Sunday, September 25, 2011


It's the iconic music that makes your shoulders hunch and little hairs on your body stick up. It's "the shape" that comes from the shadows with a mask on his face. It's the 21 day shoot. The meager budget. It's all the right people in place. The selection of great ideas. The focus on the most important things, and nothing else. It's so simple, it's genius. I recently watched a documentary about the making of the movie Halloween. We all know it, right? Who knows the story about how it was made?

This is such a great story, and it felt so apropos that I was watching it at this moment in this phase of my new business development.

Literally this producer (sorry, can't remember) saw one of John Carpenters early student films, and decides he wants to work with him and a movie. Not written for this actor, no selected script, no studio studio...just a movie. Any movie. He recognizes Carpenter's raw talent and just has a feeling. He makes that ONE decision. He wants to work with him.

So, this producer approaches Carpenter, and says horror films are easy to make, so how about it? John Carpenter is much more interested in making epic films, but he's fresh from school and wants the work, and he gets a feeling about it  and says yes.

John Carpenter decides he can make the movie for $300K. Really? So, they head off to get financed. No script. No title. No big name actors signed on. Just a vague idea about a horror film that might be about babysitting murders. They have a meeting, and the financier says that he always gets nervous when a budget it too high or too little, but he had a feeling about Carpenter, so he handed over the money.

Are you recognizing a theme?

Next, the producer thinks hmm we're doing a horror film, it's near Halloween...what if we call the movie Halloween? No way, they all think, that's probably been done?!

Nope. Never in the history of Hollywood had the word Holloween been used in a movie title until 1978, when this movie was made. From there, the ideas and script literally bloomed.

First was the idea of Michael Meyers, literally called "The Shape." That idea alone was revolutionary. All horror films had made the antagonist bigger than real life (dracula, dr jeckyll and mr hyde, frankenstein, etc). This movie made him devoid of life. Terrifying. A shape in the dark. I'm creeped out writing it!! PS, I'm not a horror film junkie. I just LOVE "making of" stories like this!!

With a script finally in place, they had three weeks to shoot the film. Three weeks. That is all their bitty budget could afford. But, John Carpenter made sure of 3 things: 1) It was edited at the best studio, 2) it was shot with the best film, and 3) it was sound mixed at the best studio. That is where he spent his money. The rest, he, the cast and crew did themselves. Simple, straight forward, smart decisions.

The role of Michael Meyers was actually shot with 5 different people. The main actor, with really no acting experience, just had a physical presence about him. Which is EXACTLY why John hired him, and all the actors. His approach was not to coach the performance out of his team. He wanted them to just do what they do naturally, and to use their raw presence and talent is exactly why he hired them in the first place. How smart is that? He literally pulled THE essence of each character out and hired for that purpose only.

They did wrap up the filming in three weeks. The opening scene was actually shot last. It was a 4.5 minute continuous shot. Nearly unheard of at the time. They invented a body mounted camera so there would be subjective perspective with no shake. 70 lbs mounted on one camerman. All around the camera they had crew moving lights and bustling around to keep the shot going. The effect was a fluid creepy movement with the antagonizt POV, and it cost them NOTHING. They built it!

After they finished shooting, they screened it with a studio head who hated it. What was wrong? No music score. So...John Carpenter wrote it himself. There are just three sounds to the music. A high note piano di-di-di-di-dii-di-di-di-di-diii... an organ (we think it's an organ) that plays this long daaaaaaaaaa, daaaaaaaaaaaa, daaaaaaaaa and this third sound. To me it sounds like a fluttering. Andrew calls it a tapping. We listened to it a few times trying to break it down. If I had to break apart the music, the piano is the emotion the tension, the anxiety, the fear, it's fragile and vulnerable. It's Jamie Lee Curtis. The organ is the threat. It's Michael Meyers. The tapping is you. It's your heart racing, your breath shallow. Again, it's genius.

He screened it again with the same studio head, and she loved it.

They started with nothing, nothing but a sense, a feeling. They grew into an idea, and wound up in a creative explosion. Decisions made based on a gut sense, and intuition. Every role was filled with people doing the best of what they did. The sum of the parts equaling more than they could alone. They made simple decisions. Smart decisions. It seemed to me, there was also a total lack of expectations and a total fullness of commitment to what they were doing.

When I watched this documentary, I was reminded that you've got to trust your judgement, your gut, your idea and talent. I love this. I love that things dont have to follow a form, or formula, to be just exactly the way they are supposed to be. I need the reminder that sometimes even if the order isn't as I expected, it can still be exactly right. I needed this reminder b/c I feel stalled sometimes. I have doubts and fears. I start wondering how other people are doing it. It's valuable to learn from others, but not if it's cluttering my mind with comparison.

The update is that working with Kaia (, we've come up with 2 variations on first garment, the onepiece. We will do one of them. I LOVE them both!!  Unfortunately, it's took almost a full month to get the technical work done. It's felt like an eternity to me. The truth is, I didn't have the right person in place. I had A person in place. I've hired a new tech designer and she's amazing. She's brought so much more to this business than I could have expected.

The tech packages are with my factory agent as I write. I should hear back at some point in October, plug in my final numbers...THAT'S IT. Production!! What have I been doing during this time?
Creating mood boards for brand and art (can't wait to share), geting my website active (, there isn't anything there yet. But, it's THERE!!), getting my email address updated, and getting my legal paperwork done. That's no small amount of stuff...and hey, it only took me three weeks! :)