WELCOME TO OUR UPDATES PAGE!
Thanks for stopping by! If you’re here it’s because you want to know all the latest “Hollywood” gossip about our upcoming film “To Make a Beginning”. Well, Hedda Hopper we aren’t. But our updates page can provide you all the latest news as we move closer to our Grand Premier.
We plan on posting updates here as they happen. There are all kinds of catchy weekday events…like Taco Tuesday, or Freaky Fridays. Somehow we just can’t come up with one that applies. WAIT….Movie Update Monday……MUM…. If you don’t see it here …. find it on Facebook!
That’s it. We won’t be mum about posting.
We think our marketing department needs one of COL Abolt’s Juleps…..
“To Make a Beginning”. A 7th Productions film in conjunction with the Musée de Venoge! Premiering Summer of 2020.
June 22, 2020
Has it been a year??? What started as a 10 minute film about the restoration of an old home has metamorphosed into the Chariot Race from the 1959 Academy Award winning film “Ben Hur.”
Last June our Director, Steve Abolt, convinced Donna Weaver to bring in he and Videographer Joe Erdmann to make a short video about the restoration of Venoge. After the initial weekend of filming we discovered so much more than accordion lath and 6 over 6 windows. The story just couldn’t be told in a brief ten minutes. It deserved an hour!
This past weekend following a whole year of researching, script writing, and rewriting, “To Make A Beginning” finally concluded filming. Speaking of evolving, the show was originally titled “I Am Beginning to Get Old”. This tied in with the restoration and saving of Venoge Cottage. But, the more we worked on it we realized this was a story of dreamers out to make a new beginning. Hence we made the title change.
Like Jacob and Charlotte Weaver there was so much more below the surface. So calling in favors, twisting arms, read here begging people to be in it, we set out on our journey.
We now proudly announce “To Make A Beginning” has finally wrapped shooting. Steve, Joe, Donna, and our irrepressible Assistant Director and Boom Mic Wrangler Betsy Lyman, spent two days this past week at Venoge filming the narrative bridges for the show’s transitions through time.
Final filming took two days because of the delays occasioned by the heavy traffic on HWY 129. When recording sound one must wait for complete silence.
Our filming came to a complete stop when the road construction crew began moving trucks, fork lifts etc. onto the site across the street. Then the blaring of something which passed for music started! What we filmed of our director’s reaction to the loud music will never see the light of day…….that is unless for a price. Who knew he could dance???
We are now nearing the end of our amazing yearlong cinematic journey. The story of Jacob, Charlotte, their family, and the early days of Indiana is worth telling, remembering, and most importantly, preserving.
History is a rudder on a ship. While behind you it steers you to your final destination. Cast it aside at your own peril. For when you do you will find yourself adrift with no hope of remembering where you came from or where you hoped to go.
This has been a labor of love. Thanks to all of you who believed in us. Most importantly, thanks to all from the past who have steered us to this moment. The harbor lights are coming into view. We’re almost home.
Please join us for our premier on Saturday August 15 at the Hoosier Theater in Vevay.
June 8, 2020
Jacob Weaver the first owner of Venoge Cottage, would write a series of letters describing his life in Indiana. Written between 1813 and 1847 they are the basis of our movie.
Those 34 years saw many changes to not only the Weaver family, but to Indiana and the United States as a whole. While Indiana was being shaped by its early settlers, unbeknownst to them it was also forming them.
Nothing operates in a vacuum. Neither did the Weaver family. National and local affairs were often found in the letters.
When they first arrived in Indiana the United States was at war with Great Britain. At the end of the letters the country had become embroiled in a conflict with the Republic of Mexico over the annexation of Texas. The Mexican War is one of the most forgotten eras in the nation’s past. Yet it had monumental consequences for the United States and Mexico.
What has been fascinating during the filming has been cross checking Jacob’s letters with other sources to corroborate that which he details. Well, lo and behold through careful research Donna was able to find the actual newspaper article reporting on what Jacob described!
Last August we filmed what he only briefly referenced: the presentation of the flag made by the ladies of Switzerland County to the Volunteers preparing to depart for their journey down the Ohio. The film location was the Windle Auditorium in Madison Indiana.
Jan Dubbeld portrayed Julia Dumont, a noted female educator and author. The ladies of Switzerland County were represented by Happy Smith and Andrea Logsdon. The gallant Captain Carter was portrayed by Nathan Logsdon; who was resplendent in an exact copy of the uniform worn and wearing an original 1840’s foot officer sword!
