Monday, October 29, 2007

Without/Within: Day Three

(moved from Livejournal to December 8, 2007.)

Yesterday was day three, the last day, of principle photography for my movie. Everything started out really awesomely: TrAilz called around 12:15 and said that there was a schedule change and that she could be there for the entire shoot.


So I started to make the calls to try and get an early start because I scheduled us to start at three. I was trying to be kind scheduling the shoot so late because I knew Jon had gone to a party the night before, but I was also hoping that he didn't overdo it and I could get him up for the shoot. Finally got him on the phone, sounding like Tom Waits, at 2:30. Well, at least he was awake.

So we pick him up (after stopping off at Sweetbay for some more Karo syrup and food colouring -- the first blood batch was really weird -- and more caramel and apple slices) and head back to SpoogE's house so we can get to setting up and as SpoogE and TrAilz set about blocking out light, I start setting up for the first shot. I wanted a high intensity look, but because of how we had to block out light, it just became really well lit. We had to close the blinds and, for continuity, they had to remain closed. Since they were white blinds, a lot of light was reflected back into the room.

Ah well, so I'm not happy with that, but at least we got started (an hour or so later than I'd hoped) and were able to get one whole, complete scene in the can before breaking for dinner, after which we came back and hammered through the rest of the script. As it got later and later, I cut the angles, the amount of retakes, and even whole shots so we could get out on time according to my schedule and still have the shots I wanted.

I scheduled us until 3 in the morning and we were finally done around 2:30.

Over all, as far as the filming goes, since I haven't been able to direct anything in a long time, I think that other than being a little rusty it was a smooth shoot. There were a few bumps here and there, but we adapted and we had some great ideas from my crew and from Kristin's fiancee Aaron who had come down early to pick her up and hung around the set waiting for her. He's a very patient guy.

After striking the set, I got home around 3:30 or so with most of my equipment (I left some screws that go to my Glidecam at SpoogE's house, but I think I have everything else.)

Today, I start the Great Footage Dump and tomorrow I watch it all, looking for the best takes and angles and start to try and fit it all together. Tomorrow night / Wednesday and Thursday, I'm going to start editing, but since I go back to work Friday, I'll have to pick at it here and there.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Without/Within: Day Two

(moved from LiveJournal to December 8, 2007.)

Today SpoogE picked myself and Kristin up around two thirty and we went over to Sweetbay for "Craft Service." I'm not the healthiest eater, but I made sure to get some good stuff. We had sliced green apples (caramel provided by Kristin), a veg plate (I put it in the fridge and promptly forgot about it, but it'll be good for today), mah birfday cake (which we also forgot about), a fruit cup (we ate all of the grapes and left the melon bits...), tortilla chips and salsa (all gone by the end of the day), Barq's root beer, bottled water, and diet Sunkist.

We then headed over to SpoogE's house and set up for the first scene of the day: Kristin's character waking up at the crack of dawn. It was a simple scene, but it was really hard to light so SpoogE and I work on how to diffuse the light and bounce it into the room. We've been using parchment paper (the baking kind) clothespinned to the lights for diffusion (works very, very well), used the dimmer to bring down the intensity a little, then we set up my reflector and bounced the light into the room. It looked fantastic. Don't pay attention to the time on the clock -- it's not correct at ALL, not even to the time of day.

That shot didn't take very long, though, and we were left with a lot of time on our hands until Jon and Janine were due to show up (both got out of work around sixish) so I decided that since we had a really complicated Glidecam shot later on that we would go ahead and get SpoogE rigged up for it and practice.

He'd never used the Glidecam before and though he had a spring-arm Steadycam-style rig a few years ago, my rig's a little more difficult to use, IMO.

Basically, Kristin's character wakes up when she hears something strange, goes to her door, then retreats to her closet. Once she feels that the coast is clear, she sneaks out of the closet, goes through the bathroom and then makes a run for the front door where upon she gets thrown into the wall by the Intruder. I wanted to get most of it in one take, though I was going to cut within the scene. Since I don't have a wireless monitor, either, I had to just trust SpoogE that it was all coming out well. In fact, I couldn't be in the room for most of the shoot last night and I couldn't see about 98% of what was shot. I probably should have watched the footage last night, but I was just too tired to pay adequate attention. I think I'll watch it before I'm picked up today.

