Music for the Mind Ballet

music for the mind ballet

good morning, miss
can i help you, son?
sixteen today
and up for fun
i'm up to date, and the date's today
so if you'll serve, i'll be on my way.

welcome to the house of fun.
well, now i've come of age
welcome to the house of fun.
welcome to the lion's den
disaster's on its way.
welcome to the house of ...

Starring Jamie "Reoke" Odum as Genny
Jonathan Block as Han
with Gabrielle Goldberger as the T.A., Matt Hawn as the School Jerk, Anthony Adornetto as the pantless guy, and Jenni Thelon, Harry Pottash, Brian Birmingham, John McCulloch, Garrett Gilchrist.

16 min., 2001. Conceived, directed and edited by Garrett Gilchrist.
(Pictured above: Jamie Odum. Lyrics from "House of Fun," by Madness.)

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There was nothing particularly wrong with Genny's life. Then again, there wasn't anything particularly good about it either. Until one sleepless night, something unexplainable happened ...

I still wasn't allowed to use dialogue in my third student film, and for most of the shoot I only had one cast member present - Jamie Odum. So I told a story that didn't require dialogue, and focused on a strong main character. Even without dialogue, Jamie gave quite a performance. And I was finally learning how to visually direct (finally creating a student flick I was happy with). The lack of dialogue turned out to be a great learning experience for me. Fun Facts:
The working title was "Last Semester I Got a C," or "A Shiny New Me." The final title was inspired by an old Bonzo Dog Band jazz track, "Music for the Head Ballet." (The Bonzos were a comedy jazz/rock band in the 60s - in the "Head Ballet," they would simply move their heads robotically to the music.) The track "Music for the Head Ballet" does not appear in the film.

Genny wears an Orange Cow Productions t-shirt when we first see her. The shirt was designed by Garrett at

The paintings in the movie were based on star Jamie "Reoke" Odum's own anime art. The first one was painted by Reoke herself, and the others were painted by director Garrett Gilchrist, working very quickly.

The entire movie was shot at night. Even the outside "date" scenes were shot just as the sun was setting. The classroom scenes were shot at USC's Taper Hall during a huge rainstorm, and the cast [and camera equipment] was soaked by the time they got to the location.

No one was originally slated to play the T.A. The crew spotted Gabrielle Goldberger in the lobby of Taper Hall, and quickly recruited her to be in the movie. A post-credits P.S. of the T.A. rereading Genny's exam and smiling as she leaves the classroom was shot but not used.

The first day of shooting was the "date" scenes. Before shooting, Jonathan Block, Jamie, Garrett, and David Jay Lasky (who was there the whole time but does not appear in the film) took a road trip up to Factor's Famous Diner to eat and relax. While there, they discovered that the knife Jamie had been given was magnetic, and could pick up other knives, forks, spoons, anything. This amused us all wayyy too much. The magnetic knife appears in the date montage, look for it.

Most of the jazz music in the film was taken from a CD Garrett dug out of the lost and found bin in the editing rooms at USC. It's strange how well it matches the visuals considering.

During the "transformation" scene, Reoke is wearing a Powerpuff Girls shirt.

Harry Pottash is seen in the class reading "The Evil Dead Companion." Harry used to say Garrett directs like Sam Raimi. The end credits have a listing for "Fake Shemps," meaning people who doubled for another person or don't really appear in the movie - a Raimi term.

That's Cori Haisler's hand writing the note, not Jamie's. She doesn't appear in the movie otherwise. That's MY hairy hand in the stereo scene. I cut away from it fast. You don't see Reoke's handwriting in the movie really - I had Jenni Thelon write the note to Han for her.

Matt Hawn gets beat up in this one. He also got beat up in "Legend of the Lazy Fighters" - he seems to play the same character in all three student films he's in ...

Reoke's boyfriend John McCulloch (who played the lead in "Mort") played the moving shape in Genny's bed. I won't comment on what happened between takes there.

Reoke actually slept on a mattress on the floor like that. The alarm clock, on the other hand, belonged to Garrett. That was the annoying noise he woke up to each day.

Most of the movie was shot in Reoke's dorm room, but the later scene with the messier apartment, well, that was shot at Harry Pottash's messier place.

Garrett decided to use the song "House of Fun" by Madness in the film after watching an episode of the British comedy series "The Young Ones." His copy of the song had errors in it, so in the film, portions of it are rearranged. The song is actually about a 16-year-old boy trying to buy a condom. As for what "Killboy Powerhead" is about ...

During the "running" scene at the end, in some shots Jamie is actually holding the camera herself as she runs.

Jonathan Block is frequently seen picking up and carrying Reoke. Carr-Reoke ... Karaoke. Baaad joke. I apologize.

"Very nicely shot and edited with some great visual effects, the movie is one that you can actually watch more than once and still enjoy. The movie features some great split screen work, and another great performance by Jamie Odum. It also has some pretty great music, too ("House of Fun" by Madness is just really addictive). Definitely a movie to see."

- John Simpson, The Amateur Movie Database

Watch the Movie (25.4 MB, Realplayer)

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