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Strange Occurrences

Throughout the phases of this production, strange and some humorous things came to us and then went away just as fast! It’s been as though things were brought to us when we needed them and when we completed the task or use, they were whisked away.

Here are some we’ll share with you:

• Director Donna Marek has incurred additional adventures lately. After being injured on the Boulder Downtown Mall, a hospital visit, she was off to physical therapy at one of the best facilities in the state. Strangely, the therapy facility is right across from the film’s opening scenes..the original location for the ancient sanitarium and school site! The huge chimney was part of the building that housed the hospital’s morgue!

• A few weeks after the injury, Director Marek was ready to place a sign on GraceMar Entertainment’s office door located in a large office building. It was Saturday and the building was deserted which never bothered her. With the keys and her cane in hand, she entered the building, the elevator and pressed the office floor button. The door closed but the elevator didn’t move. Little did she know at that moment there had been a power outage in that section of downtown Boulder. The “help” button crackled but her cell phone worked and she called 911. Alone in the building and elevator, she waited 40 minutes for the fire department to arrive. Marek heard a loud sound as the firefighters crashed through the office building’s locked glass doors! But before the firefighters pried open the elevator door and came to her rescue, Marek quickly did what any Director would: she considered the total scene. Immediately she took out her mini spray perfume! Of course, three great looking firefighters opened the elevator door seconds later and said with big grins, “Hi, how you doing?”

• TEA OR NOT: Some casting and interviews were initially conducted at a local tea shop, including the lovely outdoor patio. We brought lots of business to that shop. However, after that phase of interviews and casting was complete, the shop went out of business and closed. It’s not the only one!

• CONRACTS: To authenticate contracts with the animals, each had to provide a “paw” print on the contract. Some added a “nose print, too!”

• MILLIONNAIRES: Funding for indies and even large studio films is difficult especially today. Director Donna Marek met with a bank Vice President. She said, “I’ve met with probably all the multi-jillionnaires you probably know here in town. They each said the same thing to me: ‘Your business Plan and proposal are outstanding—But, it means investing in film! That’s Scary.’ She replied “Well,… it is a Scary film!”

• ABOUT VICTORIA’S DRESS: Director Marek called everywhere, including an old costume and vintage antique store, inquiring about lace collars for Victoria’s dress. The store had none. At the same time, Marek was waiting replies from costume designers. On one particular Tuesday morning, as she took a relaxing tea break, a designer called saying she was too busy to take on a film project. Minutes later, a designer called to say “yes.” Marek, once again, called the vintage shop to inquire about vintage collars. She was told “it’s strange you called because we just received about 50 lace collars yesterday!”

Marek was also looking for Victoria’s perfect hat. A designer had sent her a photo of a “boater’s hat.” Within an hour, Marek picked out a perfect collar and ventured two doors down to another shop. A sales clerk showed her a “boater’s hat!” exactly like the picture Marek had been sent. But, she said, “no.” Within seconds the woman pulled, seemingly out of nowhere, the exact hat that would appear in the film! Marek purchased it and enjoyed a brief conversation with the elderly shop owner. The hat was sent to the designers for photographing after ribbons and a flower were added. So within an hour, Marek had a costume designer, the perfect Victorian lace collar and the hat! A quite remarkable feat! But, the story continues: One month later: In reviewing the scenes, Marek decided there should be a duplicate dress which meant another collar! “I’ll just return to the vintage shop.”

But, when Marek called, to her surprise, the number was disconnected. She called the other shop and was told it was closed and the store’s contents were auctioned off! Why? Marek was told the owner had died! Which owner, Marek asked. The elderly woman Marek had talked to that day. Thus, the appearance and disappearance of the shop, the collars and, sadly, the owner! Not the only shop to close!

• ANIMALS CAME AND WENT: There are several animals in this film. The Director loved the look and cast a perfect dog, a large Rottweiler, for an intimidating scene. In fact, she had her picture taken with that big friendly dog. Shortly thereafter the dog was in an “argument” with other dogs and bit someone who intervened. The dog was fired.

• TRIVIA: In coordinating an exchange of tapes with an intern and deciding to meet at a store where we were returning a microwave, a tall fit looking young woman appeared out of nowhere and carried the item as though it was a toy. Turns out, she was a discus athlete at the University.