Anyway, we practiced that for the next hour and a half -- pacing and blocking that scene so SpoogE got as few reflections and equipment bits as possible and they both felt comfortable, then started to set up the lighting for that scene as Kristin went back and practiced her lines for tonight.

Other than some general chatter as TrAilz and Jon came in, we got right into it, deciding to not film one scene last night and add it to the list tonight and just get right into the really complicated stuff.

Once that particular angle was captured, we moved in for a static low-angle shot of the same action, then a low angle close-up of Jon, then, the last and most complicated shot of the night, the David Fincher-esque closet shot. Don't get me wrong, the first shot of Kristin waking up was Fincher-esque, too, but this one REALLY was, and it was a dream of SpoogE's, then mine once he told me about it, from the day he moved into that house. We did it like six times and SpoogE was extremely happy with it so we moved on to the easiest shots of the night: the darkroom and the close-up of the doorknob.

The darkroom looked fantastic. We just strung up some twine in SpoogE's bathroom and TrAilz decorated the set (she did an absolutely fantastic job), then we screwed in the red lights and it really, really looked like a darkroom and not a bathroom, something SpoogE wasn't so sure about at first. My photos in the darkroom set are from the reverse angle, not the angle from which we shot.

I'm already thinking about how to reshoot the door knob close up to get the shot I want. Since I own the camera and I happen to have some doors in my house, I'm thinking about shooting it myself here because, like the initial bedroom scene, I have some specific shots that I don't feel we could have gotten at SpoogE's. We'll see how the angles taken last night look when I'm editing and reviewing footage.

On the docket tonight: the hardest scenes for the actor and actress. Lots of dialogue and lots of tension. We're really going to have to stay on the ball tonight...

Overall, still incredibly happy! I should take photos of my fireant bites. Man, they started to really hurt last night toward the end of the night. Just imagine an almost paper white surface (my legs as I don't wear shorts or skirts) with eleven really angry looking red splotches (the bites.) Ouchies.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Without/Within: Day One

(moved from LiveJournal to December 8, 2007.)

Yesterday started very early for me, 7:30 am. We weren't scheduled to meet until ten in the morning, and Janine wasn't going to come pick me up until 9:30, but I just could not get back to sleep. At all. And I'd only fallen asleep at three or three thirty the night before...not on purpose, either. I just couldn't sleep.

So, I got up and got ready for the day, which was also my birthday (I'm 29 now, can you believe it?!) and it was a good thing as I decided to paint my nails green. It's my favourite colour and I wanted as much positivity to the day as I could get. I also wore one of my Fleetwood Mac shirts. :D

So, TrAilz showed up and we loaded up the truck and went to the Hollywood 20 where we met my lead actress, Kristin Mellian, and her fiance, Aaron, who was dropping her off and heading to Orlando for an audition.

We were slightly worried because the forecast for the day was to be a day full of rain, but when we took off to do the Ringling Causeway shot, it's a fantastic bridge that gives a really nice view of the Sarasota "skyline," it was beautiful and only slightly overcast. We got that shot in the can pretty easily, then headed over to Whitaker Gateway Park, a small, but beautiful, public area off 14th and Fruitville where we met up with the supporting actress, Sabrina Carmichael.

As we set up for the shot, the clouds parted and the actresses went over their lines. That scene flowed so well, and we got it done so quickly, that we were an hour ahead of schedule by the time Sabrina left to go run some errands before the night shoot and we went to lunch at the Main Sandwich Bar right across from the theatre.

By now, y'all are pretty familiar with my feelings about hearing Stevie Nicks / Fleetwood Mac in random public places where I don't control the music. As we were eating lunch "The Chain" started on the bar's radio. The day could only get better.

