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Aria Pictures PCS Journey part 4 | Aria Pictures Weblog

A Place Called Sacramento Film Festival 2011 Producers Choice - the WATERING hole.

Date: September 30, 2011
Author: Gerald Martin Davenport
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Aria Pictures PCS Journey part 2 — the WATERING hole & BUDDIES

2011 : 3 Submissions

[ Read more detailed information about the WATERING hole on Aria Pictures Film Encyclopedia ]

[ Read more detailed information about BUDDIES on Aria Pictures Film Encyclopedia ]

There was a person who submitted 2 screenplays, in 2010, and both were excepted. How can someone submit 2 and have both accepted? This would not have been a concern if they did not receive more than 10 screenplays, but we know they did. Why did they get accepted when they were both sub-par stories? There had to be better stories submitted. Were there some special preferences being given because the person connected a school for the gifted in the writing credits? Later found out they never helped with the writing at all. A few of the students told me they just gave ideas about stories. “If someone can enter two weak stories and get selected, then I can enter three strong stories and try to figure out how to get them done.”

THE GOLdEN TREEs screenplay snippet.
Petite Chardonnay screenplay snippet.

THE GOLdEN TREEs, the continuation of THE GOLdEN TREE that followed the family discovering their historic golden ancestry, already written as a 40-page story that was prepared as a 12 page for submission. I also took Chardonnay and created a 14-page version titled Petite Chardonnay which was not an easy task, but I wanted to make a version with talented actors that I could showcase around to look for funding to make Chardonnay. [yes, I was going to use the actors for free, but they would have been given the first choice to be in Chardonnay with pay — more on that at another time.]

the WATERING hole

The third story I submitted started on a wintery February 2011 morning — the 18th at 1:12 am to be exact — the power went out due to the copious amount of snow that was falling during the night, and I was awoken by the battery backups beeping (there are 9 of them in the house). After turning them off, I could not fall asleep so I lay on the couch pondering some ideas.

Rob Tillitz told me several times while doing THE GOLdEN TREE that his bar, The Cedar Room, an actual sports drinking bar, was available for movie productions, and I wondered what kind of story could I use it for. After tossing and turning for what seemed like hours I got up, found a camping light (one that uses batteries), found a pad of paper and a pen, and began writing a weird story about a guy waking up in a bar. I had no idea where I was going with it, but it seemed to write itself; the next morning, with the generator running because the power was still out, I put the story into Final Draft and it came out to 10 pages; however, I did not have a title for it, and it eluded me to what to call it. I knew I wanted something mathematical and weird. And came up with Liquid Lullaby or Oxygen and Hydrogen.

the WATERING hole title.

I sent it to Rob Tillitz to show him that we needed his bar if it was selected, and what he thought of it. He sent back some ideas for me to work on. I asked him if he wanted to be the producer — Rob took on the role with both feet and head first; he also wanted to play the lead role. After the first 8 revisions, we needed a title. Gathering Rob's ideas, my 12, and a few others, and created a poll that was sent to 148 people to choose which title they liked without actually reading the story — some had the chance too, but most did not. The chosen title was “the WATERING hole.” I am not sure who coined it; it was not one of my favorites; however, it was chosen. Do I renege on the whole thing and choose what I want, or make the majority happy so they would come to see it, and choose theirs?

AND THE WINNER IS… what? the WATERING hole? Access Sacramento chose the twilight zone story over two family-oriented ones. What kind of crazy is that?

The original cast and characters I had in mind while writing it was actors I worked with on THE GOLdEN TREE: Bill Bettencourt, Mark Hoffman, RobTillitz, Jason Michael Shannon, Joseph Baldridge, Steve Dakota, Dan Walters, and Courtney Leonard-Maye. But Rob said we should clear the slate and see who we get and who we got, most were friends of Rob Tillitz. The first two days of production were on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 1:00 am – 9:00 am while the bar was closed.

Rob Tillitz with baseball cap.
Rob Tillitz with cowboy hat.

During the first two days, I noticed, and found out later, that a majority of the cast & crew thought the story was written by Rob Tillitz and that is was HIS movie. I was wondering why when I was trying to direct people they would look over at Rob before doing it.

I was not happy with the results after seeing what we captured and was going to scrap the whole thing but everyone wanted to know what they could do to help fix it, so we scheduled pick-up days, many of them, to get the missing pieces: Several more mornings at the Cedar Room, A night at Rob’s house in his pool, and an evening at Folsom Lake.

I took two weeks with no contact from anyone and buried myself in post-production and when I came out, I had something that I could live with; although it still was not what I envisioned, I was happy with it.

One of the photographers that took most of the BTS pictures never gave me them when I asked for them, of which he signed a contract stating, I get a copy of all raw original photos taken on the set of the WATERING hole. He told me “Take them off of Facebook.” I said, “I want the originals.” “What are you going to do with them, edit them?” he asked. I replied, “yes, whatever I want.” “Oh, photographers don’t like that.” “You signed a contract that I get copies of the originals to use for marketing purposes.”

I never heard from him again, and I come to find out that he took headshots of the actors and proceeded to try and SELL them to them.

You don’t come onto a set that is NOT yours, sign a contract and renege on it, and take pictures of actors, crew, and a set that you have NO RIGHTS to be there, except for the contract, which gives ME, the right to allow you to take their picture. Then you try and sell them. I dare you to try that on a major motion picture set.