• LOCATIONS: Thinking about the perfect location for a significant scene in the film, Director Marek happened to see someone she knew. In conversation, over coffee, the property owner immediately offered his farm as location! But, filming delays caused the chosen pumpkin patch to be plowed over for planting crops. In its place, came a far more significant spot.

The casting location for extras was in an abandoned area waiting for renovations. Upon walking into the main area, Director Donna Marek had a sudden chill. As the entourage of real estate and management personnel walked upstairs through a long isolated hallway, Director Marek said, “Oh, I feel a chill again.” The operations manager smiled. “This is where our resident ghost shows up!”

• PET STORE: There are several animals in this film. On this occasion, the Director was thinking about a particular type of dog for a significant scene. Marek likes to use locals when possible. She happened upon a specialty pet store. The nice young man there gave her a trainer’s business card, a specialist with that particular breed, namely, Jack Russell Terriers. Marek set up a meeting with the trainer and an “audition” for the dog. Marek immediately cast the atypical Jack Russell Terrier, more mellow and stockier than most. Only weeks later, that specialty pet store closed!

• MANNEQUINS: We had searched everywhere for the right “mannequin” for a fun scene. One day the Director walked into a local bookstore and standing against the window was exactly the “mannequin” she wanted. She talked with the store owner who agreed to loan it to the film and the “mannequin” was cast!

• LOCATIONS: Very early on, the Director approached the owners of a location that, during the 1800’s, was the home for the historical Sanitarium and its outbuildings. After the Sanitarium was totally destroyed by fire, the property sat vacant. Years later, a school was built there. A few years ago, a fire destroyed a good portion of the school. Before the school buildings were demolished and the land cleared, Marek shot several scenes there and on the nearby hills. Shortly after, the land was cleared. After setting vacant again, the owners planned a housing development there. As of the shooting of this film, there were no approvals for a housing project on the site and it sets vacant again.

• GHOSTLY REMINDER: During a meeting with a potential costume designer, she was shown a photo of a little girl sitting on a hill in a dress similar to the one the Director wanted for Victoria. As the designer looked at the photo, she became nervous, her voice shaking, and said, “She looks like my grandmother. It looks just like my grandmother.” She repeated it several times. The Director said, “Well, it is a photo of a girl in Colorado. In our story, our character is from New York.” The woman turned ghastly white! “My grandmother was from New York!” We didn’t use that designer.

• COINCIDENCE: Meeting in a coffee or tea house was common. One late day, the Director sat waiting for a guest. A young man walked in and he, too waited for someone. The Director had just called a particular school only minutes before. During her talk with the young man he said he had just come from school, that particular one! He had also recently returned from an out-of-state conference. Marek had talked about a company but couldn’t recall the name. The young man then told her the conference location was at that same company!

• MORE THAN CREEPY: Throughout the preproduction stages of this film, about 1 ½ years, the Director was basically stalked by a man who kept appearing out of nowhere. It was disconcerting and distracting as she found herself constantly looking over her shoulder! Finally, a female detective contacted the man and he hasn’t been seen since! Boulder is a very weird place! That’s why we are filming there. Oh, “No,” the Director is not developing a story about it….not yet!

• One of our actors eats only organic foods. Guess which one is the gastronome?

• FUNDERS: Marek happened to see one of the investors she had met previously for funding. He stopped her as they were to cross the street and asked very smugly, “Hey, Donna, did you ever get any investors?” “No.” “Well, you know what that means, don’t you?” She looked away and turned toward him. “Yes. It means I’ll have to do it myself and then I’ll have far fewer people to thank at the Academy Awards.” He was shocked and then gave her a little shoulder hug. “What spirit!” One just has to keep on going!

• PRO TRAINERS: On a previous film, the Director had previously worked with a professional animal trainer. She called and the trainer said: “Oh, you must want a German Shepherd?” She said, “No, only one Rottweiler.” He said “How about three German Shepherds?”

• ODE TO INTERNS: The staff needed interns, we asked for 1 and suddenly had 6 on board and were they terrific!

• Each animal’s contract had some special tidbit like a bonus “steak” in it.