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Friday, March 30, 2007

Memories of the Orange Coast

Just wanted to do a quick follow up to the OCCS post I made a few weeks ago. I've recently spoken to those involved with the film, and received a number of quite complementary anecdotes about Tom and his directing. These I impart to you now ...

OCCS was cast by word of mouth. While two of the main "stars" of the film were active in student theatre, the majority of the students appearing in the film had little or no acting experience (Chuck Roberts) and some were simply friends or girlfriends (Leslie Koivisto) who were cast by convenience rather than talent.

There was no script for OCCS; something rare for a Graeff film. Tom usually exhibited an almost Sorkin-esque dedication to scripts, and cast members from Teenagers remember him being a stickler for even ridiculous dialogue.

However, despite this, Tom did have a definite plan. He knew beforehand exactly where to place the camera, and was able to guide his actors with precision to elicit the performance he wanted. Never did they feel "pushed" to perform; Tom was a very good communicator, and led them towards what he wanted, letting them get their through their performance, rather than telling them or ordering them outright.

Filming for the main cast only took up a few days over the course of about three weeks, and the shoots were very short and easy. Because of excellent pre-production, there were no problems on set, except for a few gawking students, who eventually ended up as on-the-spot extras. Tom didn't "report" to anyone on campus, so he was able to use his own creativity and free-reign of the campus to make the best film he could, something rare nowadays.

While the film premiered on campus in April of 1954, there was no official premiere for the cast, and many of those involved never saw the finished print.

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