Behind the Scenes

taking on hollywood
No film is ever the work of just one or two people. To make Trailer work, Douglas and Paco needed someone who could organize the shoot. Lisa Guzman was working for a television network, coordinating promotional spots. One night when she was dropping off tapes at the post-production company, Paco approached her about being the Unit Production Manager - the person responsible for making the shoot work. Though she'd never worked on an independent film before, Lisa knew how to organize a shoot. She took the job.

Lisa proved so valuable that halfway through pre-production she was promoted to Associate Producer. Then on the first day of shooting, Paco and Douglas looked at how efficiently she handled the problems that kept popping up, and knew she had to be a full producer.
One of the few people at the project core who really had experience with film was the Director of Photography, Clay Westervelt. With a Master's degree from the USC School of Cinema, Clay had the background Douglas needed to effectively direct the production. They worked from Douglas' storyboards to create a detailed plan for every shot.


actors, actors everywhere
Early in preproduction, Paco placed a casting notice in Backstage West, a newspaper for LA Actors. From a three week listing, the producers received over 1,000 headshots and resumes. Digging through them almost became a chore, but there was always the hope that the next headshot would be the perfect actor for one of the roles.

Douglas discovered that this isn't the way good casting happens. The headshots mostly became a way to eliminate people who were completely unsuited for the roles. They auditioned dozens of actors over two days at Screenland Studios in Burbank, finally calling back 40 very talented actors for the film's seven roles. Not all ended up coming from the listing. Jon Briddell had responded to the notice, but Emily English heard about the job from Clay the day of the audition. Daniel Southworth (Power Rangers) had sent a tape through one of Paco's editing clients. When Douglas couldn't find exactly what he was looking for from the actors who auditioned for the stunt roles, Dan - who had agreed to choreograph the fight scenes - helped find Travis O'Neill and Justin Maybell who could handle both the physical and comedic aspects of the roles.

For the starring roles of Jake and Bill, the two filmmakers out to sucker audiences with a misleading trailer, Douglas was looking to build a classic comedy duo. Paco made no secret about wanting the role of Bill, and with a Masters degree in Theater Arts and years of experience, he was certainly qualified. In fact, his talent stood out at the audition. Even at the callbacks, there was no question that he was made to play the role. Douglas, however, wouldn't give him the job until he could find someone to play against him. He finally found the perfect foil in Christopher Heltai who could not only nail the jaded, anything-for-a-buck producer that the role demanded, but also complemented Paco in physical type and expression.

With the roles successfully cast, Trailer was ready to go into production.

 

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