“the WATERING hole” Winner of a 2012 W.A.V.E. Award

the WATERING hole – Winner of W.A.V.E. Award. Gerald Martin Davenport and Rob Tillitz.
the WATERING hole – Winner of W.A.V.E. Award. Gerald Martin Davenport and Rob Tillitz

“The Watering Hole” won the WAVE award. W.A.V.E. stands for Western Access Video Excellence, and the WAVE Awards is an annual event that accepts entries from all the Public Access stations in the Western States and narrows the entries down to three or fewer per category then chooses a winner.  The films are judged by Access station personnel outside the Western Region; judges were from Vermont, Maine, and Kentucky.  It really is quite an honor to have been passed around the States and wound up on top.  Everyone involved should be proud!

What is a W.A.V.E. Award? Check it out here


Early in the year, or maybe it was at the last PCS event, I remember talking with Judith Plank about her Butterscotch movie, which I thought was a wonderful story, especially since Rob Tillitz and Steve Dakota were in it and were also in THE GOLdEN TREE, and she wanted to team up sometime in the future, and it so happened to be on BUDDIES. Another great story that had a rough exterior but a tender inside.

Again, I volunteered Brendan Brooks and Jim Heck to be the Cinematographers, and we set out to give Judith what she wanted.

I am assembling my team for Buddies - audio, lights, and other crew.

I want to discuss visuals and what you are looking for before I spend time doing storyboards, which I already have, but want to know your vision before sending them to you.

I would be honored to edit it, and have no problem doing so if you have seen the full-length version of THE GOLdEN TREE, you should see all I can do.

I have an additional editor I am taking under my wing to be an intern, so this will be an awesome project and the final result are fantastic.

BUDDIES and "the WATERING hole" are vying for the crown. :)

I only ask about editing as, I am a very particular person and unless I am with the editor watching, I'd want to do it myself, as The Treasure Chest of South Sacramento,, I was NOT happy with the editing of Brendan and my camera work and directing!!!


I want to know if you would mind, since I like having my production company Aria Pictures connected to all movies I work on, that I create a website for the movie buddies with bios, and other info for the actors, and you that will be on there as tile exists, or close to it.

I am in no way, arrogant or have an ego, at least not a large one, I know where talent lies and appreciate it, celebrate it, and acknowledge it, which is why I do these things for each of my movies.

I had done it for Detective A in 2009, I was the editor, well ALL post, and audio and I won best technical achievement, but the director/writer was immature and made me take down the website for all the actors thinking I was touting the film as it was mine, which I was not; his name was all over it.

He was an ass taking down everyone's bio and information for their work on the movie.

I just want to share what I work on and who I worked with and share their info to help them get other jobs.

You have a logo, a poster idea for the movie?
- g
i know lots to think about
BUDDIES movie poster 2011 with cast and crew credits.
BUDDIES movie Poster 2011 created by Gerald Martin Davenport from stills by Brendan Brooks and Jim Heck
Bring the crew from the Watering Hole to the Buddies set, all intact, plus go ahead and do post-production with your interns. I love it! That saves me a lot of time. I don't have to go looking for key grip, grips, grunts, editor, the whole ball of wax. Thank you!!!!! - Judith Plank

Judith was amazed at what I wanted to do and was not prepared for any of it, so I took the bull by the horns and made it all happen: the BUDDIES OFFICIAL website, the crew, the contracts, the storyboard, and the look and feel of the movie with the poster.

During production, we used an apartment, the front of the apartment building, a convenience store nearby, the grounds of the State Capital building, Access Sacramento’s Office’s, and K Street in front of the Crest Theater long before they allowed cars back on there.

Directors, or filmmakers in General, should have an idea of the whole process of making a film, and the most important is POST-PRODUCTION (Editing). If you have no idea about what it takes to make a movie from start to finish, you should NEVER be behind the camera, either directing, cinematography, or any other key position.

There is no need to do a 4-minute scene over in a wide shot because someone messed up a line; the same is true of that person who is NOT even on camera. Please before you decide to make a movie and want to be in a key role, learn and understand it first otherwise, you cannot do it.

Another thing, my contract stated that the cast & crew would get a copy of the finished movie when it is ready for dispersal; one of the actors came to me and said, by law, I have to have it to him by 90 days. First off, there is no law that states you get anything from a production company of a movie you work on that are NOT on the contract YOU sign. He returned his contract in an altered form to reflect that. A second thing you never do. (he is going to have a rude awakening when and if he continues with his acting career). Found out it was a copy of the scene he was in for his demo reel, and there again, there is NO LAW that states I have to get it to you in any predetermined amount of time or at all.

So, as you can tell, 2011 was turning out to be a really tough, frustrating, and tiresome year with movie-making, but while sitting in the audience — no I did not take the stage as the frontman, I let Rob Tillitz do that — I was giving others their dues, their limelight, their 15 minutes of fame and in my own way boycotting the whole idiotic process when the “Producer's Choice Award” was announced as I was whispering to Jim Heck that it is probably this one because of her, or that one because of… “and the winner is the duo of Gerald Davenport and Rob Tillitz the WATERING hole.”

I was stunned, confused, and quite frankly a little miffed — honestly, there were other movies with a better story and such, plus I was still not satisfied with the overall piece, but we got most of the votes, and BUDDIES was second to take the award. The hard work I put into both; the hard work everyone put into them; the same crew for two movies; twice the production time; their sacrifice. I do not hate the WATERING hole, but if the opportunity comes around, I would redo it.

Beginning in June, after Petite Chardonnay was not selected, I pursued the idea of doing it on my own as a deferred payment (which I will always be in pursuit of), so I was really working on 3 films and was only supposed to edit the WATERING hole, but the editor for BUDDIES fell through, and I had to quickly get it done in two weeks, late in August, meanwhile, while starting production on Petite Chardonnay. 2011 was a busy year for Aria Pictures.

Back to Aria Pictures PCS Journey part 3 | Continue with Aria Pictures PCS Journey part 5

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