Half the Episode Shot

After shooting last night we have wrapped the largest location in the episode and have shot very close to half the episode. 42 pages down. That’s a lot of road. Let’s do some shoot day recaps.

Sunday, November 30, 5pm-12am. This was a day for making up a lot of little scenes that we had to grab in each room of our apartment. I’ve been designing a lot of shots to hold as many characters in a frame as possible this episode. Really driving home the groups of people that exist in the show, that they’re connected, and how they relate to each other. It’s been a fun exercise in seeing our apartment in a lot of different ways as well. It’s a pretty small space, and I’ve been trying like all-get-out to vary the ways we see it. We paused for a Chinese food dinner around 7:15 and then kept plugging away. We wrapped most of the cast around 11 and then kept shooting for an hour to pick up some inserts that I’ve been pushing back for time since shoot day 3. Then a couple of us sat around talking about relationships and past roommates. It was a great chill way to wrap up a long day.

Tuesday, December 2, 7pm-11pm. Roti Meditteranean Grill for dinner. Friggin’ tasty. Back on November 3, when we started shooting the episode, Eliza and I saw how we looked in the behind the scenes footage compared to how we looked in a video update 4 years ago. We finally decided to take some drastic measures. Over the last month we’ve been avoiding bread, cheese, and pasta, and severely limiting our sugar intake. It’s made a noticeable difference. It’s hard to get to the gym when production is underway because of all the planning that surrounds the nights we’re not shooting, but we also push ourselves on the nights we can make it to the gym. In another month—including some of the weight fluctuation damage the holiday season can do—we’ll be at a point where we can figure out how to maintain instead of actively dropping weight. I know my first celebration dish is going to be pizza. However, this last month has shown the delicious variety of meals you can make with meats and vegetables. Lots. Back to production…

I had been dreading this night. There were enough things we were trying to do that we hadn’t done before and I was just hoping it would all go smoothly. It did. The stuff I had theories on how to do, but we had never done, other people brought great ideas to and helped us execute them smoothly. A shot that I thought may take forever to get properly, Ryan and Chris nailed in one take. I had a stand-in oversight where we needed an extra person to double for a character in one shot and I hadn’t planned for it. A major oversight like that is a big rarity for me and I was trying to figure out how to change the shot. Right when we got to it on the shotlist, an actor showed up with a friend in tow who happened to be the same height and build as the double we needed and she was willing to help out. It was AMAZING. We got our whole shotlist by just after 11. Twenty four setups in 4 hours.

Wednesday, December 3, 7pm-11pm. My mom’s brithday. Also,  the last shoot night in our biggest location and there were 22 setups left in the most complex action sequence in the episode. It was our 10th shoot night of episode 9, but we all agreed that it felt like a lot longer. Maybe it’s being in one location for a month. Counting our actual production hours, that’s approximately 45 hours spent shooting in that location in November. Granted, that’s only 4 and half real-length production days, but for this nights and weekends production it felt like a long one. For the previous 9 shoot days, we’d been eating from a variety of places with relatively healthy options, but I wanted to celebrate the last night of this location with a tried-and-true PoPS production meal. Frozen pizzas. A staple of PoPS production since 2009. This was super tempting, as pizza in all forms is one of my most revered foods, but Eliza and I stuck to salad we ordered from a pizza place down the street. The irony of ordering salad from an excellent pizza place and getting pizzas from the freezer section was not lost on me. Around 7:15, we started checking off shots and wrapped just a little before 11. Checking off cool action shots is so much more invigorating for the assembled crew than long dialogue scenes. We hung out for a few minutes and everybody headed home just before midnight. It was a great time and it feels amazing to have so much of the episode shot.

Now we have a couple of nights before diving into weekend shoots in a whole new location. I have five’ish shoot nights left before we start Christmas break and by then, if everything goes according to schedule, we’ll have a vast majority of the episode sitting in a hard drive. And backed up in another hard drive.

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

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