Behind the Scenes of a Student Film

Recently, I was asked by my friend Erin Jackman to play the role of a defense attorney in a short she’s producing for one of her classes at KU called THE JUDGEMENT, a movie about a judge whose drug-dealing past comes back to haunt him in the middle of a trial.   The role has no speaking lines (aside from one that was a last-minute decision in the second scene I’m in), so three days was plenty of time to prepare for the performance.  As it is with any shoot, there’s a lot of sitting around waiting for camera, light, and sound set up, but this gave me the opportunity to take some photos of the production crew at work.

Overall, the movie was shot in several locations, but I only appear in two of them.

A courtroom in the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office just off 11th and Mass. where the trial happens.  Here the crew is setting up shots, first of the judge, then of the defendant’s reaction to the acquittal: Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with p2 preset

A hallway in Strong Hall on campus at KU, where the judge is presented incriminating evidence of his sordid past by his lovely secretary.  Here, the crew is discussing where to set up, prepping for a dolly shot, adjusting lighting, then recording the secretary walking in high heels for use in sound production:Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with b3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with s6 preset


The crew:
Director: Jordan Marable
DP (camera): Blaine Mulholland
First Asst. Camera/Sound: Alaine Caudle
Lighting/Sound: Grant Zizzo
Editor/Boom: Zach Clossin
Key Swing: Annie Drape

The cast:
The Judge/The Rider: Nick Lazer
Ranger: Evan Jackman
Defense: Joseph Griffin
The Convict: Phil Jones
Drug Dealer: Aaron Marable
Secretary: Katie Wade

It’s a Disaster!

I sat down to write about the present state of politics in Kansas and ended up watching some disaster movies from the 1970’s instead.


Paul Newman plays an architect who has designed the tallest building on earth. Shortly after the dedication ceremony, he discovers that his electrician managed to save several millions of dollars by using cheap wiring. Cutting costs on necessary things just doesn’t pay, however. An electrical fire breaks out, sending the skyscraper up in flames, trapping the mayor of San Fransisco, a senator, and three hundred other bigwigs on the top floor. It’s a good thing Steve McQueen’s Fire Chief had a proper education or he might not have known what to do.


Several people on an ocean liner are in for the ride of their lives when the ship capsizes after being hit by a massive wave. Only six passengers survive, thanks to a renegade priest played by Gene Hackman who does everything he can to lead them to safety. The debacle could have been averted if the ship’s company representative had heeded the captain’s warning to take on additional ballast for stabilization instead of ordering a full speed ahead. But no corporate representative likes to be questioned, no matter what the consequences.

AIRPORT (1970)

AIRPORT is less a disaster movie than the progenitor of disaster movies, setting the stage for the genre which, in the ’70’s, saw its peak in the two previously mentioned films. In the midst of several embroiled love affairs, a detainment of a stowaway, struggles with bureaucratic management, disenfranchised spouses, a snowstorm, and a plane stuck in the snow blocking a runway, a maniac walks onto a plane with an attaché case containing a bomb. He then proceeds to blow a hole in the side of the plane, thereby threatening the lives of all the other passengers and creating a challenge for pilot Dean Martin, who must then steer the vessel to safety.  Airport security measures, aparently, were quite different in 1970 than they are now.

So I watched movies all day instead of writing about Kansas politics; what else would you expect from a film major? If you want to know more about Kansas politics, I’d suggest reading this article from ROLLING STONE.