Ep 8 Shoot Days 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7
See, this is what happens when I miss a week. The production days stacked up like crazy. I’ll do brief rundowns of each to keep this production blog on track.
Day 3, Sunday October 13. Back to the warehouse to fill in the gaps with our hodgepodge quilt-work of shooting. Got some dialogue singles from a couple cast members that should drop nicely into the rest of the footage we shot from the previous weekend. We also wrapped a cast member for good so he could move to L.A. It was wonderful that we were able to get him into episode 8 and send him off in style, but it was sad to see him go. A shorter day, 10:30 to 4. By 5:30 we were sitting in one of our favorite pizza places unwinding with some deep dish pizza. A solid shoot day and we wrapped the warehouse stuff for 8. 18 pages down.
Day 4, Tuesday October 15. After work I hopped in the car and got down to the city as fast as I could manage. We rarely shoot our exteriors downtown, but I wanted to get some shots of the elevated train line in this episode and downtown locations just look more gritty and lived-in than most suburban locations. A fantastic restaurant called The Heartland Cafe agreed to let us use them as a base camp for all of our gear while we were shooting on the sidewalk outside of their place. The streetlamps were bright enough that we only needed to set up one other light for the whole night and we tried to race through our pages. We got our first shot at 8:30 and we finished up around 11:30. We could have actually gotten through it faster, but we had to stop for sound any time the el’ came by or cars rumbled past on the brick street. Other production interferences we encountered in the city that night: Noisy airplanes, one screaming match a block over, one guy who wandered over to see if we would shoot his stand-up act for a DVD, and a tipsy guy who just wanted to watch us work, although he was polite, stayed quiet, and just watched. We got our four pages and then hung out for a few minutes with the crew at The Heartland.
Day 5, Saturday October 19. Got up at 7 to pick up a couple people and get downtown by 9. At this point, I was really tired of waking up early on my weekends. Another full day downtown. This time at Ping Tom Memorial Park on the south side, down by Chinatown. Even though the locations we’ve been choosing for this episode look great, they’re really noisy. This time we chose a section of the park next to the river with a really gnarly-looking railroad bridge in the background. An active railroad bridge. What I didn’t realize, was that this bridge served as an end-of-the-line turnaround point for a couple of different passenger lines. That shut us down a couple of times per hour. Toward the end of the day some folks on the river also made recording sound pretty much useless by blasting classic rock from their boat. Despite all of this, the reported threats of rain pretty much held off until we got everything we needed. We were briefly shut down while it drizzled for about 10 minutes in the middle of the day, but other than that and the sound disturbances, we were able to get our roughly 8 pages and all sat down for dinner before heading home. Wrapped at 5:30 when it was too dark to get an extra scene we tried to cram into the day and it actually started raining.
Let me just say, shooting dialogue scenes is so much more satisfying than shooting fight scenes. Especially fight scenes that will be intercut with other scenes. Everything feels so disjointed and incomplete, happening in short, confined bursts of activity. In dialogue you can just see the scene play out. Most of our dialogue stuff will be coming up later in the shoot.
Day 6, Tuesday October 22. For some reason the temperature dropped ridiculously the last couple days and we ended up outside in 34 to 38 degree temperatures for a little over four hours. It does reinforce my belief that filming in the cold makes everything way harder and we were right to dive into production to get our exteriors before December, when these temperatures are justified in the Midwest. Two great things about the shoot this night. 1: We were shooting with the Damon team, our group of villains. They’re the most fun group of guys with the greatest attitudes you could hope for. 2: We used some work lights as environmentally significant lighting in the scene and our breath vapor looks so cool backlit by them. Super badass. We finally shot in an amazing courtyard location on the south side of Chicago that I’ve been planning to use in PoPS since the beginning. We shivered through half of the four pages we needed to get in the courtyard before calling it a night, grabbing all the coverage of one of our cast members who wouldn’t be able to return the following night. By the time we wrapped it up and got the important gear inside it was midnight. We grabbed a bite to eat in a really cool, gentrified, hipster bar and were home by 2 a.m.
Day 7, Wednesday, October 23. Made a dash for our downtown location right after work again. Traffic was awful and he got there around 7:50, 20 minutes late. Thanks to a crack team, everything was already set up and we started shooting pretty much immediately. More fight scene shooting. Tiny pieces, shooting for a second or two. Somehow, the night was even colder. We surmise it was the appearance of an ever present wind that was freezing cold and played hell with our sound. We might have to ADR some of the dialogue because of it. We finally got everything on my shot list and started packing up all the gear around 11:45. We wrapped quite a few actors for the episode these last two days. It was sad to see them go, but it’s nice to feel like we’re making solid progress. We all grabbed a drink at a bar nearby and then Eliza, myself, and Chris headed back to the suburbs, stopping for dinner at Denny’s, the only place on our way that was likely to be open at two. Got home around 3 a.m.
I’m feeling pretty tired, you guys. But we’re keeping on top of it and getting great stuff. And now it’s Halloween week! In addition to three scheduled shoot days, I have a Halloween movie marathon video I want to upload tomorrow and Eliza and I are going to carve Jack-o’-lanterns.
Thanks for reading, guys.