Ep7 Shoot Days 3 & 4
Oh, man. What a weekend. I had spent a ton of time trying to theoretically troubleshoot what we would do once we got to this location. We spent the weekend in an amazing abandoned warehouse in a shady-ish neighborhood in the far north suburbs of Chicago. How did you end up with a location like that, Jake? Glad you asked, internal projection of imagined reader. When PoPS Episode 3 was voted into the finals of the NexTV Web Series competition (also going on now) about 90-ish weeks ago, my mom brought it to the attention of a local internet-based newsgroup. They wrote up a little story, which was read by a surprising amount of people, one of whom sent me an email mentioning he had this abandoned warehouse if we wanted to shoot in it. Turns out when the Nightmare on Elm Street remake came through town a scout went through it and raved over it, but production ended up somewhere else. Ever since then, he’s been looking for people who want to shoot in the building, or better yet, as he said to me before we started shooting, “All I really want is for someone to come and blow it up.”
Production diary time:
Day 3. Saturday, June 2nd. I woke up at 7:30 to get our rental tables and chairs for the scene when the place opened at 8. I had already driven an hour out of town the day prior to get a projection screen we rented for the scene as well. I got to the location at 9:30 and hit the ground running, we were all over the place all day, moving like crazy, getting amazing footage and wonderful performances from the largest assembled cast in all of episode 7, some of who we were meeting in person for the first time. The building had no power, so we were running it through about 300 feet of extension cords from a neighboring building, and every time we plugged in something new, everything else would dim by about 25 percent. We got everything I was hoping for including a serious reel shot I thought would take about an hour and a half that the crew nailed in around 30 minutes. I gotta tell you, these folks I got, they’re something else. We ran about an hour and a half over schedule; gotta work on that. Afterward, Ryan, Eliza, and I went out for those beers you saw in the video update and some dinner.
Day 4. Sunday, June 3rd. Back to the warehouse. Everyone brought their A-game once again and we were off and running. There were two very brief fight scenes that we had to choreograph and execute, and fight scenes are just a hell of a day-killer, but they looked SO COOL. Ryan and Chris (1st A.D./Screenwriter/apparently Production Designer) hung up some sick-looking chains they found and after about an hour of arguing rigged the coolest environmental lighting decision of the whole episode. It turned out so good. So very well indeed. By the time our scheduled eight hours rolled around, we had quite a bit left to do and it was getting dark in the ABANDONED WAREHOUSE we were shooting in. I had the following night scheduled as a backup day, but if we had to come back for it, we wouldn’t be starting until after dark anyway, which would make getting started in the evening much harder than usual, given the location’s hardships with lighting. So I made the call to try and finish everything Sunday night. I thought it was all over when I heard David (Gaffer/Sound Guy/Dolly Grip/Everything Extraordinaire) say, “Did you see that bat?” I couldn’t believe we were going to get shut down by a bat flying around in our dusk-deepening location. Everyone did the whole “What?!” “Where!” “There!” thing until everyone had glimpsed it zipping in and out of the far side of the room. I kept waiting for someone to say the production-killer: “Uh, guys…Maybe we should get out of here.” But in the moment of silence that followed the first appearance of the bat I waited a beat and said, “The next shot is…” And people just kept moving. Around an hour later we were out of there, only slowing briefly between shots for nervous glances in the direction of the bat. Cast was out at 9:45 and we had cleared the place out of our stuff by around 10:30. Lize and I got some T-Bell and watched an episode of Veronica Mars around 11:30 p.m. before going to work the next morning and returning all the rented props on lunch breaks and after work.
Tonight, after work, we have 2 and a half pages to get in the city. Thanks for reading, guys.