Stuart Black - a possible Matthew, quite clearly. Paul Talarico - had seen Desire at the Nova! Nice guy, but not really right. Jesse Hepburn - too young in feel. Toni San Diego - very interesting, kinda like a gentle version of Courtney Love. Has a presence, may make it to 2nd audition. David Kenyon - too big for Matthew?

Mon Oct 15:    Calls to DOPs - Peter Falk, Greg Parish, Kattina Bowell. Who knows? Actors auditions continue: Mike Sharkey - doesn't feel right for either character. Inga Norgrove - could be Tamsyn. Marie Ng - sensational! Better than Holly's audition even. She practically grabbed the Tamsyn role. She spoke about it, and the whole style of the film. Scott Terrill - Tamara's bf. I'm struggling for a Steve here. Scott's a slight possibility.

Tue Oct 16:    Tired. But excited. Just need a few things to fall into place. Today's actors: Jim Koutsoukos and Alan Watt - both heavy builds, and I can't picture that. Josie Scott - walked in and claimed the role of Diana! She was pretty impressive, similar to Marie - concerned about the acting style, my directorial style, researching the character, etc. And she looks the part. Carmen Mascia - not quite right for either Tamsyn or Diana. She was wary of the Louise role, the sex scenes, saying she doesn't know me as a director, etc. But some actors come in comfortable with all that - I think they've judged my character, from looking at the info / my approach. Also saw Mark Dessaix - just too young. Every day I've had one stand-out - Simon (Thu), Holly (Fri), Stuart (Sun), Marie (Mon), Josie (Tue). For five of the six characters. But where's Steve??!!

Wed Oct 17:    Melissa Strachan - sexy, and a nice face. She could probably do Tamsyn, but not as well as the others. Jonathan Kemp - we talked for two hours, of football, music, law (he's a lawyer), and hardly did any acting. He's 36 and wants to do Matthew. I think it's too old for that role.

Thu Oct 18:    I've had some enquiries from interstate. Petrina Buckley in Sydney is the strong possibility. Got her showreel in the mail today. She's really good. There's an edge there. Wrote her a long email saying she's a chance for the main role. She could run Holly close. But she's 31, so maybe that will be a factor. Audrey Sepsakos - what a nice girl! But I'm over-run with Tamsyns, so she probably won't make it to 2nd audition stage. Alistair Reid - a Steve, finally. I could go with him, actually. Like Marie, he started talking about the film's style. He'd be not bad. My worries are now gone. Still, ideally I'd like two great choices for each role, just in case something goes wrong with one of them.

Fri Oct 19:    Spoke to Kattina Bowell. She's okay with being the DOP, but there's babysitting costs, which means $1000 added to the budget, a significant amount in this context. ($10,000 total budget for shooting). Will still look around for more Super 16 options. I've almost definitely let go of my Nov 12 shooting date now. Nov 26 is the earliest both Kattina and Greg can do it. And it gives me more time to prepare - a good thing! Petrina rang - she's got the lead role in another Melb (Geelong) feature, shooting in Nov. She believes she can do both films, back-to-back. I'm skeptical. Actors today: Richard Stoyles - 41, but a solid detective. Maybe better than Simon. Richard Culph - too inexperienced. Marc Zywaczewski - not right. I am so excited by this film. It's like an amazing passion at the moment, so fulfilling. It's love, pure love, just not on a "human" object (woman). It's taken a couple of weeks to get to this full charge (of adrenaline), but it's definitely on now. It's proving quite effective doing the casting quite separate from the "crewing" (and other production things). 8 weeks of pre, rather than 6, seems better too.

Sat Oct 20:    Total break from the film. Saw Peter Sellers in The Party at the Sun Theatre.

Sun Oct 21:    Stephen Haugh - keen, but can't picture him. Kim Miles - the only actor from the Desire auditions. An interesting talent. Phil McKechnie - slight possibility for Steve. Ralf Schlessener - German, very European sensibility. Louise Howlett - not quite the physique for Diana.

