Production: Week 2
Day 3. Saturday. A light pickup day from what we didn’t get on Day 1. Started at 10. By the time we finished at 1, it was pouring on us. I doubt much of the sound toward the end of the day will be usable. Then we went to lunch as a group and headed to a grocery store to grab a couple photos we need for set dressing in Ep7. That sounds pretty strange. Then I had to get the video update put together.
Day 4. Sunday. Exteriors all day. It was the one day the weather’s been nice to us so far. It got colder as the day progressed, but at least there wasn’t any rain or snow. The page count was pretty light considering the amount of hours we had available to get everything. That’s how I should have scheduled the shoot. Every other shoot has been a horrifying race to cram too much screen time into way too few hours of shooting. We worked with some of our new actors and they were outstanding. There was a stunt scheduled for one of our actors that I didn’t want him to do. He’s not being paid, we have no insurance, and no stuntmen or stunt choreographer, so it’s kind of whatever we cobble together. The idea (without spoilers) was for this guy to get knocked off his feet with a lot of force and land on the pavement. My solution for that was to not ask the actor to do it, but to do the stunt myself. I put on his wardrobe, including face cover, tied a rope around myself and I wanted 3 crew members to yank me backwards off my feet as hard as they could. I’d shoot a clean plate and remove the rope. No one would pull the rope until we put down an air mattress for me to land on. I mean, sure, I would have hurt myself, but I wouldn’t have died or anything. This just proves how old we’re getting. We would have done that without an air mattress in a heartbeat if we were still teenagers. It was the first time the crew has refused to do anything for the show. The performances were great and we knocked out some good page count. We shot from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and then went for some Steak and Shake. That was a great day.
Day 5. Monday. Started after work at 6 p.m. Way overscheduled. The thing I’m finding out about these current episodes is that every day we’re in a new shooting location. That means we have to start from scratch every night in terms of unloading gear, familiarizing ourselves with where we’re shooting, everything. Never a chance to get comfortable. Every time we tried to start setting up some of our exteriors it started to rain. Correction, it would wait until we were all set up and our actors were in position and then start raining. It did that until around 11 when we headed out to try again, then it waited until our actors were in position and it started snowing. Snowing. Not hard enough to accumulate, but hard enough to register on video and make us worry about equipment. There were other complicating factors that night, including some sloppy screenwriting (my fault) that made a couple of the character beats seem pretty forced. We were running too far behind for us to spend the time trying to fix it on location, so I’m going to have to try and smooth it out in the edit. I want to do everything in my ability to avoid re-shoots because we were in a great location belonging to some people I really care about and we really put their home through the ringer. I never want to do that to them again. We wrapped sometime between 12:30 and 1.
This super independent filmmaking can be a pretty tough game. My poor wife has had to put up with a pretty mood-swingy husband lately. The scope of our schedule has started to weigh on me. I’ve already cancelled one of our shoot nights because it’s a sequence we need more time to prepare for in order to do it justice. The others we’re just trying to “Little Rascals” into place right before we shoot them. We’ll just keep on doing what we can. I’m never scheduling exteriors in December or January ever again. Not in the Midwest anyway.
Thanks for reading.