Friday, April 15, 2011



JEREMY: We began shooting Blood Pudding before Laugh A Little, but due to problems involving a particularly bleak winter production was put on hold until spring the following year. The exact details of our first shoot are lost in the convoluted passages of time, but if I was a betting man I would say that it was the scene where Byron murders his mother. We ended up shooting this scene twice. The first time was at the apartment of an acquaintance of Dar's named James Bolt.

Now, to say that Bolt was mentally unstable would be like saying Howard Hughes didn't like germs. Rumors abounded that he was a borderline genius who was slowly being driven insane by his mental superiority. He could see the shadows left behind by mice in his apartment hours after the fact and he had no sphincter so a tube was surgically implanted in his side that allowed him to relieve his waste by lying sideways on the toilet.

We all gathered for the shoot, which was to take place at Bolt's diminutive upstairs apartment. Bolt was this skinny little white boy who lived in a predominately black neighborhood, and not a nice upper class neighborhood either. Drug deals were taking place right before our eyes as we arrived at the apartment. As previously stated, I was going through a cowboy faze at the time and was decked out in black leather cowboy boots and a white wicker hat. Bolt took one look at me and said with a wry grin, "Boy, are you in the wrong neighborhood." I declined an offer of meth from a passerby and agreed with him.

We decided to grab a bite to eat at a nearby pizza joint before we started. We all squeezed into Bolt's jalopy, which was minus a passenger side window and a heater (this was during a particularly cold fall) and afterwards, as we were driving back to Bolt's place, a cop car flashed its lights and pulled us over.

Bolt started gibbering to us about how much he hated cops and how they had dragged him from his car on more than one occasion and beat the tar out of him. Dar and Joe told him to be cool and I sat silently in the back, hoping the cop wouldn’t frisk us because, as always, I had my knife sheathed on the back of my belt. The cop, a large and corpulent man, ambled over like he was king shit on fuck mountain and told Bolt to hand over his license and registration.

"Yes, officer!" Bolt hissed in an acidic tone.

I felt my stomach do an elevator-length dive. No wonder this guy was constantly getting his head bashed in by cops, and now he was about to get our heads bashed in as well. While the cop waited for Bolt to retrieve the registration from the glove box he shone the flashlight in my face, studying me for what seemed like fifteen minutes before finally turning his attention to the others. He asked Bolt if this was his car and Bolt hissed, "Yes, officer!" He asked him if he knew he was speeding. "No, officer!"

It took the cop about twenty minutes to do a background check and all I could think of was Man, I'm going to jail tonight! The first chance I have to be part of a movie and I'm going to spend it in some cell where a hulking guy named Bubba will declare me his bitch.

In the end, the cop let us go with a warning. Bolt thanked him in that acidic tone and we made it back to the apartment without any further delays.


JOE: I do not remember why I agreed to do the first shoot of Blood Pudding at Bolt's apartment. It was all wrong for the scene. As Jeremy stated above, we were shooting the part where Byron murders his mother, but what we shot here is not what ended up in the finished movie. As I had originally planned it, the scene was to feature Byron, his mother, and his sister gathered in the kitchen one early morning, preparing for breakfast. We were going to shoot this at my house but that changed as my house's kitchen didn't fit what I had envisioned.

When we changed locations my little sister could no longer be in the movie. That wasn't really a problem; I just dropped the role of the little sister all together. Next, my other sister, who was to play the mother, decided not to be in the movie. This was at the last minute. What the heck were we going to do?! We couldn't just cut out the mother! This was the scene that was supposed to reel in the audience! So I did the only thing I could think of at the time. I asked Jeremy to play the mother. Jeremy just stared at me. I don't remember if I asked him the night of the shoot or if this happened before the shoot. I'm leaning toward the latter.

JEREMY: Yes, it was the night of the shoot. Joe and Dar conspired against me. I was just there as an extra hand to help out in whatever way I could, but I didn't realize to what extent my dedication to the group would ultimately take me.  They had brought the dress and wig with them with the idea of Joe playing the role, but Joe changed his mind and asked me at the last minute to assume the role as he wanted to concentrate on directing (likely excuse!).