From there, we met SpoogE at his house, then headed over to my brother's band's warehouse for the studio location. The bands who share the space were cool with us coming in and filming and no one was going to be there the time we wanted to film anyway so we moved some stuff around and set up the shot whilst I was chewed on by fire ants. When I got home last night, I counted eleven bites on my right leg and two on my left.

The moving and set-up took a little longer than I had anticipated, but we got the shots we needed and were only twenty minutes late for meeting Sabrina and Jon Wagner at the theatre. Jon, who is one of my coworkers in the booth, is the lead actor of the movie and was kind enough to talk to his roommates so we could use the foyer of his house as Sabrina's character's home.

Since it was still light out, I decided to put off the filing enough to go get some refreshments for the cast and crew at Jolly's Cafe. That took about 45 minutes so we got started at the house location about an hour late, and just started to shoot our first shot of the scene as Jon's roommates were coming home, but we finished by around 10:15 anyway, which is a little bit after when I figured we'd be finished, especially with the changes made.

I did kind of rush the house shoot a bit, but it wasn't a dialogue scene so I didn't feel bad about it and I don't have that sinking, fearful feeling that I've forgotten some key shot.

They were kind enough to not only let us destroy their area rug with fake blood, but let five complete strangers into their home and move their stuff around. It wasn't much, but I gave them money for beer to thank them for their kindness.

All said and done, we were finished with the day's work, and I was home, by eleven at night. I finally went to bed around two or three in the morning.

I don't have many photos from the first day's shoot because I was too busy concentrating on the work and we didn't have enough hands on deck to take pictures. I'm glad we had enough time to take one of Sabrina in the puddle of blood. :D

It's now the day after my birthday and the second day of the three day shoot. SpoogE will be here in about an hour to pick me up, then we'll head over to get Kristin, some "craft service" foods from Sweetbay, and then start on the next four scenes.

Tomorrow will be the hardest stuff. That's ALL dialogue, pretty much. Today and tomorrow are all taking place in SpoogE's house so we can relax a bit as far as Other People's Things.

I'm so happy with everything I can't even express it properly, other than to say it over and over.

I've opened up all the photos over on my Flickr account so go check out the preproduction stuff and stay tuned for some more production photos. WOO!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Up Before God.

(moved from LiveJournal to December 8, 2007.)

I woke up at 8:30 this morning. I went to bed at, like, 2 or 2:30 so at least I've had SOME sleep, but I hope this no sleep thing doesn't continue. I do have a lot to do today. I need to pack up the small props, get groceries, print out a couple more releases, get an extra long cable to go from the camera to the monitor (if they make extra long minijack to video RCA cables to be sold at Best Buy...), whip up some fake blood, and tear my brain apart to make sure I have everything.

Other than 11x14 frames, and one 6x8, I'm good as far as props are concerned. I'm already thinking of ways to shoot around whatever I may have forgotten.

My brother is checking with his bandmate to see if I can use their rehearsal space as the main character's art studio (it's perfect, actually, the fact that it's not well lit aside.)

I'm so excited! And, surprisingly, not that nervous...yet. I'm meeting both of my actresses for the first time tomorrow, the day we film, but that'll be okay. I'm really confident in them and my crew and myself...this kind of confidence feels...well...GOOD!

Also, I just realized that it's Thursday and I don't have to work.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Without/Within preproduction update: four days 'til shoot.

(moved from LiveJournal to December 8, 2007.)

After a few nearly heart-stopping issues in pre-production...all of which happened this past weekend, I think we're just about as ready as we're going to be to film over my birthday.

Janine and Matthew are coming over right now for lunch / cold rehearsal with my lead actor and then we're going to finish off the shopping list. Goodwill, here we come!!

Over the past twelve hours, I have become even MORE excited about making this film than I was even twenty four hours ago. I'll share more once filming has started, but whereas I was feeling a little
depressed, I'm now feeling pretty positive and full of energy.

Being on vacation at the same time helps, too. I can't imagine trying to deal with the stuff I've had to deal with over the past three days whilst at work. Yes, my friends, that would've sucked.

By the way...I've been up since eight thirty with very little sleep before that. So much stuff on my mind.