Watching a film, you just can’t help picking your favorites. That is true for characters, the actors playing them, and of course certain scenes or sequences that just get stuck in your head and keep replaying before your mind’s eye for a long time. While making a film puts you in a very different, almost opposite, perspective, it is a journey full of hard work first and foremost. But like on every journey, there are things you like to remember, as well as things that leave such an impression on you that you can’t get rid of them. In the second part of her Set Stories, Iabou Windimere offers her Favourite Moments as Assistant Director on Randy Fabert’s ‘Psycho Killer’.
Favorite Moments as First Assistant Director
Randy and I became best film friends after hours of talking about films and how to be a “Film Artist” instead of a “Filmmaker”. When we realized we had the same goals for our projects, he asked if I would come in and be an AD for ‘Psycho Killer’ and I said “sure”. There are so many interesting and good memories I have from doing that. The interesting ones, we are all sworn to secrecy about. It’s almost like the Las Vegas tagline… what happens on set stays on set. But I can share a few of the good moments.
The Danger shot
There is a shot right before the killer pummels a guy in a wheel chair, played by my good friend Mike Catron. Randy explained the scene: “We’re gonna have a shot of me taking the time to change guns while all this chaos is going on.” I told Randy the shot needed something. There’s that rule that every shot has to have a purpose or you’ll just cut it later, and coolness is an acceptable reason. There was all this red DANGER tape everywhere in the tunnel, so we took about 20 minutes setting up the shot so the DANGER tape would fall just right. The actors are all complaining, and we are pretending we can’t hear…. And the shot was amazing. We created a term… we call it “The DANGER shot”. It’s any shot the DP just has to have because its pretty and freaking awesome, and usually it takes half a day to set up. And it was never in the script. Eccept that now we all just write in “insert DANGER shot here”.
The Cob Webs
Doug is fighting the killer in the kill room, and we are trying to get a pretty high shot. The ceiling is covered in cobwebs and Randy asks me to make the cobwebs move so I stood there, off camera, randomly blowing very softly to make it look like the cobwebs are swaying for about half a second shot. But when you see the shot, something inside tells you something awesome happened there.
The Dead Mouse
Like I said earlier, the special recipe of blood, which Randy makes himself, is loaded with sugar. Apparently between filming weekends a little, cute, fuzzy mouse was living off of the blood on the kill table and got stuck. It got really cold so the poor thing probably died from freezing to death, since he had plenty of sugar. The girls were terrified of it. So I kept mentioning it to freak them out for the scene. You can actually see the fuzzy little guy in a few shots.
Ceiling Tiles and the Top of the Shelf
When Doug was throwing the Killer around the kill room there’s a few shots where the wall is falling apart. For the first shot, that is indeed a one take shot of the wall falling apart. The second shot Kenny and I are throwing wall pieces at the wall above the shot so that they appear to be falling down. However, during a lot of that entire fight, I am sitting at the very top of the shelf, while Doug is throwing the killer against it. I just climbed right up the shelf, everyone eagerly took turns holding my ass while I did. I was a little freaked out up there, but I sucked it up. That shelf was not stable at all. I had one hand full of ceiling tiles, and the other was holding onto rebar hanging from the ceiling – so if the shelf gave, I could swing down with the rebar. You might be able to see one of my shoelaces hanging down in the shot from above. The best moment of all of it was the tile that hits the killer in the head.. watch and wait for it. That was pure Director-AD humor with a sprinkle of actor torture on top… but we all agreed it was a great shot, and worth my near death experiences every time the Killer flew into the shelf.
Doug hits his Head on the Wheel
When the Killer throws Doug against the wheel in the tunnel, Doug did hit his head pretty good. Actually, most of that fight was real. Randy told me to keep rolling if someone got hurt… First rule of filming: Leave the camera rolling, then call 911.
The Fight Scene where Stuff Falls from the Ceiling
During the hall part of the fight scene Randy and I had stuff rigged to fall when they ran into it while fighting. We had to rehang all of it every shot… it was a long day. But it gave you Goosebumps every time Randy yelled action.
Randy Scared by Joe
Multiple crew played the Killer at various times as stunt men. John Handorf was the main actor for the Killer. There is a sequence of shots of the Killer attacking Randy and Doug, and he gets his eye shot out. I told Randy we really needed a pro-trained actor to do the stunts for those shots. I got hold of Joe Kidd to come in and be the official Stuntman for that crazy sequence of events. We all know Joe will do anything – and, as usual, he did. In fact, there’s a look of complete horror on Randy’s face when the Killer comes after him – that’s real fear. Joe scared the crap out of Randy. I was worried he was going to run the camera down… and he almost did.
Joe is also trained on how to take falls. I should mention he’s a Marine, so he doesn’t understand the word “pain”, or the concept of it, either. I think we should all have at least one Marine on set. We had three. When the Killer falls backwards and his head bounces – that’s no camera trick. That’s Joe doing what Joe does best… any and everything.
All in all Randy Fabert is great to work with. I still have to retrain myself that, when he’s there, I don’t have to run to the store around the corner and grab him some sweet tea. I’ve been a Director too, and I know it’s great to have an AD to go run to the store or to your car and grab your stuff for you. He does the same on my set for me
– Iabou Windimere
Iabou Windimere is an experienced film and television actress, and a model. She has won titles for “Best Female Monologue”, “Best Supergirl”, and – we’re still wondering how exactly – “Best Comic Book Character”. When she is not in front of the camera, or behind it, she writes or does other things. Born in California she now lives in Ohio. Check out her website at www.iabou.net or stop by on her Facebook at www.facebook.com/iabouwindimere page and tell her you Like what she does.