JOE: Jeremy put the dress on over his clothes and we all burst into laughter at how ridiculous he looked. It would take Jeremy a lot of hormone therapy to pass himself off as a woman. So we just changed the story a little bit to fit what we had. Jeremy would now be playing Byron's father. Why was he wearing a dress?! Well, Byron's father was all messed up in the head because his wife died in childbirth. The baby lived and was deformed. The father had a hard time dealing with this so when he had the most trouble coping with this fact, or if certain issues arose that he could not deal with, he would dress in his dead wife's clothes and, more often than not, use this as an excuse to abuse Byron. It worked and also added a little something extra to the movie.

JEREMY: I wasn't thrilled about playing a woman my first time out of the gate as an actor, but once we cooked up the idea of me playing the father who was in turn playing the mother to escape the pressures of his life I felt a bit more comfortable about the whole thing (or as comfortable as one can feel in a dress, wig, and makeup). To my way of thinking, this added another notch to the overall quirkiness of the movie.

JOE: It was only Jeremy, Darren and I at this shoot. Darren applied the Byron make-up to his face, Jeremy donned the dress and wig, and I set things up for the shoot. As far as I recall, the shoot went smoothly enough. Bolt left before we started. To where I haven’t a clue, but he was gone the rest of the night. I think we were all thankful for that. We could get right down to shooting with no distractions.

I had played this scene so many times in my head that I knew exactly how I would film it. Here it is in a nutshell: Mother/Father (as we now called the parent) was cooking breakfast for himself and Byron. Because Mother/Father was sporting a dress today, Byron sat quietly in a corner, knowing the situation could become abusive in a heartbeat. He was snacking on a loaf of bread and a whole stick of butter. Yummy! Everything was going well until Mother/Father says, "Byron, could you get your mother some more eggs?" Byron does not want to get up but does so to maintain the peace. He grabs a handful of eggs but on his short journey from fridge to stove he stumbles and drops them all.

JEREMY: There's a bit here after Dar drops the eggs where Joe has him step on them. Joe never came out and said it but I like to believe this represented Byron's situation: He's literally walking on eggshells around his Mother/Father.

 Mother/Father is furious. "You shit! You ungrateful little shit!" Byron shudders. Mother/Father snaps and throws Byron to the floor. Then Mother/Father bashes Byron in the head several times with the frying pan. Byron lays there in a pool of his own blood. Mother/Father storms out of the room and returns a moment later, asking Byron, "Haven't my lessons taught you anything?" Now it's Byron's turn to snap. He leaps to his feet, grabs a large knife, and stabs Mother/Father multiple times in the chest. Mother/Father dies and Byron leaves the house, free at last.

JEREMY: The whole shoot went fairly well with few complications. There were, of course, some kinks we had to work out in all of our departments (Joe's first time directing, Dar and I acting, etc.). The hardest thing about the evening was cleaning the fake blood off Bolt's kitchen floor before he came home. Dried corn syrup isn't exactly the easiest substance to wipe off a linoleum surface, I can assure you.

We later re-shot this scene at Joe's grandmother's house, which turned out to be a marked improvement. We re-shot it for two reasons; the first being that we lost the footage. Secondly, we thought the scene as originally shot wasn't all that impressive.

JOE: Ahhh, losing the footage. What an epic tale of hardship and woe. Darren gave Bolt the footage to watch. Why we did not watch it with him is beyond me. Darren did not tell us that he gave Bolt the footage until we asked him where it was. That certainly was irritating! So, weeks went by, we shot some more of the movie, no word from Bolt. We shoot some more of the movie, still no Bolt. No one could get a hold of Bolt. It would seem Bolt picked this particular point to fall off the face of the Earth. Great!

We ended up re-shooting this entire scene at my grandmother's house. Bolt finally reappreared shortly thereafter. Turns out he was holed up with some chick he just met, engaging in wild orgies every night. Well, at least we got the footage back. In retrospect, I'm glad the footage was considered lost. The re-shot Mother/Father death scene ended up being far superior to the orginal version. We had learned a lot since we shot that scene. Things were coming together nicely. Or so we thought.



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