BUSTER BUSINESS short film

Over the first weekend of September, Brittany and I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina to work on BUSTER BUSINESS, a comedy short film in the vein of Charlie Chaplin and Pixar, where a quirky man named Buster interviews for a job at Big Business. The film was written and directed by Gunner Willis and Corey Wavle, who also stars as the lead Buster, with Zach Robinson and MJ Slide as Producers.

Day one took place entirely on a sound stage at Anderson College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In the photo below, Gunner Willis directs the corporate extras who work at Big Business as an anonymous mob of black ties and briefcases. MJ Slide looks on as the 1st AD, keeping the production safe and on schedule. The rail across the room was the dolly track, which was used for many moving shots.

Corey Wavle played Buster as a timid but quick witted man with a Kurt Cobain hairstyle and taste for vintage clothes. He enters the lions’ den, totally out of his element, but when faced with unpredictable obstacles and impossible questions, Buster turns his troubles into his advantages. I was not familiar with Wavle’s acting, but knew him previously from his work as a 1st AC on GOOD HAIR THE MOVIE. Gunner Willis, the Director, is a working actor himself, who has appeared in minor roles on Netflix’s OZARK and HBO’s VICE PRINCIPALS television series.

The remainder of the crew on BUSTER BUSINESS was a total pleasure to work with, and involved John Carrington (DP), Kyle Vines (1st AC), Levi Milinar (2nd AC), Thomas Propst (Sound Mixer), Rob Leonard (Boom Op), Shane McMullin (Gaffer), Diana Valerie (Makeup / Hair), Carol Flack (Wardrobe), Clayton Tilley (Production Designer), Rachel Summers (Art Design), Jamie Condon (Key Grip), Micah Taylor (Swing Grip), Tommy Schwendler (Grip), Ben Wallace (Grip), Jon Stegenga (Grip), Nina Publico (PA), Elizabeth Paige (PA), and Brittany Jackson (PA) with BTS photos by Elizabeth Kabakjian and Jordan Hawkins. Supporting actors also included Russ Wood, Joe Wilson, Bruce Green, Debbie Goodwin, Rishik Patel, and Jared Buchholz.

We did it. And I couldn’t be more exhausted or proud. #BusterBusiness ? – @jzhawkins

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As the Script Supervisor, I worked closely with the Director, Gunner Willis, to note each take for script consistency as well as any visual incongruities. I kept a running log of notes which should serve as an important resource for the Editor, so they may anticipate any problems with a performance or production error in advance, and know exactly which take was best received. As one of the few people on set who actively watched the monitor for each take, I feel lucky to have such an inside perspective on how hilariously beautiful this film will be once it’s finished.

Be on the lookout for more info on BUSTER BUSINESS over the next few months as they enter post production and beyond. I expect the entire film will be completed by the end of the year with a slew of film festival screenings starting in early 2018.

GOOD HAIR @ Films on Tap

GOOD HAIR THE MOVIE recently screened at Films on Tap, the sixth event of its kind in Charlotte, North Carolina, which was hosted by comedian Blayr Nias in the tasting room of Birdsong Brewing Company. Each film was paired with a beer, and samples were passed around to the audience between screenings. GOOD HAIR was paired with the Doin’ Thyme Springtime Ale because of the couple’s transition from the winter into the springtime of their relationship, and Khi is doin’ time in the doghouse with Frankie for most of the movie. At least that’s our take on it.

I traveled to Charlotte with Brittany Jackson and Madeleine Richardson, two of the founders of the Cat Fly Film Festival, as well as Jeff Alexander, leading actor in THE REPLICA RAID short, WHEN FACT MET FICTION web-series, and recent OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY film with Jennifer Anniston and Jason Bateman. At the event, we all reconnected with members of the GOOD HAIR THE MOVIE crew such as Andrew Bradford (DP), Thomas Propst (Sound), Cocaine (the puppy), and writers / directors / leading actors / power duo Catherine Dee Holly and Fray Forde.

As visitors to Charlotte, we were amazed that nothing like Films on Tap currently exists in Asheville, NC, which has a plethora of potential venues for such an event. After all, Asheville held the “Beer City, USA” title for so many years and draws countless tourism to the city every year for its craft beer culture. With a little luck, I bet we see something like Films on Tap happen in Asheville soon enough.

GOOD HAIR // short film


Last month, I came onboard as a producer on GOOD HAIR, a comedy about the millennial romantic experience. GOOD HAIR stars Catherine Dee Holly, an educating artist at both the Alliance Theatre and True Colors Theatre who has been featured in Comedy Central’s WORKAHOLICS, and comedian / actor Fray Forde who was part of the principal cast in the Atlanta based web-series QUARTER LIFE*, and has shared the stage with Hannibal Buress, Eric Andre, and TJ Miller.

behind the scenes #production #filmmaking #movieset #atlfilm #goodhair

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GOOD HAIR involves an empty conditioner bottle which spawns what appears to be argument of the day for couple Frankie and Khi. After the argument, Khi seeks advice from his best friend Elijah, and attempts to remedy the situation with a romantic gesture for Frankie. Meanwhile, a conversation with Charlotte, Frankie’s best friend and Elijah’s wife, ignites Frankie’s existential crisis. GOOD HAIR explores a millennial long term relationship and the split ends along the way.

Image by Andrew Bradford

I initially provided constructive story and dialogue feedback where a few of my joke ideas found their way into the final script. In my notes, I suggested product placement could be beneficial for the conditioner bottle, so it wouldn’t be necessary to hide any labels while shooting. We secured a local Atlanta brand of conditioner called Aunt Jackie’s Curls & Coils, courtesy of the House of Cheatham.

We were also lucky to have an amazing crew, as seen below, including Andrew Bradford (Director of Photography), Corey Wavle (1st AC), Will McBride (1st AD) Thomas Propst (Sound), Morgan Moore (Grip), Jason Carroll (Gaffer), Erin Hodges (Scripty), Chaz Scovel (Crafty), and an amazing team of production assistants: Nina Publico, Brittany Jackson, Madeleine Richardson, Cat Wityk, and Keeley Turner.

Image by Andrew Bradford

GOOD HAIR is currently in post, expected to be completed by February 2017 with a premiere event at Highwire Comedy on Friday, February 10th in Atlanta, Georgia.