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"Feelings don't just matter, they are what mattering means." - Daniel Gilbert

Totally Connected

Production Notes

Totally Connected was shot in Austin, Texas over two days at four locations. Team members of all ages had fun making it. From conception to finish took about two months. This was Brown Rag Films' first project.

Q & A with director Randy Brown

Q: What was the budget?
A: We had under $600 and a two month deadline from conception to completion.

Q: How long did it take to shoot?
A: One weekend: eleven hours on Saturday, twelve on Sunday. We had to keep to a strict schedule, because we had four locations.

Q: Where did you find the actors?
A: I found the man, woman, and kid through an open call on the internet. A few of the supporting actors are friends. By the way, I chose Landon (the kid) because he gave awesome expressions and took direction well in the audition. I had no idea that he was going to star with Lisa Kudrow in "Kabluey".

Q: Where did you get the idea for your film?
A: It's loosely based on an old joke about someone who says "I'm getting a fax" and then farts. We actually shot an ending that involves a fart. In test screenings, many viewers thought it was the funniest part of the film. I left it out because it changed the film's tone from high-brow to low-brow.

Q: Why is the kid on crutches at the end?
A: Earlier in the film, he crashed after his mom stopped restraining him at the birthday party.

Q: What did you shoot on?
A: A Sony FX1 high definition HDV camera.

Q: Who are your influences?
A: Experimental psychologist Steven Pinker and the late filmmaker Stanley Kubrik.

Q: Where did you shoot your film?
A: Austin, Texas.

Q: What's the film about?
A: For me, it's about the priorities we make in our busy lives, among other things.

Q: Do you have another film in mind?
A: I've written several scripts that are close to my heart, all very different from each other.

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Trivia

Who was that kid?

Landon Henninger, who plays the kid, starred as Lisa Kudrow's son in the feature film "Kabluey". Totally Connected was his big-screen debut.

The shoestring challenge

Randy Brown had never made a film before he took on the challenge of writing, producing, and directing Totally Connected for his Film Production One class. He had under $600 and a two month deadline to complete the film. He borrowed or got donated almost everything, including the high-definition camera - the biggest cost was food. In all it took four locations, 24 cast members, 15 crew members (7 of whom were also cast members), and one stuffed dummy.

How the actors were cast

The main three actors all responded to an open call on the internet. The director chose Landon Henninger (who was 5 years old) because of his facial expressions and the fact that he took direction well in the audition. The director had no idea that Landon was going to star with Lisa Kudrow in the feature film "Kabluey".

Real falling papers

In the scene where the fax machine is jammed, the woman throws papers into the air and they fall all around. Many people are surprised to learn that there were no special effects used. However, 75 sheets of additional paper were dropped from above to make the shot last longer.

A familiar pose

The pose of the pedestrians after the accident is a replication of the Pulitzer prize winning photo from the 1970 Kent State tragedy. (See www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0005/filo.htm).

What's inside a dummy?

The dummy pedestrian hit by the car was filled with balloons and shredded paper.

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Audience comments

  • Rich Newman, director - Elsinore Productions:
    Great short from a new director to watch. 'Totally Connected' is a must-see for any aspiring filmmaker.
  • Brian Satterwhite, Film Composer - Nuance Music:
    Funny, well-made, good acting all around, the music was perfect... Kudos on a great film... Congratulations on the acceptance! Bare Bones is a good festival.

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Participant comments

  • Michael Sorrells, actor:
    I thoroughly enjoyed making this film. Any chance I get to make expressions of flatulence while sitting on the toilet, I'm there. I also jump at the opportunity to fall flat on my face while running up stairs (I perform all of my own stunts in this film). Then I got to drive two cars through a crowd of extras while having a dummy thrown on my windshield. Then I learned how to row a boat (while the crew sang "Michael row your boat ashore".) And last, but not least, I got to have pseudo-intercourse with my beautiful co-star. Acting; it's not just a job, it's an adventure. And now I can add to my resume: stunt man, stunt driver, stunt rower, stunt farter, and stunt... (well, you know).
  • Bridget Rahill-Roach, actor:
    Making this film was a lot of fun. I enjoyed interacting with both the cast and crew. Thanks again for the opportunity.
  • Landon Henninger, actor:
    I loved it! My favorite part was pretending to be on crutches! All the people were very nice, oh and they let me have yummy snacks!
  • Deahni Henninger, Landon's mom:
    We had a blast!
  • Wendy Zavaleta, actor:
    You guys are great! Thank you for a fun shoot and for treating your actors with respect. Canít wait to see the finished product.
  • Cass Naumann, actor:
    It was a brisk afternoon walking along a beach that was more rock and brush than sand.
    We had a fire extinguisher and a beer can as marks. Our wonderful director Randy did not always say "Cut" so we often walked fully committed into the dead cold bushes.
    It was quite chilly which probably served to stiffen our movements a bit but I think will be found appropriate to our arrogant, rich selves faxing and conversing through implants in our heads.
    The child actor was adorable, determined, precious and serious which should make the film all the more entertaining.
    Everyone was a pleasure to work with: no divas, no attitudes, just creative minds working together to produce a work of art with a touch of humor.
    I am excited to see the final project thank you for letting me be a part of it.
  • Robert Hachtel, actor:
    The cast and crew were great to work with. Everyone was extremely nice and professional. A great shoot.
  • Heather Materne, Evan Materne's mom:
    Evan enjoyed both the audition process as well as the shoot. Randy and his crew were both fun to be around and professional. Evan particularly liked Randy's 'tree' house and all the snacks served on set. Opening the 'prop' presents was fun, too!
  • Caleb Crusco, actor:
    It was a lot of fun and I only looked at the camera once but then I didn't any more. Oh and actually, it was supposed to be Landon's birthday but we got to open the presents and keep them!
  • Judy Trevino, Caleb Crusco's mom:
    This shoot was fun and easy. It was a comfortable wait and the kids (and parents) had plenty of time to chat. Caleb loved the fact that it was a real party with cake, bubbles and presents. From the audition process to the actual shoot, I felt it was well thought out. Even though this was Randy's first film project, the amount of preparation and attention to detail made it seem as if he was a veteran filmmaker. No detail was overlooked.
  • Tiffany Hentrup, production assistant:
    This was a good experience for me to learn a bit about filmmaking and I really enjoyed everyone I met. I had lots of laughs and can't wait to see the finished product!
  • Chad Taylor, composer:
    The most excellent footage that viewers will never see is the ducks that were supposed to be in this film. They were left bloodied and broken on the cutting room floor. Poor bastards.
  • Emily Colley, actor Kara Nicole Brashear's mom:
    Kara had a great time making the film. She really had fun and all the family members that were able to watch the filming were very impressed with how friendly the atmosphere was and how much all the kids were enjoying themselves. It was certainly a great experience! Good luck with everything and hopefully we'll see you at the premiere!
  • Mel Sauls, actor:
    Making this short film was a unique experience in quick stepping (dodging cars) for me. My athleticism finally paid off.

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