Where did that piece of martial tailoring come from you ask? Why it belongs to our director who for years did historical interpretation of the Mexican War era while living in Texas. The flag we used in the scene is the National Standard of the 7th US Infantry Living History Association. This flag actually did go to Mexico for the War’s Sesquicentennial in 1996. It flew atop the fortress Casa Mata in Matamoros.
The day was extremely hot and Nathan and the ladies were getting a little overheated from the continual retakes. Our director kept saying: “Nathan I wore that stuff in the Texas heat and the Mexican dust. I sweated plenty in it! It won’t kill you! What you are doing has never been filmed before. You are making history!!!”
We think at that point both Nathan and the Ladies had only one thing they wanted to make…a pitcher of Long Island Tea!
“To Make a Beginning” premieres August 15th at the Hoosier Theater. It is located on Ferry and Cheapside* Streets in Vevay.
*Please note the street’s name is not a comment on the budget allocated for our film.
May 25, 2020
Happy Memorial Day!
Last Sunday we finished up filming the principal parts of our film “To Make a beginning”. All the ‘parts’ assembled at the Thiebaud Farmstead, loaned for the occasion by the Switzerland County Historical Society. Our thanks to Martha Bladen who again was generous with the facility and her time!
Erica Coulter played Fanny Weaver as an adult and Jerry Wallin, fresh from his stint as the accomplished hunter in another scene, played a widower with four children…. that’s all we can divulge right now!
Our writer and director, Steve Abolt flew in from Georgia to make sure we did it right…and then to tell us “That was perfect! Do it again!” We did.
Donna Weaver filmed and Betsy Lyman assisted with directing and lighting. Maddie Coulter, Erica’s daughter, wanted to get her feet wet in the film making world. We were happy to oblige. She was a great help!
The iris were in perfect bloom so we made them part of the production. “You there…the iris with multi colors…we can make you a star!” They refused to sign a release, being devoid as they were of fingers, but I’m sure they are copyright free. Rain was predicted but it held off until we finished at 5.
The grass and trees at the Thiebaud were in a lush state of new green. Our show has been able, over the last year, to capture all four seasons of the year. They really help to tell the story of the Weaver family by the changes of the year as related to the lives of our characters.
Steve was in town for five days. During that time, he put together the final rough edit of the film, with Donna’s fingers flying over the keyboard manipulating the editing software program. (The amazing thing is neither killed each other. We think all those 1840 Juleps our two stars Brian Cushing and Amy Liebert showed Steve how to mix, were a prime factor in eliminating mass carnage in the edit suite.)
The entire film is now cut together and in the hands of our composer, Michael Thompson. Michael is making the notes for his score….composers do that you know…. Within the next few weeks he will be in the studio recording his original score for our original film! What he has composed so far is musical magic.
Now all that remains is for Steve and Joe to get up here one more time. We will then film Steve’s on camera bits. He is already demanding a box to stand on so he can be taller than the Venoge kitchen table. Then his segments will get plugged into the edit, along with Michael s music and VOILA! after a year of working on “To Make a Beginning” we are about “To Make it Done!”
We are on the verge of announcing our premiere date, so keep your August free. Can’t divulge more than that at present. But a grand time is planned. You won’t want to miss it! That big announcement is coming soon!
To Make a Beginning…premiering…this Summer. So stay tuned!
May 11, 2020
Our composer Michael Rennels Thompson has been busy composing the original score for our film. The main theme was written by him back in February. Since then he has been expanding and refining the melody as well as other accompanying musical background pieces.
For the last two weekends he was working at Donna Weaver’s house. Watching the current rough cut of the film Michael composed melodies timing them to certain sections.
On May 2nd Michael was looking for some inspiration to aid in his composing. He suggested they drive over to the Jacksonville Cemetery in Switzerland county. That’s where Jacob and Charlotte Weaver, the main characters in our film, are buried.
Michael wanted to see the place. He thought sitting at Charlotte’s grave might give him some melodic ideas.
He and Donna set off. Donna had her camera. Our dictatorial director had “instructed” her to get some B roll, plus maybe a few shots of Michael playing. (As a side note have you ever noticed while the rest of us work for a living, musicians “play” for theirs….).
Arriving at cemetery they discovered high winds and brought down a huge cedar limb on top of Charlotte’s grave. Michael began clearing away the debris. Donna was filming.
Exhausted he then sat down and started playing the main love theme and….. well lets just say we have created a special 1 minute music video of Michael with some scenes from the film. So be sure to look for it. It’s cut together. Now Michael just needs to record the final audio track. That update to this update is still to come.
So Venoge Friends and Fans how’s that for our first Update? I’d say we made a pretty good beginning!
“To Make a Beginning“ coming this summer.