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Go for Sisters Shooting Update 1

Well, 13 days of the shoot for the 18th feature film written and directed by John Sayles, Go For Sisters, have passed us by.

Shooting at 52 locations around the California/Mexico border in just under three weeks means a lot of moving around and military-maneuver levels of organization and commitment from everyone.  Making the movie for well under $1 million means that the cast and crew need to be nimble, flexible, and intelligent in the extreme.  Luckily, all of these best case scenario elements have come together on this shoot, and things are proceeding according to plan.

If you need a refresher on the plot of the movie, click here.

The script for Go For Sisters presents an interesting casting challenge, in that due to the high number of locations and the nature of the story, the movie really has three main characters (played by Edward James Olmos, LisaGay Hamilton, and Yolonda Ross) and somewhere around 38 day players, who only appear in one or two scenes.  This requires even more organization on the part of the whole crew, to ensure that location and actor schedules correctly coincide, and everyone’s time is used efficiently and never wasted.  In the hands of a less experienced director, this kind of project might quickly fall apart, but with someone like John Sayles at the helm, the machinery under the artistry hums along expertly.

I, the John Sayles Blogger, happened to be on set for three days last week, and during a short period of adjustment due to an inconvenient weather-related delay, I commented to John that he didn’t seem stressed or flustered.  His reply was: “I don’t get stressed easily.  Everyone’s doing their best, no one’s messing up on purpose.  When you drop a shot somewhere, you figure out how to pick it up later.  Some directors think that yelling makes things run more smoothly, but I have never found that it helps to shout at people.”  Spoken like a true zen master.

Laughing between takes

Here are a few other great John Sayles quotes that have been overheard on the Go For Sisters set:

“One of the best metaphors for acting  is sports: you’ve gotta have emotional content but you can’t go out of bounds.”

“The thing about editing is, it’s the third draft.”

“And cut! Good…Wish we shot it.”at 1AM

And here’s one of our favorite stories from the set, which happened on the morning of Day 2: An LA cop drove up to the location and expressed disappointment that we were filming in his fave breakfast spot.  We offered him food from our truck, and his response was: “Low budget feature? I’m not eating that.”

Check out a gallery of on-set photos below, taken by me and our background casting director (and jack-of-all-trades) Hilary Barraford.  Keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-t0-the-moment updates from the set.

4 Responses to “Go for Sisters Shooting Update 1”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for sharing this information. My brother is thrilled to be apart of this film as an extra. John Sayles has been his favorite director since he saw movie The Secaucus Seven. I look forward to reading how the movie is progressing.

  2. Gassius says:

    Thank you for taking the time to give some really good information, lovely pictures…

  3. jim says:

    I just found this site after watching man with guns and wish to express my thanks for 30+ years of filmaking.
    Always a thoughtful human movie when watching a Sayles picture.
    Thanks again and many more years of the same.

  4. jim says:

    Men with Guns not man with guns

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