How I produced A Movie
With Eight Thousand Dollars

“How I Produced A Movie With Eight Thousand Dollars,” is a detail account of Sandra L LaVaughn’s process of writing, producing, and directing her first feature film, "The Blue Room".

On this page is the free chapter from the book.

Chapter Two


Eight thousand dollars to shoot a full-length movie, edit, and feed over 30 people. What was I thinking? I didn’t think, I planned and just did it. Production began Sunday, September 17, 2006. Most of the crew and all of the hair and makeup artists were from Cleveland, Ohio, Ned Lynch a New York Broadway was from the Big Apple. Everybody arrived Thursday three days before shooting, at which time we had the production meetings. The crew came in with crates and boxes full of equipment. My apartment had two large storage spaces that held everything. When the man from Cincinnati was here, he and Esther had gone shopping for the guns and masks. The guns was black plastic with orange tips, I used a black marker to paint the tips trying to make them look a bit authentic. The set designer brought his guns that looked like the real deal. I showed him the guns that Esther had purchased we had a good laugh. The DP tried to figure out how he could make the shiny plastic objects look real on camera. The set designer told him, “forget about it.”
Excluding Ned and the crew, the actors and I had day jobs, so when we were not filming on Sundays we filmed weeknights from six p.m. to midnight. We all took off work a few hours early during production.
Monday, September 21, 2006, the evening film shoot was an outdoor scene at the O’Shaughnessy Dam. We were shooting the scene where Chandler and Cole tied Zack to a beam and beat him senseless, then left him for the police to find. The day was cold, cloudy, and raining. I prayed for sunshine, I wanted the rays of the setting sun to sparkle like diamonds dancing on the water. Instead, thick dark gray clouds hovered over the park, rain hit the sides and roof of the shelter house, and the deep sound of thunder growled across the sky. The atmosphere made the scene eerie. For the first time ever I was glad my prayer was not answered.
One Sunday while setting up for the next scene, Sparrow’s hands was tied, Lisa had on handcuffs, and Rob’s hands were tied behind his back, they were reviewing their parts. The scene was a night shot that was being filmed on a bright sunny afternoon. The DP had a couple of the crewmembers to go outside and cover the window. Sorry to say, my neighbors were not happy I was new to the neighborhood and within a few month of moving in the area I was shooting a movie. One neighbor in particular complained to the office, they simply said we know, and then asked, “didn’t she tell you?” I had handed out flyer and told everyone in the area that I was making a movie, I told them about the number of vehicles that would take up space. Have you ever had someone that was a nagging thorn in the side? The one neighbor, in spite of the office knowing, called the police. I live in the suburbs and in this neighborhood the police do not arrive with sirens blasting they come quietly. I was looking at the script and cueing the actors. The guys finished covering the window and had returned inside. They left the door standing slightly ajar. The police quietly drove up and walked in. Two of the hair and make-up artist was doing touch ups on the actors three was in the kitchen eating. We simply did not hear them. The room suddenly became quiet I stopped reading the script and saw the DP, crew, and actors had their hands up as though they were in a stick-up. In the middle of the room was an officer with a confused look on his face and his gun aimed at us. Standing on the steps looking down at the scene was a second officer chuckling.
Someone from the kitchen yelled, “Hey, the police is out side.” Ben, the set designer, and the DP showed the officer the weapons it was interesting watching the officers movements, his hands handling the gun, his shoulders, his stance, his focus on the situation, while at the same time watch us. He gave the guns back to the set designer, and said, “Look like the real thing.” The officer’s became calm, and noted the lights, cameras, mikes, props, actors in handcuffs and tied. The DP explained the reason for covering the windows, they understood. Before leaving, they told me to call the station everyday letting them know when and where we were filming. Both officers took one last look around the set and left smiling. It was priceless. We learned later that it was the swat team in the back of the apartment.
Trust me, from that day forward I called the police reporting the day’s activities. A few days later an officer stopped by to see the set, he said they were talking about us at the station. He was a gorgeous brother with a beautiful smile, oh my goodness. He handed me his card and said, “Call if you ever need anything,” and then winked. I was seriously thinking about making the call until I saw a gold band on his finger. He suggested that I have and officer on set the next time we’re filming. Actually, during pre-production I called the police department I ask for a police to be on set. Their salary at the time was $36.00 per hour. With a smile in my voice, I thanked him very much, and then I lied saying, “I will give you a call, sir.” I Hung up thinking, one day but not today. On the eighth and last day, I had four scenes left to shoot, I chose the interrogation room we shot this scene on a weekday. Most of us had taken the day off, which turned out to be a good thing because we were on set for twelve hours. Though Ned was in this scene, he had returned to New York. We got creative before he left and recorded his voice blaming the other two kidnappers. While talking to the hostages in the interrogation room Detective Vince turned on the tape recorder and asked, “Does this sound like him?” Each hostage recognized Zack’s voice. To shoot the remaining three scenes the same crew and actors, except Ned and the hair and makeup artist, returned the last week of October 2006. In all, it took eleven days to shoot the original screenplay.