Friday, April 25, 2014

Behind the Scenes of Soft Target

Terrorists on the scene
With the release of John's latest novel, 'Soft Target', just around the corner (May 17th) the idea of a trailer seemed appropriate. After all, the filming of 'Hunted' was not only fun but sent a quick message to viewers of what the book was all about. So on Saturday the 19th of April, a trailer for 'Soft Target' was shot on location at a nearby middle school in the Victor Valley of Southern California.

The photographer and the mayhem
Director at work

A group of Islamic Terrorists endeavor to repeat the school takeover their counterparts conducted in the small Russian village of Beslan in 2004 where hundreds of innocent youngsters and adults were murdered. This time their target is an American middle school to spread terror and mayhem from misguided beliefs and point out to the citizens of the United States that no one, is safe from the perverted homicidal thoughts they harbor in their black hearts. But they did not count on Yuri Sharikov, an ex-special purposes commander who was there in Beslan and saw the slaughter first hand. It's the one man they wanted to taunt but not face.

Sounds exciting - well, back to the trailer.

A simple task this filming business?

Not so much.
This is how you hold the hostage

Twenty middle school students and numerous adults as extras, two video photographers, a 'behind the scenes' photography professional (Justin Barr), and the students parents. Not at all intimidating for John's first role as 'Director'.

Make-up, director, and more
Acting lessons from a pro
Wrong - very stressful for the author to direct an advertisement for his new novel. Thankfully he had on hand two extremely accomplished and experienced people to guide him through the process. Old friend Terry Kurtz (who had shot the trailer for 'Hunted' back in 2013) and James Fuentez who can read a script and pinpoint where the camera needs to be at every shot with the precision of a drone strike. The novelist breathed easier with these two guys by his side.

Three opinions -- one great shoot!
Fun was had by all with the director yelling directions (that's what they do) and children running in fear for their lives from would-be terrorists.

Running, screaming, more running, more screaming, terrorists barking orders while waving guns (not loaded and triple checked) more terrorists barking orders and more yelling by the director.

It was a blast!

Parents smiling, students believing they are now worthy of a star in Hollywood (not mentioning some of the adults who took part), and finally those wonderful words; "It's a wrap - let's go home."

The trailer's a wrap!
Will the trailer be successful? That's a question only the sales of the novel will answer but from an inside point of view it was certainly a success for all those who participated on that warm and sunny day.

We had fun.

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