Tuesday, September 28, 2010

12 Months Ago: Day 32

DAY 32 – September 28, 2009

On this rainy Monday evening, a meeting of the Rochester Movie Makers featured a guest speaker encouraging Rochester filmmakers to be ambitious and make features. Apparently some people who knew me and had worked with me turned to look at me to gauge my reaction … and discovered that I had left.

The reason I ducked out of the meeting was so that I could go film the one remaining scene for the movie, featuring Kathy Coughenour.

Kathy, a local theater actress, was a friend of John Sindoni's, and he had recommended her to me back when I was originally casting the role of the female voice in Josh's head. I'd spoken to her but decided that her voice wasn't quite what that role required.

However, I still remembered her over a year later, and thought she might be a good fit for the role of Josh's stepmom. John S. gave me her contact info (which I'd mislaid), and she was delighted to be involved in the movie.

Josh's stepmom was to be part of the payphone scene that was (mostly) shot on Day 23. That scene was a hasty replacement for a different scene in the original script, so J.D. had ad-libbed one half of a conversation. When it came time to edit the scene, I figured out what the unseen stepmom's lines should be, to match J.D.'s improvised dialogue. I wrote the lines down, recorded them in a silly voice, and dubbed them into the rough cut. Now it was time to record those lines with a real live woman!

I recorded Kathy's lines at her house. Although the stepmom was originally intended to be just a voice on the telephone, I told Kathy in advance that I would film her, so that I would have the option of using the visuals if I wanted to.

This turned out to be the right decision, and the final stroke of luck to occur during shooting. I did not know what Kathy would look like, or what she would be wearing. But her Ileana Douglas-ish looks, and the cute multi-colored sweater she had on, made her a telegenic addition to the movie.

Kathy generously allowed me to move furniture and lamps around so that I could get better angles and better lighting. Having spoken her lines for the sake of the rough cut, it was now my turn to feed her Josh's dialogue.

And on that triumphant note, the filming of Saberfrog finally came to an end.


Well, I hope you've enjoyed this real-time trip through the making of the movie as much as I've enjoyed writing it, reliving good days and bad.

A few weeks ago, Mike Boas asked me how I was able to remember all of this information. Part of the answer to this is that I had a lot of reference material to draw on – dates written down in my daily planner or printed on receipts, emails in my Sent folder with schedule information, and tape logs that detailed what order we shot things in. Plus, I was also the cameraman and editor, so I knew which days had gone well and which days had had problems (conveniently for my memory, most scenes were shot entirely on a single day except when a reshoot was needed). Sometimes there were problems that I wasn't aware of during shooting, and only discovered while viewing or editing the footage. There's no way that I could have kept this kind of a journal during the shoot itself, as I had way too much on my plate.

It's a Tuesday evening as I write this. Yesterday, I missed a Rochester Movie Makers meeting because I was acting in an RIT student film. An oddly appropriate way to mark the one-year anniversary of Saberfrog's final shoot.

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