Mon Oct 22:    John King - maybe Robert. Julie Jeffery - not right. Jo McKenzie - nice girl! Real go for Tamsyn. Christine Anagnostis - possibility for Louise actually, if not quite what I had pictured. Has intensity and talent (but is inexperienced). Who do I match her with though? Georgia Bolton - really good actor, just not suited to either role. Email in from Petrina - the Geelong film is shooting Nov 7-28, there's really no way she could do mine also. She's disappointed. Yes, timing stuffs things up at times.

Tue Oct 23:    Andrea Onofrio - a possible Diana. Ranie Daw - nice, but no. Suzanne Barr - another possible Diana (flooded with them now). Melanie & Donna from Kensington - not right. Called Jesse Hepburn in for a second "first" look. He has a quality that attracts me (because he used to be a hardcore punk years ago?), but he just seems too young (he's 23ish but feels 18 or so). Suzy Markovski - not bad for Louise. Ray Argall's Super 16 camera is now looking a no-go, as he needs to come back from Paris first, and that may not be till early December.

Wed Oct 24:     More first auditions, the last day of them. See eight people in a row, in 4 hours. Holly Brocklebank, Kris Umhauer, Espy Maojo, Gabby Talmadge, Peter Condon, Nina Thallon, Calida Sari, David Tulk.

Thu Oct 25:     The first of the 2nd Auditions occured, where I videotape selected people, going through scenes from the film. Detectives today: Simon, Suzanne, Josie, Richard. What fun!

Fri Oct 26:     My "A-team" of Alistair, Holly, Stuart, Marie all perform well in their taped auditions. They'll be hard to beat.

Sat Oct 27:    Oh sleep, where is it? I'm waking at 4 am thinking of the actors. Auditions today: John with Andrea - fantastic. Christine not so good as Diana. She was much better trying for Louise, next to Scott as Steve. Both Scott and Phil make better Matthews than Steves. Jo is really good! Rad helped with the filming, and we then watched the tapes together, and he gave me some valuable input. Alistair and Holly are amazing. I thought John was terrific today - he's the one? Andrea was good too. Could I play Josie with John? Agonising. Also: Marie or Jo? What a terrible choice.

Sun Oct 28:    Auditioned David Tulk with Toni San Diego. They are so Cassavetes and Morrissey respectively - they have great screen presence. But they're not the Steve and Louise I see in this film. First bombshell of the film - Alistair rang and said he's been offered a part in a TV show and he'll have to pull out of my film. I told him I was going to cast him. But, time-wise, it's not a goer for him.

Mon Oct 29:    Alistair still came along today and helped audition the other actors - Jo, Nina, Suzy. Jo's beautiful, perfect. Nina's a good actress. Suzy has something interesting about her. Gave the Robert role to John, and will do tests with the female detectives tomorrow. I do not believe either Phil or Scott can do justice to the Steve role, so I have started thinking about an alternative script to do if a new Steve doesn't appear - Holly as a serial killer (of couples). My mind's spinning. I'm really living on the edge here - no money, no DOP, no camera, no lead male.

Tue Oct 30:    Rang everyone and explained the Alistair situation - that I will now be doing some further casting for the Steve role. I don't think Phil or Scott were too impressed! Tried a new test with the detectives - got Josie, Andrea and Suzanne to do a new scene with John, to test for the "sub-text" stuff (sexual tension) in their story. Examined the tape later quite closely, watching it several times. Tough choice. In the end, Josie seemed the right option - being plainer than the others.

Wed Oct 31:    Have started writing the alternative script to film. Met three crew today. Annabel Rattigan - fantastic, perfect for Production Manager. Jasmine Fayle and Andrea Entwistle - both keen, but both inexperienced and with no car. They'll be right though. With the entire project, I'm worried about a few things, but I believe I can make everything happen. Unless some more bad luck comes my way!

Go to Diary for November