I was talking with my friend Chad "Goldie" Goldich about short films the other day. 
He wanted to make one about a space alien, kinda like this episode of Chris Elliott's TV show "Get A Life."  He asked me if I had any ideas.  I told him I'd think about it.  Well, that night just before I fell asleep all these weird ideas popped into my mind.  It was about a little pile of puke that appears after this Dude has tried to drink himself to death.  The pile of puke has come as the Dude's Guardian Angel to save his life.  To show him why life was worth living.  So I wrote all these ideas down and e-mailed it to Goldie to see if he wanted to use them.  Well, he didn't - but the more I thought about it the more I did.

I've scribbled down some rough sketches of the puppets in the film.  My friend Steve "The Hick" Hicks is an f/x whiz and assures me he'll be able to build these puppets.  The two main factors for this film are the puppets and the songs.  If one of these can't be done right there's no point in moving forward.  I want this to be like a Sid and Marty Krofft TV show from the 70's, only for adults.  Two of the staples of those shows were the cheesy "happy-go-lucky" pop songs and the puppets.  And that's exactly what we have here.  Steve also knows this guy Rob Kulessa who used to be in a band and has a lot of music connections.  Hopefully he'll be able to put together a band that can create the music I need.
Well, I met with Rob (the Music Supervisor) about the band.  We set up a date in November to meet with some
guys he knows that he thinks can pull it off.  I finished writing the script one night at work.  I've given it to a few people and they all seem to like it.  Things are moving along.  Steve Hicks started work on the first H.R. puppet.   We decided we'd need three H.R. puppets.  One as the main one, a back-up just in case, and a stunt puppet that wouldn't be hollow.  That one we'll use for the few moments where H.R. is airborne.  I went to Steve's house one Saturday to see the first sculpting of H.R.  I have to admit, it was kind of disappointing.  It looked like a pile of mashed potatoes.  Of course it was never gonna look like what I saw in my head, but this didn't even look close.  I tried to put on an encouraging front and give Steve my suggestions.  Well, a week later I go back to see how he's progressing and when I walked in and saw the puppet you'd think a month had gone by.  It was that dramatic of an improvement.  I was shocked.  Hicks had totally come through.  This was the moment when I knew it was all gonna work.
I met with the band and Rob.  I had written lyrics for the main song titled "Sunny Day."  It's basically a rip-off of the Brady Bunch song "It's a Sunshine Day."  I was going to actually try to get the rights to the Brady song but I have a feeling: a) The song publishers wouldn't be too thrilled having their song used in a film about talking puke.  b) They'd probably want a lot of money too.  So the next best thing was to come up with a similar song.  I sang the song to the band so they could hear how I was hearing it in my head.  I also played them the Brady Bunch song as an example.  They played around with some ideas.  The bass player Chris Migacz really did an amazing job coming up with some basic stuff right away.  He seems to be the one who'll "lead" the band.  It all went well, except this singer Rob brought in...he just wasn't right.  I mean, I never thought someone could sing lyrics like "It's a sunny day and the sky is blue.  The green, green grass is under you" and make you wanna slit your wrists.  He turned this stupid, cheesy song into a suicide note.  I told Rob he'd have to go and that was it.
I also put an ad in Backstage.  Originally we were gonna try filming in January, but I soon realized that was just all wrong.  Yes, I was anxious to start but I had to face the facts.  This was a "Summer" film.  It had to be sunny and bright with leaves on the trees.  That wasn't gonna happen in January.  Not in New Jersey.  But, I'd already placed the ad so I figured I'd just let the actors know we had a change of plans.  So the ad appears on Thursday.  Friday comes and I got maybe 10-15 headshots.  I was actually a little nervous.  Was I gonna get enough responses?  Well come Monday I had my answer.  By the end of the week I had a stack of headshots a midget couldn't look over.  And they kept rolling in.  It got to the point where I'd be sick when I opened the mailbox and find more headshots.  But you have to open EVERY one, because who knows what that next envelope will have inside.
After sifting through the mountain of headshots, I settled on 10 "Dudes" and 10 "Chicks" to audition.  I didn't give the characters names as a sort of "homage" to one of my favorite film stars: Harold Lloyd.  When he was making films in the Teens and Twenties, most of the time his characters were just named "The Boy" and the love interest was "The Girl."  So now we have "The Dude" and "The Chick."  Anyway, the problem was casting the puppet.  I needed someone who could operate it and do the voice live on the set.  We weren't going to be overdubbing the voice.  So I had 2 choices in the hundreds of resumes I got.  If neither of them was right I was going to maybe try local theater.  Luckily, the second actor who came in to read for H.R. was Kevin Kolack.  This dude was the shit.  I mean he'd been doing one-man puppet shows for years.  He was like a walking library of cartoon voices.  I couldn't create a better person to play H.R. even if I was some weirdo Dr. Frankenstein.  We'd brought one of the puppets up for him to audition with and he made that puppet move in ways we never knew possible. 
It was perfect.  I met with potential actors to play "The Dude" next.  This one guy did pretty good.  He wasn't very out-going, didn't seem to want to joke around.  But he did a good job and I thought he'd make a fine "Dude."  The next day we had "The Chicks."  My biggest piece of advice when casting actresses is to not "Cast with your dick."  You can't just pick someone because "Hey, maybe I can hook up with her."  That's the biggest mistake you'll ever make.  Sometimes it's hard (no pun intended) but you have to find the right actress.  Now, the other thing with this part was that I didn't really have a clear cut idea of what I was looking for.  I didn't have her "voice" in my head.  I was really expecting one of the actresses to come in, read and I'd just KNOW she was THE ONE.  And that's exactly what happened.  Sabrina Gennarino came in.  And right away, she was cool.  That's the first thing I remember thinking: She'd be cool to have on the set.  And then she read and it was hers.  There was no question.  The cast was set.