Thursday, 25 April 2013

‘The Mechanic’ LA Shoot

(by Rishi Thaker)

I just wanted to share my views on the first Leomark Studios and Stickmen Pictures production, ‘The Mechanic’ which finished shooting yesterday in LA.

Firstly, I wanted to say what a pleasure it has been shooting out here in the States. It’s been an ambition from as far back as the day I realised movie making was where my heart is. My experience of shooting in Derbyshire gave me real confidence to take things head on out here so I would like to convey my deepest gratitude to all of the Stickmen Pictures faithful back home.

The shoot of ‘The Mechanic’ took place on 4 days over a week. The shoot was fully loaded with extensive shot lists which made for long days.

I want to take a moment to address all of the individuals that made this happen:


Jacob Matthews came through the most competitive audition process I have ever been involved in. He is supremely professional, universally liked by all on set and an outstanding performer. He showed great stamina to keep his high performance going during the long hours and integrated his natural comedic improvisation with hilarious effect. However, the most important thing he achieved with the character was the balance. Not only will you find his character outrageously funny but you will feel his innocence and subsequently always root for him. 

Darcy Donavan (Anchorman, My Name is Earl, Browsers) plays multiple characters (Sexy Customer, Police Woman) in this film. Her obvious beauty juxtaposed with a great ability to perform made her a standout choice for us. For one of her roles she endured 6 hours in the character make-up chair and still gave us every ounce of energy without a single complaint. An attitude like this is invaluable when making a film and I cannot speak highly enough of Darcy in this light. Darcy lit up the set with her colourful persona and I’m sure everyone is in agreement with the positive effect she had during this shoot. 

Derek Lux, the laugh inducer, plays multiple roles (Tall Robber, Angry Boyfriend) in this film. Derek has a great natural ability to improvise. When called upon within an instant he could plunge into his huge repertoire of comedy and deliver with distinguished results. It was a real pleasure to have such ability in the film and I can’t wait for you all to see his talents. 

Brian Prisco & Scotty Servis formed two enigmatic sides of the Three Robbers. It was clear from their auditions that these guys were top drawer and when put along aside each other delivered a superb performance. We are lucky to have such talented and committed individuals to appear in our film.

Matt Vera came to our attention in rather serendipitous circumstances when Erik decided upon a car journey completely different to his usual. Along the way he met Matt who was eventually cast as the angry husband. Matt worked hard, was always prepared to help and paid a lot of attention to detail which really supported this film making process!  

Lexi Baxter played the girlfriend character. Lexi was utterly professional and took direction effortlessly despite having an outrageous Angry Boyfriend  character (played by Derek) to act alongside.  She will definitely have an impact which I can’t wait for you to see!


In the crew I want to mention Art Smith who made a lot of things happen for this shoot from props to locations as well as supporting the rest of the crew anyway he could. He was extremely positive through the process as was his wife Amy Smith. She was greatly efficient, reliable and spent many hours on set helping with a variety of different tasks.

MultivisionFx’s Michael Del Rossa (Watchmen, 300, Pirates of the Caribbean) our Special Effects make-up artist whose talent and incredible standard will be there for all to see in his Werewolf creation. His team of Aimee Bertone and Carlos Vasquez spent hours in support of Michael. They were extremely professional and deserve a lot of credit for their time, effort and creativity. 

Sören de la Cruz was a crucial member of the crew and I believe pretty much performed every film set task from lighting to stills (to stunt driver…). He was approachable and smiled through every task during the shoot. Abhishek Bhatt was also a critical member of the team. This was his first experience on a film set and he cut his teeth on one of the most important aspects of the film – sound. Abhishek grasped his task quite easily and was a great help to the crew for the duration of the shoot.  

I want to thank Michael Razo II and Richard Valdez for their support and patience whilst we drove and shot in their Cadillac Fleetwood Low Rider, courtesy of Pharaohs, I.E.  I want to thank Alex Tuason and Art Tuason  for allowing us into Hoppos Custom Suspension Works and being there to make that day as easy as they could for us.

I also want to thank Roshni Bhatt for lending her extra pair of hands on set during the house scenes and making props in pre-production. I want to acknowledge Shaileshkumar Bhatt and Jaymini Bhatt for being massively supportive to me in every way thinkable and providing one of the main film sets – the house. I have a lot more to be grateful for when it comes to these guys but that is for another time and another way…  

Daniel Tee probably didn’t think he would get a mention but the more sophisticated half of Stickmen Pictures lying in wait in good old Derby has contributed greatly to the writing (you’ll notice how the script wasn’t just written by me) and been extremely supportive of my first venture without his presence on set. He will also be getting involved with post-production down the line and I look forward to you all meeting him in the future.

Last but not least the Lundmarks. Anna Lundmark made me a fantastic cake for my birthday which everyone on the garage day will testify was amazing, and Emilia Lundmark weighed in with some innovative prop making. Super effort!

Maria Collis (outside of being the producer) was the engine of this whole shoot. Her work ethic, organisation skills, attention to detail and experience really drove this shoot to a successful conclusion. She was there to put out any fires and made sure everyone was fed and happy. The great morale of this production can almost single-handedly be attributed to her. And that is probably an understatement.

Last but not least, Erik Lundmark (outside of being the producer) who was exactly the man to deliver a high production valued piece. His preparation skills were of the highest order (and I have seen some prep with my previous life being in finance!) as was his awareness of the shot types required to elevate the quality of this shoot. His line of communication to me was always open and he was able to support me with his vast experience. His work ethic (something the Lundmarks should be famous for in my opinion) was awesome to behold as he put himself through a physical exam with the equipment he was utilising. I have learnt a lot about making films here in LA through observing Erik and will never forget this experience.

All in all a great thank you to everyone’s contribution including all those who I have not mentioned above. Without your dedication we could never realise this vision which I know will be worth the wait when it is finally ready for you to see.