SIDE DISHES: The Cast and Crew dish about their experiences on the set of Chasing Taste.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the deliciously amazing Lori Fischer. Lori, how did you come up with Chasing Taste?
I guess the first name I want to mention is director Sean Gannet. Working with him is truly one of the joys of my creative life. So, when Sean asked if I would be interested in writing a feature film for Project NYC XY? (Project NYC XY was the working title for Chasing Taste) I said an immediate yes. The project was to be done in a nontraditional way; meaning all of the lead actors had already been cast. My job was to write a story that somehow gave all of these uber-talented actors interesting roles that would somehow intersect in a coherent storyline.
After meeting the actors, I went on a long walk with a good friend. As I told her about the project, I suddenly realized that the story I was looking to find had been bouncing around in my mind for over ten years. It would be a comedy about a food critic who couldn’t taste or smell. I raced to my writer’s space, laid all of the headshots out and asked myself, based on having met them, who would be the food critic, the sidekick, the sister, the agent, the romantic interest and the main antagonist/obstacle etc? Then, with a mind racing and full of plot twists, I dove into writing the outline.
After spending the better part of a month writing the first draft, I met with the producers, Sean and the actors to hear the first read-through. It was exciting and literally as soon as it was over, I was back at the Writer’s Room working on the next draft. Sean had given me a mountain of notes and since we were days within our first day of shooting, I was non-stop at the computer.
Once shooting began, I would literally go to my various freelance jobs (I teach a “Writing Great Characters” class at NYU.) and then hurry home to take the newest batch of notes. I would write till Sean and I felt the scenes were right, which often lasted till the wee hours of the morning. Then, I’d send the pages to our A.D. and the actors for the next day’s shoot. The actors (some of whom were also our producers!) were amazing and working with them was a hilarious privilege. I also got to feature some of my favorite New York eateries: Azuri Café, Don’t Tell Mama’s Restaurant and Rice and Beans. The thing that is rare and, quite frankly, a screenwriter’s dream about Sean is, if a line wasn’t working for one reason or another, he would call me from the location and ask me to re-write the line while they set up the next shot. I loved it!
I’ll never forget going to the Drama Bookstore (They had graciously let us use their wonderful store as one of our locations.) to find the whole back section covered with books titled The Widow’s Second Stepson. What a thrill to see this book that I had titled for one of the characters come to life in that way. There are so many great cameos in the film: Lynn and Ron Cohen, Sidney Myer, Kevin Brown, Chuck Cooper, Jeff Hiller and Nancy Opel.
One of my favorite nights was the all-night shoot with my dear friend, country singer/songwriter, Phil Vassar. In between shots, Phil and I spoke about what ultimately became Sean, Phil and my next feature film Fat Biscuit. We’re currently in pre-production, so, stay tuned!