Days Until Release: 10

Another excerpt, this time featuring the Gentleman from the title.

(c) Lila Dubois, 2013


There was a touch on his shoulder, and Oren looked up. Jo, a pretty, artsy woman with dark hair sporting one icy-blue stripe near the front, smiled at him. “I forgot to say hi. Hi, Oren.”

He chuckled. “Hello, Jo.”

“You don’t need to say hi. We see him every day.” Cali bitched from behind them.

“I’ve told you before, I’m sure they have medication for whatever’s wrong with you.” Jo returned to the couches, taking a seat next to Cali even as they continued sniping at each other.

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

“Denial. A symptom, wouldn’t you agree, Oren?”

“Leave me out of this.”

“You’re getting bitchier as you get skinnier,” Cali told Jo.

“What can I say? Amazing sex burns calories.”

Oren had a very brief image of Jo having sex with her boyfriend—he was one of the monsters, but unlike the ones who were acting in the movie, Jo’s guy Tokaki turned into a massive white tiger almost as long as a freight car from the tip of his tail to his nose. The mental image of them having sex made hentai tentacle porn look tame.

“Jesus,” Oren murmured. He finally had the best shots cued up and in order. “Ready?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Yes—wait, there’s more people coming,” Jo said, ignoring Cali’s groan of frustration.

Though the dailies didn’t need to be seen by anyone but Cali and her assistant directors, as the production went on more department heads showed up every day. Some were just curious, he was sure, but others had realized that since the monsters wouldn’t adapt to the world they created the way animator-created computer monsters would, they had to pay more attention to what the actors looked like, how they moved and what fit their scale.

Pete Bierbaum, the special effects supervisor, was the first one in. He only recently lost his dazed look. In charge of all the real effects—things in the camera, such as blowing up cars—he’d been having a field day since he realized that if he wanted one of the actors to chuck a car across the road, he could just ask them to chuck a car across the road—no rigging, engineers or expense besides the car itself. This had more than doubled what he could do with his budget, and the man had developed a borderline obsession with having the monsters drop stuff from fifty feet up, just to watch it crash.

He was followed by the VFX supervisor. Visual effects were the big men and women on campus on most movies, and Catherine seemed at a bit of a loss as to what she’d be doing. They’d made a good choice in VFX—Catherine was good and creative. She’d take the footage, which was already amazing, and make it more so.

The location manager, Nell, took a seat on the floor by Jo, opening a binder and pointing to what were probably photos of upcoming locations. Jo was responsible for the overall look of the movie, and that meant she had to okay all locations. Since those locations also had to be cleared through the producers and Cali, the LM’s job was not one Oren envied.

More above-the-line people filtered in, including the assistant directors, casting director—who had to vet all principal actors to make sure they wouldn’t freak when they saw the monsters—special effects makeup and the director of photography, who was wearing a shirt that said Show Me Where to Point the Camera.

“Play it,” Cali demanded.

There was silence as the scenes played on the massive main monitor. The film was raw even though it was digital, with the scene timings and tags running along the bottom. The sound wasn’t fully synched yet, so not all the dialogue came through, but it was enough.

When it was done playing, Oren turned in his seat. He scanned the faces, seeing awe, shock, thoughtfulness and anxiety.

“It’s good.” The assembled group looked to the door, where Margo, one of the producers, stood. Her dark hair tumbled around her in waves and her ever-present clipboard rested on her hip. “Good job with the kiss. The stuff I saw last night was bad.”

“Don’t say bad,” Cali stood, wading through the group. “But yeah, it sucked. They worked it out.”

“Good job, everyone.” Margo nodded, then she and Cali left the room.

Little by little, the others filtered out, many stopping to chat or asking to see a particular scene. When they were gone, Oren leaned back in his chair. Checking his watch, he saw that it was just after two. He could drive an hour to his place in North Hollywood, get a few hours of sleep and then drive to set. Or he could just crash on one of the couches here.

Grabbing a pillow from a desk drawer, he ambled over to the couches. He’d forgotten how long the days were, how tiring and frustrating it could be.

He closed his eyes, a smile creeping over his face. It was good to be back.

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