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Jennifer Reeder's Production Notes

Tue, Feb 26, 2008

Jennifer Reeder and Mike Olenick set up a shot.

About the Movie

Accidents at Home and How They Happen is a story by a woman about women. I am committed to this voice and to producing unexpected narratives. I have made a movie that I have never seen before. The unhurried pacing and the awkward dialogue are purposeful and provide a meaningful counter to another type of story in which the plot is predictable, the characters are knowable and the ending is wrapped tightly and is evident from miles away. Life is difficult and embarrassing and sad and lovely and lonely and I believe that the most effective contemporary filmmaking, should reflect this striking complication.

About The Crew

Jennifer Lange, Line Producer:
We are both named Jennifer, we both have two children under the age of four. At the start of this, I was all: “Hey, Jennifer, we should do something really hard and thankless over the next several months just to see what might happen.” 

Jennifer was paramount in securing all the HD equipment and many of the locations. She drove forgotten cables and adaptors to the set and dressed up for the costume party scene. I will never be able to thank her enough for her generosity and support through every stage of this project. She truly was instrumental in realizing a huge dream of mine, and I don't mean a lot of driving back and forth to Cincinnati to retrieve/return HD gear.

Mike Olenick, Director of Photography and Editor:
Mike is also a Wexner Center worker. He has been working in Art and Tech for quite a while, collecting film stills and not eating meat for even longer. MikeO edited The Closer Stockholm and we were confident about working together again. We had a similar vision for the texture and pacing of this project and both cited Cronenberg, Lynch, Haynes and Antonioni as relative models. MikeO and I trusted each other on set, working as one giant eye and ear. Occasional tension was followed by a head-shaking/eye-rolling combination, as we would realize that what seemed like a disagreement was in fact an agreement with opposing sentence structure. Jamie Boyle, The Assistant Director, referred to us once and lovingly as “The Bickersons”.

During postproduction, MikeO and I became one brain. He is a brilliant editor and should host his own TV show called Extreme Timeline Makeover. We edited hours of footage over many months. We sat day after day in a dark room with no windows, sometimes sitting on chairs and other times sitting on yoga balls. We shared small troughs of dried fruits and nuts like tech-savvy woodland animals and agreed that we would make cuts until the piece was perfect.

No one has been more dedicated to this project than him. I owe him one million soy cheese pizza rolls. Toward the end of the final edit MikeO found and purchased a radio-play from the 1950s called “The Bickersons”. We propped the record up against one of the many monitors we had acquired over the months of postproduction for inspiration and a reminder that we will make another movie together someday. MikeO's remarkable talents behind the camera and in front of an AVID timeline are evident in every frame of this movie. I love him. He loves Godard.

Jamie Boyle, Assistant Director:
First of all, had I known that Jamie was a Scorpio when I met her, I would not have hired her. Scorpios are irresistible but they break your heart. Jamie is not a typical Scorpio and in fact I think that she may actually be a Virgo. Virgos “get the job done” and Jamie did just that. Jamie found me a fake arm, a dead bird, a bunny planter, a prom dress, gold teeth, and arranged all the catering. She supervised the script, managed continuity, dressed the set and prepared all the fake blood. Jamie made me laugh so hard during pre-production and on set that I peed my pants. She was laughing too, but I don't think she peed. She is the only person ever in my life aside from my mother to sense the limit of my stress and anxiety and suggest without pretense that I step outside for some fresh air. Or a good cry. Jamie is also one of the most talented young artists I have ever met.

Jeremy Boyle, score:
The thing about Jeremy, besides him being Jamie's older brother, is that it's very hard to get him to respond to email or a phone or text message but once you get him in person, he won't SHUT UP. He is not very communicative at a distance, but close up he loves to tell stories... long ones, hilarious ones!! He made the most beautiful music for this movie. In fact, the most beautiful movie music ever to be made.

Erik Larson, sound recordist:
Early during production, we began to refer to Erik as the “wordsmith.”  He invented a lot of riddles on set about the set...not great ones but many. During postproduction we sent Erik to Pittsburg twice to pick up equipment. He did so without complaint, all while wearing a huge black hoodie covered with gold dollar signs. Erik is a very smart experimental filmmaker who once worked for Jeanine Antoni. He recently moved back to NYC and is currently finishing post production on a music video for an eight-year old rapper, which is typically the route that most dudes take after they have worked with me.

Jon Cole, Assistant Editor:
Jon monitored time-code on set and took detailed notes about EVERY take of EVERY scene. He got very good at discerning between a cut that was so great and a cut that was really great and figuring out which I considered was actually the better take. During early post-production Jon spent many overnights in Art and Tech logging footage. He logged every frame of footage and synched all the dialog to lines in an electronic script. One morning after Jon had left, MikeO and I arrived to a half-bag of Cheetos, a half-bag of Doritos and a half-bag of pretzels. I finished the Cheetos and Doritos well before lunch and never replaced them or apologized. That was rude. Jon was the most dude-like of all the dudes on set but he is a true feminist on the inside and a very good dancer. Jon graduates from CCAD this spring with a BFA in Photography and Video. He is a very talented art-maker but if that doesn't work out, he should log HD footage for a living. I also owe him two bags of chips.

D-Day, gaffer:
He came to us fresh from the set of Spiderman 3. He used a lot of professional lingo on-set. For instance, a stinger actually refers to an extension cord, not a bumblebee. Or a scorpion.  This made the whole operation seem less DIY and certainly calmer once everyone realized that there was not a scorpion on set. I cast him moments before the camera rolled as a patient in the “trust fall” scene. He is the tall guy in the hat who catches the girl after the guy in the tie does not catch her.

Daniel Z, production assistant:
Daniel was on his way to film school at NYU in NYC when we hired him to help out. He was unbelievably dedicated and although at first shameless in his concern with the subtle nature of the script, he was, by the end of production, glued to the monitor with curiousness and confidence. I think Daniel learned a lot, including how to buy and apply black eyeliner and perhaps NOT how to make a first feature film. I am certain he has a bright future in the movies and I hope he does not soon forget or regret how he spent the summer of 2007.

About The Cast

This cast ranges from actors with lots of experience to those with no acting experience at all. We hired drama students, drama teachers, an English teacher, a poet, several teenagers, and a famous DJ.

Tatiana Suarez-Pico was hired for the lead. We brought her in from NYC for the three weeks of shooting and she nailed every scene.  Plus she does a pretty good Amy Winehouse impression, but without the drunkenness or face scratching. I will write another script just for Tatiana, that is certain.


I dedicate this movie and all the ones I have previously made and all the ones I have yet to make, to every woman and girl who has or will ever picked up a movie camera with the intent to reinvent the universe.
PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

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