Over the past year, I have mainly used our Facebook page here for promotion, rather than this website, and there are literally hundreds of production and promo photos available for view there. I’m not going to try to re-create all that here; instead, I decided I would make this a showcase for my very favorite Stella-related photos. Whether because of how the picture turned out or the story behind it, these are my all-time faves from our Stella year. The majority of these were taken by producer Stephanie Jackson (taking on-set photos was part of her job when we filmed), but there are also several by Joey (Longbox Larry) Dietz, who filled in when Stephanie wasn’t there. And a few were even taken by me. Click to enlarge any of the photos.
From our very first day of filming, and our first round of promotional photos. I believe this was the very first Stella B. image I posted to the public at large.
Laura is fascinated by the boom. That’s our tireless boom guy James Donovan on the left.
Alexis strkes a pose. This Spider-Man statue is no longer at Titan Comics; it finally sold.
Pictures of Jocelyn Everett don’t come much cuter than this.
Alexis had never heard of Usagi Yojimbo before reading in Becky’s character description that it was her favorite comic. I’m proud to say she became hopelessly devoted to the series as a result.
Shooting the big scene between Daniel and Ben. I love this photo because (a) Stephanie is laughing and (b) that’s my old buddy Mark Stokes on the left (in hat) — Mark had been encouraging me for years to get off my butt and start doing some filmmaking, so it was only right he be there while we filmed the first episode of Stella B.
The second round of promo photos; it’s really tough to get a good pic of five different people at once; I love this one because of Alexis’ expression.
The idea for this photo was Daniel’s, and it’s become one of our most-used images.
Nice pic of Laura. As I’ve said many times, Laura’s support and help in the early days was more than invaluable.
Jocelyn has a very infectious laugh, and any time I can make her break is a good day for me.
For a flashback scene to Doc’s early days as a comic artist, we put out a call for extras, and got a whole bunch of Dallas’ finest actors as a result. Standing behind Ben Bryant are (l to r) James Donovan, Ted Minette, Emily Doss, Matt Stepanek, Mike Speck, Geof Dail, and Stephen Witkowicz. Speck and Stephen subsequently had speaking roles in later episodes.
The lovely Krystal Mick originally came in to audition for Becky, and it was her very first auditon — ever. So, of course, I had to give her a gig, even if it was a smaller part than she’s originally auditoned for. Krystal is a sweet as pie, and I hope we can work together again someday.
To be honest, for this scene, I wanted Alexis to have a much more elaborate, medieval-type costume, but as always time and budget were against us, so I had to settle for a Pirate-wench-style outfit. Still, we had a lot of fun shooting this little cutaway, with more help from those drastically over-qualified extras.
Again, with the time pressures of trying to get this web series finished on schedule, one thing I regret we did not do more of is promotional/publicity photos, especially in the later days – I really would have liked to have done a whole series of photos of Stella promoting her comics. This is basically the only one I ever got, and it was just done quickly at the end of a filming session. I love Jocelyn’s smile here, but I do wish we’d done more of this type of thing.
As we moved beyond episode 1, we started to expand the cast — notably the amazing Nick Caldwell (right) and the always-amusing Jason Dilworth (left).
So, whenever Stephanie is on-set taking photos, she always takes one of herself. “You need to know I was there,” she says. These Stephaloo pics takes many shapes and forms, but this one is my favorite — because this is not cropped at all. This is the exact framing, and it just cracks me up.
Filming at Dinosaur Valley State Park (about a 2-hour drive from Dallas) was something I wanted to incorporate into Stella B. from day one, and I wrote it into episode 2 knowing full well it would be a challenge. One the one hand, it was one of my happiest days ever filming Stella B., but on the other hand it was somewhat bittersweet because neither Laura nor Dan were available to go with us on the day we needed to go; we had to make it look like they were there through the magic of editing. I took this (and a couple other similar shots) just before we left to head back home.
Alexis took this picture with her fancy Instagram settings; location-wise, it’s basically an exact reverse angle to the previous photo, though taken earlier in the day, while we were actually filming.
Here’s Alexis Nabors in a nutshell; she goes in where it says “Keep Out.” Nobody yelled at us, though.
There’s only water in that bottle. Reportedly.
