The Days of Just Visuals

The last video update featured a visit with our big donor, Harris, who donated $6,000 to help us reach our Indiegogo crowdfunding goal. A part of his perk involved flying him out to appear in the episode, which we did last weekend. We also got what are purportedly the best burgers in Chicago, mine and Eliza’s favorite pizza in Chicago, took him to experience the bar-arcade renaissance currently sweeping Chicago, and his flight was the last to leave our airport before a complete and utter airport shutdown thanks to a blizzard. It was flippin’ eventful. And A LOT of fun.

Every once in a while we’ll have a production day shooting strictly visual shots. No dialogue. Just a series of beautifully framed vignettes for sequence building. It’s so awesome.

I love writing dialogue, and I love watching great dialogue scenes. A passionate exchange over conflicting perspectives can be absolutely riveting. The Social Network, Lincoln, Gone Girl, Clerks, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, The Breakfast Club, A Few Good Men, Reservoir Dogs, Swingers. Just a few of the more modern examples. But dialogue scenes aren’t particularly fun to film.

A good performance can be captivating to watch, but for shooting, give me a day of camera moves, cool angles, and action. Not necessarily action scenes, either. I’m talking more about sequences. Back in episode five of PoPS, we had a day of shooting all of the Super Sorority sequences, seeing them in their environments and learning about their personalities. We did a lot of camera moves on a slider, focus pulls, and tableaus. It was a lot of fun and every shot looked really cinematic and exciting.

We just had another couple of those days over the last week. On Friday, we found ourselves shooting at a college campus in an amazing looking lab classroom and around campus. On Saturday, I picked up Harris, our big donor, from the airport and we headed over to a water treatment plant to shoot a quick dialogue scene. He did a great job and we wrapped within an hour and a half of arriving. Then on Monday night, the day after the big blizzard of ’15, we went to our friend David’s apartment to shoot 13 highly visual set-ups. One after the other. They all felt so cinematic and cool. They told a story and looked amazing. We shot for about two hours before packing up all the gear and rental props and heading home. That was one of those nights where we were a totally barebones operation. Three crew members, one actor, knocking down amazing shot after amazing shot. It’s nights like those that really remind me how much I love the medium. Sequence filmmaking is the absolute coolest.

Thanks for reading.

–Jake

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