Sunday, September 19, 2010

25 Months Ago: Day 27

DAY 27 - August 19, 2008

There is a pivotal scene in Saberfrog that I will only describe as a dream sequence. It features Josh (played by J.D.) and Terrance (played by Reuben) as sci-fi characters in an apocalyptic environment.

Originally, I had planned to film the two actors on a greenscreen, and to create their environment using animation. However, I eventually realized that this would require not only finding and/or building a greenscreen, but also having costumes made for the actors and choreographing an action sequence. Therefore – and I don't remember when I committed to this decision – I chose to depict the scene entirely through animation.

All I needed from J.D. and Reuben, then, was their voices. So I postponed recording this material until very near the end of principal photography. Once again, John Sindoni provided his home as a recording location.

Somehow, it was while recording this scene, as I attempted to convey to the actors what the scene was about and what kinds of emotions they needed to provide, that it fully sunk in for me what a strange script this was.

My plan from the beginning had been to record the scenes with the most actors first, and then get individual actors' scenes completed so that I could set people “free” and be working with fewer and fewer actors as the shoot progressed. This aspect of the shoot had been a success. I was now finished with Reuben's scenes, and indeed the scenes with almost all of the major actors.

After this, J.D. and I went off to shoot another payphone scene – this one taking place at night, as J.D.'s character stops to call for directions. We used a payphone at some gas station that J.D. had identified as a suitable location – I don't remember where. Maybe someone watching the finished film will recognize it. It was in Monroe County – I'm pretty sure of that much, but otherwise I have no idea.

Then we got some shots of J.D.'s car pulling off the road, which we filmed by stopping in an unlit, pitch-black section of road so that I could get out and film J.D. pulling the van over. Remember when I said that I'd filmed this on Day 21? Well, judging by the footage logs it was actually part of the payphone-at-night shoot. My bad.

All that remained now was a short sequence requiring only J.D, and some offscreen characters heard only on the telephone or as TV narrators. The latter could be recorded anytime, by anyone, so my goal now was just to finish one scenes with J.D., and the main shoot would be complete.

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