"A Case of Sin," a short written and directed by Jeffery Crane, was a drawing room mystery in the style of Agatha Christie. It had all the requisite elements: the reading of a Will, a mysterious cursed talisman taken from the depths of a primitive land, and murder after murder which eliminated one sordid character after another.
The actors did a wonderful job and we all worked incredibly hard for Jeffery Crane so that he could fulfill his school assignment and graduate from UC Berkeley. Unfortunately, Jeffery didn't feel the same respect and sense of responsibility to his cast and crew as we showed him.
Not only did Jeffery never bother to finish "A Case of Sin," but he told me on the phone after my having left several messages to him over the months following the shoot to which he never responded and then finally snagging him when he recklessly answered his own phone before checking caller I.D. or listening to the answering machine before picking up, "I don't have to finish the film and I don't owe anything to the people who helped me make it. If you want, I can send you a copy of the uncut video that you were in." I told him I would at least like that and I was eagerly anticipating the tape.
I was particularly interested in seeing my performance as the lawyer who had assembled the other characters for the reading of the Will of a deceased British explorer. But first, the back story to this fiasco is also telling of the character of this director. When I first went for the audition at his home which was to be the location of the shoot, I saw that two cats lived there and I am very allergic to cats. I told him I shouldn't audition or participate in the project because of my unfortunate medical condition. He swore to me that the cats would be confined to his bedroom from that day forward, the living room which was to be the set for the film was going to be completely cleaned, new 1930's period furniture brought in and the area completely free of allergens. Based on this promise, I auditioned, was offered the part and accepted it.
When I arrived on the set for the day of the shooting, the cats were still there and the carpet in the living room was only covered with brown paper. Since I couldn't spend any time in his apartment, I was given a folding chair to sit on outside his apartment building on the sidewalk when I wasn't needed on the set, and I spent the next 12 plus hours between that chair on the sidewalk and the set. I became sicker and sicker during the day, but knew if I left, he would have absolutely nothing for all the labor he had put into the project. So I stayed. By the last few shots I could barely breathe and was helped up the stairs to the site by one or two of the crew. The cameraman would immediately roll, I would push out my lines, and then be helped back to the sidewalk until needed again. It took me close to a weak to fully recover from the repeated exposure to the allergens on the set over that very long shooting day.
I really wanted to see how my illness, filtered by my acting, would look on camera. As the film progresses (shot in script order), my character becomes more demonic and angry and I became physically more stressed and breathless. I paid a very high price for that performance and wouldn't have done it except I had made a commitment to the director.
And Jeffery Crane says he owes nothing to his cast and crew!
He also never returned a prop cane one of the actors brought. He never sent any of us copies of our performances, even unedited, he never returned calls or responded to letters from any of us. And the promise of a wonderful cast and crew party at the brewery where he worked .... Well, just another gas bubble.
All beware Jeffery Crane.