Saturday, August 7, 2010

25 Months Ago: Day 10

DAY 10 – July 7, 2008

Today was a Monday. Perhaps fittingly, we spent it filming several short scenes at the Tobey Village office set.

I bought some office equipment at Office Depot to provide a little more set dressing, and also bought a pair of reading glasses for J.D. to use as a prop. Karyus helped with some last minute set-building before the shoot.

The footage of John Sindoni's scenes from Day 5 turned out to have flickering light levels, due to a bad fluorescent bulb in the set for his office. So we reshot those scenes today.

Next, we shot a brief scene of Reuben speaking to a college secretary. I had been unable to cast the role of the secretary, so Wendy read the lines off-camera. I was planning to replace her voice later, but would ultimately decide that having Wendy in this dual role had a certain logic to it (you'll understand when you see the finished film … maybe).

We then recreated the moody blue lighting of Day 2, and shot some close-ups of Reuben that I hadn't been able to get on that day – a missing line of dialogue and some physical actions.

After this, we shot an early scene of J.D.'s character, Josh, being let go by his boss, played by Jesse Conklin. Mr. Conklin was one of several actors (Anthony Owens was another) who approached me for a role in response to a casting announcement I'd made through Rochester Movie Makers. More recently he revealed to me that this was his first acting role in a movie (he's been in several local productions since), but that wouldn't have mattered even if I'd known. I just thought he had a solid, dad-like quality that made him perfect for this part.

For scheduling reasons, the shoot had been largely Karyus-centric so far, so it was good to finally do a scene which centered on J.D., who was, after all, the lead actor. It was also the first scene of the shoot in which he got to do comedic acting. Although J.D. had no lines in this scene, his Gromit-like facial expressions and body language spoke comedy volumes, so not many takes were required.

I wanted the costumes and set design to be bland and monochrome, to communicate the dullness that Josh's life has become. This was the first scene of the shoot to make use of the main office set, and it occurs at a point in the script when the office is relatively bare. That made it the perfect choice to shoot first, since I was still in the process of assembling the set and acquiring decoration for it. By this point, making the movie was like building the railroad track a few feet ahead while driving the train.

After filming this scene, I put tape marks on the floor to mark the tripod position, as I would later need to match this camera setup with a similar shot of a younger J.D. at his desk, during happier times.

The shooting day concluded with a simple close-up of Wendy's character being interviewed.

Another good day.

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