Friday, August 20, 2010

25 Months Ago: Day 16

DAY 16 – July 20, 2008

Day 16 … more than a week after Day 15. (We're talking shooting days here, not total days.)


In all the madness of production, I think I'd sort of forgotten that my old college buddy Greg and his wife Misha would be staying over for a visit on this particular weekend. (They often crash at my place when they're visiting relatives in the Rochester area, just as I often crash with them when I'm visiting NYC.)

But I wanted to keep up at least the semblance of a regular shooting schedule, and to me this required filming at least once a week. So I had to shoot something this weekend.

I believe strongly that once you start a big project that involves other people giving up their spare time, you have to finish it as quickly as possible. If you don't, people will lose momentum and interest, and drift away before you can finish it.

When making a low-budget movie (or perhaps a big-budget one as well), you should bear in mind that things could fall apart at any point. Ask yourself: If the shoot was suddenly halted for some reason, would it be possible for someone to make a coherent movie out of the footage you've shot SO FAR?

There are some scenes that, even if you're fond of them, could theoretically be cut or substituted. And then there are the scenes that you HAVE to shoot or else the film is incomplete and makes no sense. There were at least three of the latter that I still needed to get at this point. (As I review my old notes for this blog, I see that they were the next three scenes that I ended up shooting. Wasn't I the clever one.)

By far the simplest of the must-haves was an early exposition scene in which Josh, played by J.D., hears mysterious voices and begins his quest. This was a simple scene, which only required J.D. to sit in his trusty van, give some reaction shots, say a couple short lines of dialogue, and drive away.

We filmed the scene in a hotel parking lot. J.D. acted to his usual high standard, and I used some swooping, handheld camerawork to convey Josh's disorientation. Greg and Misha, eager to take part in the making of a feature film, came along and helped out behind the camera.

Not the longest or most epic day of shooting, but I breathed slightly easier with this scene done.

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