So welcome to the first official post of the Fist Full of Grace blog, full of periodical updates on the feature film ‘April Grace’ and the life and times of me, filmmaker Andrew Hutcheson. Here we are three weeks after production of ‘April Grace,’ and I’ve yet to come down from the high. The thrill of living and working with such amazing filmmakers and artists this summer was the single greatest experience of my life. The lessons on life, love and humanity that I learned will forever change me, and I’m grateful to have had this transformation at such a young age.
‘April Grace’ is essentially about what happens when two teenage best friends discover love in all the wrong places and how it affects them. One of the best aspects of the entire shoot was that we were shooting in Washington and Blairstown, NJ, two towns prevalent in my own coming-of-age; I was born in the former and attended high school at the latter. Nevertheless, it was a very different experience coming back and working with the communities that helped raise me, but ultimately very rewarding. All in all, it was a good summer. So now we’re back in Cambridge and back to work. Many cuts to be made and clips to be synced, and in the meantime we’re working with music supervisor Samira Winter and composers John Kramer and Ian Steinbach to flesh out a musical feel for the film. We’re currently taking submissions for music, so if you’re in a band then send us your stuff! (Andrew@zandrak.com). You can also follow ‘April Grace’ at http://www.facebook.com/aprilgracemovie, and be sure to ‘Like’ the page! But that’s enough of my rambling. Today we have two guest bloggers, Kelsey Lynn Stokes (Penny in ‘April Grace’) and Charles Frank (Mark in April Grace, also did the Behind-The-Scenes). Aaaaaand now I’ll pass the proverbial mic to Kelsey: “The weeks that have followed ‘April Grace’s production have been ones filled with emotional roller coaster rides. After two months of straight filming, I was a little relieved to head back to New York to catch up on some sleep in my own bed, but even with work, auditions, and writing projects, I find myself pacing the streets of the city. There’s a specific kind of high that accompanies being needed 24/7 for a specific task that calls for every fiber of your physical and mental capacity. Thankfully, Steve White (who played Justin Brightman) and (gaffer) Jackson Hunt live in New York City for those times when I need just a little nostalgia. I was affectionately furious when Andrew posted the album ‘Leftover Gems’ on Facebook; a small collection of pictures that include a photo of several kittens that occupy the Hutcheson backyard, tagged as the Zandrak Productions heads. One effect that has appeared as both positively and negatively to my project selection is the high standard of production ZP has created. Sets that wouldn’t have caused any issue before A.G. now cause me to question the legitimacy of the project, protecting my well being as an actor by lessening the risks yet excluding possible diamonds in the rough. The caliber of organization and overall handling of the entire project far outweighs any other that I’ve been involved in. I always catch myself thinking, ‘Well, on April Grace, we did it this way…” Andrew is on my speed dial for any questions regarding suspicious activity that appears only too often in the non- union film world. I honestly cannot wait to add ‘April Grace’ to my reel. The stunning production quality and exemplary performances compile an example that I am proud and extremely excited to share with the film industry. After a seemingly long three weeks, I am visiting the Zandrak boys on my first trip to Boston. Despite having never been in this house or this city, it was overwhelmingly amazing to come home”. And it’s good to have you home, Kelsey. I’ll always remember running ice packs back and forth and farting profusely while trying to nurse you to health in the tow truck cab and being ambushed by nocturnal critters. It was a pleasure to get to work with such a talented cast, too! Watching actors turn to friends and characters turn to people was a beautiful transformation that I’m grateful to have been witness to. Finally, a word from Charles Frank, who played Mark Young in ‘April Grace’ and in his spare time was the man behind the camera behind the scenes: “Although Andrew has bestowed his wisdom on me many times, today he told me something that hit me hard. He told me that he truly believes that if you follow what you love, work hard, and treat everyone fairly; you will get what you want. I could not agree more. ‘April Grace’ for me was one of those crazy opportunities that came for no apparent reason. After coming back to visit some of the people from ‘April Grace’ today, I came to an important realization: ‘April Grace’ didn’t happen by chance. I found Zandrak Productions because I worked hard, and treated people well. ‘April Grace’ was a life changing experience that has helped me learn some significant lessons. The lesson I learned today demonstrates the power of ‘April Grace’. Even three weeks after production, I am still learning lesson from the experience”. Very kind words, Charles. Glad the film could affect you as much as it did me. I’ll note that our cinematographer Shane Seibel has been a big inspiration in keeping those words of wisdom alive in my heart during the tough times. Do what you love, be good to all living things. Simple as that. Well that’s all for this post folks. Look forward to exclusive clips, interviews, stills and updates from yours truly. You can check out Kelsey’s IMDB page here: (http://www.imdb.com/name/ nm4462571/) Charles’ Award Winning Short Film ‘Elevate’ can be seen here: (http://www.youtube.com/charlesfrankfilm#p/a/u/2/ofS_3A_rBII) Peace and love to all my homies on the streets, Andrew Hutcheson