So, we needed a picture of Stella with her ex-boyfriend that she could contemplate during her “emo scene” in episode 2. It sounds simple enough, but we never seemed to quite be able to make it happen. Just a few days before we were scheduled to shoot the scene, Jocelyn was performing in an Improv show at the Pocket Sandwich Theater, and I suggested that maybe one of her troupe-mates could serve as her “ex,” and I could run over and snap a few quick pictures before the show. The very talented Brad Davidson consented to be “that Jason guy,” and we got the prop just in the nick of time. In addition, this was taken in front of Keith’s Comics, a long-standing Dallas chain, which has a location just two doors down from the Pocket.
This is a screen grab from the raw footage, and I just think this is one of the prettiest pictures of Jocelyn I ever took.
While we were shooting episode 2, Stephanie was also serving as stage manager for a Dallas production of Legally Blonde, a very complicated show with a lot of stress. We were scheduled to shoot the big scene between Nick and Alexis (Lance trying to convince Becky to be in his film), which just happened to be the morning after the premiere of LB, which had come after a rather hellish tech week; at that point, Stephanie was exhausted and the last thing she wanted to do was get up early to film this web series. As always, Steph was a super-trooper, but she was not a happy camper that morning, and her “I was there” photo still gives me sympathy pangs.
In episode 3, as scripted, Larry presents Karin with a bottle of soy sauce, and that was the end of the gag. But “on the day,” we turned the soy sauce into an elaborate running joke, threading it through the whole rest of the episode. This is the kind of thing that happens when you work with incredibly inventive, creative, amazing people.
The “Brady Bunch” promo shot — this is the best of several tries, and again, you try getting a great picture of 8 different people. That’s why Photoshop was invented.
Episode 4: Why is Alexis trying to eat Captain America? Only she could tell you. (The action figure never even made it on-screen either.)
From the very last day all five of the main actors were together for a scene. I have it on good authority that Ben was not as unhappy as he looks.
Jād Saxton: serious actress. Plus — she’ll cut ya. She’s got the jewelry to do it.
Jocey mugs for the camera; if I look a little harried, it’s because Comicon is a big, noisy place, and I didn’t know if the sound was going to be useable or not.
I love this photo; Steph and Alexis both look so gorgeous and happy. Stella B. was a long, hard shoot, trying to get a ton of material in the can, and there were definitely frustrations and hard times along the way (though, really, we were fortunate to have no major disasters). But mostly, we laughed. And that’s what this pic makes me remember. It’s one of my very favorites.
Even though we were missing some of our cast, this last day that we shot at Titan Comics was super-productive, and remains one of my favorite days of the long shoot. Plus, being surrounded by pretty girls don’t hurt none neither. :p
Episode 5: the scene in the park is one of my favorites, but it was tough for everyone because I was late with the script and we had to shoot it under a tight deadline. The actors only got the pages about 4-5 days before we needed to shoot it (it was a beard issue: Ben was going to have to shave his goatee for a theatrical production he was in, and to maintain continuity with previously-shot footage, we had to get this filmed before he went under the razor) and it’s a LOT of dialogue. Fortunately, we had the park pretty much to ourselves aside from a few joggers, so we were able to take our time with it and get it all done. I think Ben, Laura, and Jill are absolutely spectacular in this scene, and I apologize to them for the short prep time; but when you’re as creatively stressed out as I was at the time, things are not always perfect. I like this screen-grab because it reminds me that, despite the tensions, we did laugh that day, and have some fun with the process.
The big scene with Rhonda and Jocelyn was one of the last things we shot, and I asked Stephanie to get some promo shots of the two ladies. This one just cracks me up.
Dan and Jād had a great working relationship. This kind of thing happened all the time.
I always knew I wanted Talina to have a bodyguard, and when I saw Patrick Douglass in the Sinbad melodrama at the Pocket Sandwich Theater, I knew we’d found our guy (as long as he said ‘yes.’). I love this photo, but the camera angle actually is a little deceptive regarding Rhonda’s height — she’s actually much shorter than it appears here, especially in regard to Patrick. This was the very last day of filming.
Again, the very last day of shooting, and the last photo we took during production of Stella B. I couldn’t have done it without Stephanie, pure and simple. And if I look tired, it’s because I was.
One from the wrap party… oh Ben Bryant…
Our first “big” convention appearance was at the Sci-Fi Expo, February 9th and 10th, 2013, with Jocelyn and Rhonda appearing on Saturday. There wasn’t much traffic at the table, but we had a good time catching up.