TWO YEARS ago today, director J.T. Tepnapa yelled “Action” for the first time, and what had been for years just a dream began moving full-tilt toward becoming reality.
For the next three weeks, we’ll be re-living the process — day by day — that brought Judas Kiss to life, with behind-the-scenes photos and video clips to chart the creative process, and occasional logistical nightmare, that resulted in our first feature film.
Please share your own memories (if you were part of the cast or crew), or observations (if you’re a viewer) along the way.
SOME PEOPLE might be wary about starting the biggest project of their lives on a Friday the 13th, but we felt we’d been so fortunate in bringing this project from idea to reality so far, that we saw it as possibly the most fortunate day on which to begin shooting Judas Kiss.
The shooting schedule was in large measure driven by the availability of our star, Charlie David, who plays failed filmmaker Zach Wells. Among his many varied talents and jobs is shooting the travel series Bump for Logo TV, and we had to squeeze in his shooting schedule amid a busy year of worldwide travel.
We wanted to give Charlie a day or two to readjust to the Pacific time zone, so director J.T. and I decided to start with non-Zach scenes.
VAMPIRES EVERYWHERE Two scenes set in the studio at the fictional Keystone Summit University film school therefore made sense to be our first to shoot. Our location was Mad Pants Productions in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, the workplace of our composer, Brad Anthony Laina.
Day 1 focused on the vampire music video headlined by bad-boy character Shane Lyons (played by Belgian TV and pop star Timo Descamps) that appears at the 20:20-minute mark in the film.
“I was very excited,” J.T. said about his first day on set. “I demanded Timo to make love to the camera. And I found my love for music video directing. Most people thought I was crazy.”
Early Internet reports about Judas Kiss mistakenly interpreted this scene and leapt to the conclusion that the film was somehow about vampires, which made some bloggers unhappy, given the vampire overkill from the Twilight films and subsequent knock-offs.
In the original draft of the script, Shane Lyons was a business student who stumbles across Danny Reyes (played by Richard Harmon) and is instantly attracted to him. But when we cast Timo, we realized we had an opportunity to make the most of his musical talents. We re-wrote the scene to make Shane a music student, and to allude to his prior relationship between Chris Wachowsky (played by Sean Paul Lockhart).
On-set documentarian Matt Bucy produced a short behind-the-scenes video just about the vampire music video. It was first viewed at a fundraising event for the film held at The Lobby Bar in Seattle later in August 2010.
It also gave us a chance to introduce Chris in his own right as a filmmaker, and to play a little bit with the audience’s expectations through the seemingly non sequitur shift to the vampire scene.
LIKE IT ROUGH The song featured in the video, “Like it Rough,” was co-written and performed by Timo, who gave us permission to use the song in the film. It’s prominently featured on the Judas Kiss Original Motion Picture Soundtrack. The song’s official music video was also shot in Seattle on the University of Washington campus alongside principal photography for Judas Kiss itself. More on that when we get to the day on which it was shot.
Everything went pretty smoothly on Day 1, as we finished the day about an hour and a half ahead of schedule.