Shooting Journal. Day 9.

Today was a quintessential day in Independent Filmmaking.  We had a great day overall. Whereas yesterday I felt we were a bit sluggish coming off of our day off, today we hit the ground running.  (This is another manifestation of the day in and day out roller coaster ride that is filmmaking.) We knocked out another area of the house and very deftly tackled a sizable 3 page scene.

I had another moment of realizing why something was written in the script even though it was not what I intended it to be when I wrote it.  It was even for my character. Let it be noted that Jon, McCaleb and I are writing partners on this script. We’ve each contributed evenly and soundly.  When I say “I wrote something” its because I have actually written that specific moment.  And, that said, I’m just now figuring out why it’s on the page.

Just to elaborate a bit on our writing trio: McCaleb and I spent a few years writing on the script before Jon came on and did a rewrite cleaning up the script and honing in on what the story is really about.  In total its just shy of six years in writing.  That time and familiarity with the script/story has allowed us to continue refining the script even as we have gotten in to shooting. Our trust between the three of us has allowed for a lot of cutting and some really wonderful nuance to be mined from the script.

Elizabeth, Brianne Moncrief, watches Ronnie, Jacob Knoll, as he sleeps

The end of the night, remember we’re shooting nights so our end of night is 7am, is where we kicked in to Independent Feature Frenzy.  We had a couple shots to get on the exterior of the house.  After shooting inside all night we busted outside to light and shoot two scenes that we absolutely needed to shoot on this night; schedule-wise there was nowhere else to put them. G&E busted their asses to get the scene lit very quickly. There was also a dolly move in the first shot so camera was cranking as well.  As a group there was a great energy and focus on beating the clock and making the day.

We got the final shots just as the sun was coming up.  Michael did a great job to frame out the beautiful sky that was enveloping us.  We finished just in time.  Job well done, all the way around.

It was at that point that one of the actors came over to tell Jon and I that he was in the wrong costume for the last shot we just hustled to get.  It was an easy mistake to make, the difference was a hue of grey between two t-shirts.  We think we’ll be OK given the darkness of the shot, but we need to go back to dailies and see if it will work.  Otherwise we’ll need to reshoot the scene. This moment was a great reminder of just how hard it is to make an independent film.  Even though we started shooting at 7pm the actor wasn’t up till 4am, so he was woken from a dead sleep and hustled down to the location. So, he was groggy to say the least. Due to our budget restraints there is no on-location wardrobe. The actors are responsible for their costumes; no small feat considering we’re shooting drastically out of sequence. His only stopgaps were busy hustling to make the day, so we didn’t notice either.

Ultimately, I believe the missed shirt won’t hurt us and even if it did we still had a hell of a day.  These types of moments are daily occurrences in Independent filmmaking. The key is to manage them and not let them drag you down.

A stunning sunrise: Our reward after a great nights work

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