Wednesday, September 22, 2010

25 Months Ago: Day 28

DAY 28 - August 22, 2008

Thank God It's Friday.

J.D. and I got the absolute last scene required for the main shoot. In this scene, J.D. arrives at a warehouse determined to find out what's inside.

This is another mystery location – J.D. found it, so I don't remember where it was or who owned it. We just knew that it would be closed, so we would be able to run around filming without anyone noticing.

For dramatic effect, I had J.D. hold the camera for a couple of takes, pointed at himself as he walks. Only in the age of lightweight digital cameras would it have been possible to get this kind of shot in a feature film, and it looked great.

And with that, principal photography was done. I don't know what J.D. did with that blue shirt he'd been wearing through most of the shoot, though I vaguely recall him making some joke about burning it. Or maybe I was the one who made the joke.

The two months of filming had been punishing. I'd gotten some great footage, and some footage that would take a lot of work to salvage. I'd had dramatic scenes transform into comedy in the hands of the actors, and I'd had comedic scenes that the actors imbued with unexpected dramatic power. I'd had scenes that came off pretty much as planned, and I'd had scenes that had to be cobbled together out of quick thinking in order to replace what was originally in the script. This was the most epic production I'd ever pulled off, and the romance of being an indie filmmaker had been sorely tested.

Many filmmakers my age and younger seem inclined to keep it very simple, and to pursue the Clerks / Reservoir Dogs model – one main location and a small cast. My blessing and my curse is that I've always dreamed big. As a sci-fi fan, I was always more interested in quests and adventures. That's the kind of storytelling that inspired me to become a filmmaker.

Maybe I'm more aligned with the 60s/70s generation of filmmakers in that regard. They made epics – ensemble dramas, period war films, existential Westerns, psychedelic road movies. They were worldly and literate, and had frames of reference other than pop culture. They had big things to say and wanted to expand the minds of the audience. They weren't crippled by self-pity, passivity and cynicism as so many Gen-Xers seem to be.

So I'd filmed the movie I wanted to make. All I had to do now was edit ...

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