Day 2 Production Blog


Day 2

"...he's 5' 6" and most of my actors are 5' 8". I resolve this by planning to shoot the actors from a high angle pointing downwards and Rob from a low angle shooting upwards..."

Call time's at 9am. I've made a mental promise to myself to keep filming to a 9am - 5pm time period. I want to make films, but also to have a life, wife, and family. Let's see how it works!

I wake up at 7am and begin to load everything into the SUV. I have to pickup Patryk Resbisz, my DP (Director of Photography!!), at the train station at 8am, then go pickup these 2 PA's in the area and head over to the set for call time. After loading the SUV, I realize there's no room for the PA's in the back- it's totally full. Now I have get Patryk, go to set unload the equipment, then go get the PA's, then come back to set. When the hell am I going to start shooting today!?

It's the very first time at this location for Patryk but earlier I had video taped a dress rehearsal we had here. To show him what it looks like, I captured, encoded, and emailed him the video clip so he could see the full physical space of the warehouse. This helps him hit the ground running.

I don't remember what the hell time we get the first shot off, but we just keep on trucking and move forward. The Mech's costume looks great on camera! Rob looks like such a badass! In the story the Mech is supposed to be a huge and intimidating presence. Rob's a pro bodybuilder so he looks great when he's on camera. The only issue is that he's 5' 6" and most of my actors are 5' 8". I resolve this by planning to shoot the actors from a high angle pointing downwards and Rob from a low angle shooting upwards. When Rob and the actors are in frame together, we elevate him with wooden platforms we found in the warehouse. This works great!

Jen, my wife and co-executive producer, shows up on set around 11am. Today's her day off of work and boy am I glad she's here! She orders lunch for the cast and crew today and places the order for tomorrow as well. We convert an unused office into craft services area and actor's lounge and dub it the Greenroom. Calvin (Jen's brother) is a background extra today and has decided to come everyday this week to help me out. Thank God! The background logistics are turning out to be much more important than I thought! For the rest of the week, Calvin and Jen end up being my saviors by helping to pick up and drive home actors, running out to get stuff like batteries, and handling all the craft services.

This is our first day on set at this location, so I knew we'd have relatively few shots today since we're really just getting our bearings. We cap off some great shots of the Mech. Rob is a great Mech and does fantastic as a first time actor (I found him at the gym I go to. He was the strongest one there!). Ollie, who plays the main character, Lee, does great along side Chavez, played by Anthony. It's amazing how great talented actors do alongside other talented actors. Putting them together is like a multiplier effect. We do an average of 2 or 3 takes per set up. After certain takes, I smile and say to myself, "That one's going to be in the final film!" This is sweeet.

I'm producer, director, PA, and grip today. We work to lift lights on the roof of the Greenroom. To get up there, I have to climb up stacks of boxes and wooden stacking platforms. While I'm up there, a plank of wood my hand is resting on gives way. I right ring finger gets sprained backwards. I lose feeling in it for a while and for the rest of the week I can't make a fist. Just keep on going!

OK, my shooting schedule plan is crap. I cross-referenced shots with actors' availabilities, but I didn't consider the lighting set ups! Every other shot is a new lighting set up and it's totally dragging down our progress! Curse my rusty innards! (Star Wars reference 1). All this'll have to change. Hey, I'm learning something!

We wrap at 5pm. I spend the evening reviewing the dailies (we shot on miniDV using the Panasonic DXV100a). There's one shot of Rob and the actors where we forgot to elevate him. We'll have to do that again tomorrow. I get a call from David who's playing my Captain Dack. His deNero extra part got extended for another day and he won't be able to be on set tomorrow either. This kind of screws me, but I'm happy that he's got that part as a paid extra so I tell him I understand and congratulate him again.

Another problem with my shot list approach is that I haven't had time to list all the shots for the entire film. I have the whole film storyboarded, but I need the list in text format too cuz it's easier to manage. Without the whole film's shot list, I have no way of knowing how many shots on average I need each day to finish the film by Saturday night! I stay up until 2am working on the master list before I force myself to stop to start on what I'm going to shoot tomorrow. I bold each shot on the list that I want to film tomorrow and this time organize it by lighting set up so I can cap off 4-6 shots in a row for each lighting set up. Actor availability is still cramping my progress, but I can't worry about that now.

Before I turn in, I get a call from Patryk (DP). He congratulates me and says that the film is looking good, the production value is by far outweighing the budget, and that he's really excited to be part of the project. Wow! He's got more experience than I do in the world of production so that gives me hope! Maybe we can actually pull this off!!

Who Am I and why in the world... i doing this?? I ask myself this all the freaking time but the conclusion is always the same- I don't know why, all I know is that I just must, must, must make this film...

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