CRASH MY FUNERAL is a surreal comedy about a scriptwriter’s block. In an attempt to pull his movie back on track, the filmmaker. played by veteran actor yahn soon (LONELINESS IS SOUL, MAISY’S GARDEN, SUN AND MOON, THE FIFTH WALL, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE SHAWERMA), employs drastic measures; he tries out dialog on a pizza delivery man, wanders around the neighborhood to scare up new characters and scenes, and hopes for inspiration from every pretty girl that passes his way. In the end, he realizes that the creation of art, for him, isn’t fictional at all, but merely a collage of real-life moments in which he finds meaning and delight.
Writer/Directors: Paul Baker, Morgan Schmidt-Feng, Mandeep Khera, Dave Nold, Michael Rogers, Meeka Schmalle, yahn soon, Michael Trzaskowski and Rick Schmidt. CAST: Willie Boy Walker, Jessica Heidt, yahn soon, Meeka Schmalle, Doreen Alexander Child, Mike Trzaslowski. DP: Morgan Schmidt-Feng. ©Feature Workshops.
CRASH MY FUNERAL was a crazy production. We quickly got in over our heads because we stared shooting with what we imagined to be a workable story concept instead of just letting our movie grow out of the surroundings (locations) and real-life stories of our actors. Michael Trzaskowski was a great addition to our writer/director ranks, and generously jumped in to play a role. We begun by thinking that we were making a movie about a street person (played by yahn soon, who performed the fantastic “Magic Mushroom” story in LONELINESS IS SOUL, credited as “John Balquist) who lives up in the Berkeley, California hills. So for a while we had fallen into the typical “indie’ trap of actually trying to forge a story in the impossibly short period of six shooting days, and playing “catch-up.” On day-3 we rejected this notion, and searched for a fun concept that could add meaning to all the great stuff we had already shot. Morgan, yahn, and I sat together over breakfast wondering if any one of us could possibly figure out a way to pull the movie into usable fashion.
Thankfully our great Director of Photography (and my son) Morgan Schmidt-Feng came up with the concept that we make the lead character (yahn soon) A SCRIPTWRITER…someone trying scripting a movie inspite of a writer’s bloc…in search of his inspiration. That meant that everything we had previously shot could now be incorporated into the cut. Scenes could be regarded as either real or imagined.
We were fortunate to have the use of a large Oakland hills mansion where Bellas Curve band members Knox Ziegler and Matt Calkins lived, and we worked hard to include their music and scenes in the movie. The brain surgeon who owned the house reluctantly gave us permission to shoot there, but the day after we finished the movie he evicted the musicians from their low-cost apartments at the basement floor level (their fabulous views gone!). It wasn’t enough, it seems, that we were careful in our work, didn’t disturb the room-wide gymnasium the doctor had created for his adult “playpen.” Our error had most likely been that we gave his tenants too much focus, rendered them as less than invisible in their downstairs rehearsal cubicals, made him jealous on some level (that’s what I heard back, anyway). Fortunately they are proud of the movie and loved their particular scenes, especially the music-videoesque sequence of live band rehearsal, and believe that it was their fate to move on.
Our AVID editor/co-writer/co-director Mike Rogers (who cut LONELINESS IS SOUL so beautifully) was happy to stop tearing out his hair and make scenes fit together. He could finally make it understandable when an melodramatic scene was over-played (it was him, yahn soon, the scriptwriter, searching for the truth of the scene in his mind). And other editing miracles were possible! A woman who yahn sat next to momentarily on a park bench (Meeka Schmalle from “LONELINESS IS SOUL”), could instantaneously become his muse, a lead character in his story. From barely a glance at her pretty face his fertile mind was now capable of creating an array of scenes starring “the woman on the bench” (which we get to see as his script comes alive…): “Cassandra” is a ghost-like presence as she sits silently on a bed watching videos. Then, at the musician’s house, she is seen again, now as a drugged-out groupie girlfriend of one of the band members. Later, she shades another part of the story, becomes an old man’s suicidal daughter, Veteran actor Willie Boy Walker (1988-THE REMAKE, EMERALD CITIES, MORGAN’S CAKE, AMERICAN ORPHEUS, THE FIFTH WALL, BEAR DANCE) plays the father, and tells a hilarious real-life story about “going to camp“).