29 July 2011

Brian Durkin's THE TERRAIN (part 2)

by Karen Worden

Editor's Note: Since I can't be everywhere at once, we've started expanding A Year Without Rent to other places and people. This is the second post from Film Courage's very own Karen Worden. Enjoy. - Lucas

Even in LA, where a facade of cool is associated with arriving fashionably late, being the last one to a party is a strange feeling.  On the last day of my volunteer set photography gig for The Terrain a few Sundays ago, this thought plagued me.   David and I hurriedly rushed from our show with Chloe Crespi and Jonas Elrod, documentary filmmakers behind Wake Up, to an apartment in Hollywood where the final shoot of The Terrain by Director Brian Durkin took place.  The shoot had begun at 7:00 a.m.  When we arrived, it was close to 1:45 p.m.

As we glanced around for the apartment complex street number, a voice shouted down to us from an upstairs window, alerting us to the shoot location.  We approached a small courtyard with a pool, reminiscent of Melrose Place (circa 1992).  We walked up the stairs to a bright and window filled location, home to PA Wesley Stiller.

As we entered the beautiful apartment, the cast and crew were breaking for lunch. After a short round of “hellos,” people gulped back their sodas, crumbled up chip bags, and shooting resumed.

Before we arrived on set that day another crew member, Chris Zatta, had shot this great picture of Christopher Stanley from Mad Men, who plays Crane in The Terrain.  Christopher Stanley had already been wrapped since our arrival.  We wanted to add this shot to complete the vibe on set.  Really bummed that I missed this.  Great shot Zatta.


As shooting began, Marisa Petroro (Deal or No Deal, Desperate Housewives, Dexter) and Todd Cattell (The Closer, Justified, Goodbye Promise) set up their scene on a living room couch, lovingly embraced, discussing future ‘couple’ plans.  Marisa and Todd had amazing chemistry together, staying in character and keeping the moment alive even when the camera was off.

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I felt awkward shooting such a private moment between these two, like some sort of intrusive voyeur.  Both Marisa and Todd are true professionals and never seemed to notice me there (or at least I never caught on).  They sat together embracing each other as a loving couple with history between them.


DP Casey Feldt worked with Director Brian Durkin in setting up the shots, fine tuning every detail.



PA Wesley Stiller caught a few moments between takes to fan Marisa and Todd with a newspaper.   When not working, Wesley caught a few chapters of Gary V’s incredible book ‘Crush It.‘  PA’s know the value of building your own brand.  The view from the living room window surveying the Hollywood Hills was amazing.  It was easy to pick which dream house you wanted.  As someone on set said “that house right there is where I’ll be in 5 years.  The house at the top of the hill is where I’ll be in ten.”  If this was my place, I’d probably get little work done, watching outside for hours.  Should have probably snapped a photo of the view.

Wesley was co-collaborator with Brian Durkin on their web series Sails Men.


I was in awe of Wesley’s mad respect for Magnum P.I., as a black and white 8 x 10 photo of Tom Selleck graced the kitchen decor of his Hollywood pad.  Personally, I was more of a fan of the cop show Hunter (Fred Dryer and Stepfanie Kramer) growing up, but I gave the appropriate homage due to a man of Tom’s clout by snapping this photo, surrounded by everyone’s on-set beverages.


Director Brian Durkin zooms in close for the last few scenes of the day.


Todd and Marisa stayed calm and in character as rock star PA Kyle Kao prepared us for the last shot.



Director Brian Durkin works to emphasize a moment in the scene, as DP Casey Feldt surveys and Producer Vivian Lee snaps a quick photo.


The crew engages in viewing the right angle.

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In between takes, The Terrain cast and crew stopped to watch a rough cut from the first two days of the film, edited by DP Casey Feldt.  Wanting to watch, I listened instead to the oohs and aahs of onlookers, snapping this scene.

Air conditioning would have ruined the sound on this summer afternoon.  Focused on the shots, the sweat drenched room never slowed us down.

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Brian gathered everyone together for a group photo. The final shot of the day received a round of cheer and applause.  Happiness is apparent.

As we gathered our belongings,  Marisa, Todd and I talked briefly as everyone packed up.  We discussed random things like how the film White Oleander was so overlooked and deserves more credit.  We discussed brilliant actors who (again) were overlooked and how the view out of the back bedroom would make a great opening shot for another film.

Thanks to Brian, Todd, Marisa, Casey, Vivian, Kyle, Wesley, and the whole rest of the crew for allowing me on set to snap photos.  Looking forward to the next adventure.  Thank you, Lucas, for inspiring me with the idea.

Karen Worden is a (very) part-time actress, co-host/co-producer of the Noon (Pacific) Sunday radio show Film Courage on LA Talk Radio.com, as well as co-owner of FilmCourage.com, along with husband David Branin.  Each Sunday, Karen and David interview filmmakers and content creators from around the globe on surviving and thriving the entertainment industry.  Karen, David and their three cats live in Los Angeles, California.  Follow them both on www.FilmCourage.com, @FilmCourage, @DavidBranin and @KarenWorden.