Day 4 was a tough one. We started out like a machine of unstoppable goodness. We crushed shot after shot, take after take. We hurdled and tackled problems and situations. I did not cuss at any barking dogs (this is a false statement, but the barking was minimal this day). We captured beautiful things.
Sometimes, and this isn’t always, things can start to fall apart after lunch. I don’t know if everyone is under the euphoria of a good lunch resting in their bellies or if we did so well the first half of the day we just take things for granted. I don’t know what it is. But sometimes those several moments after eating can drag. Also, there’s the problem of light. With a 10am call time, we find ourselves eating lunch around 4pm, which has us starting the next set up around 5pm, and the light is changing. We usually plan for this, but sometimes the plan doesn’t line up.
And this is what happened on Day 4. The light started changing, and somehow we found ourselves in a panic of sorts. Time was disappearing faster than cold beer at a hot chicken festival. And we were filming some important scenes. We HAD to get coverage. I wanted (NEEDED – had to have) 7 set ups with only an hour to spare.
As an extra added problem, the neighbor across the hall (some young lady with a hate in her heart larger than South Dakota) was crafting voodoo dolls in our image and being terrible to our crew. So we had to be super quiet every time we did anything, and this quiet was making the already thick tension almost able to be spread on toast. Mind you – this wasn’t some 80 year old man with a cane. She was young. She had “guests” coming over, and we were disturbing her. Turns out the guest was her mom (her only friend).
We got all 7 set ups and got at least 1 take for each set up. We didn’t get to light one of them, and it was an important one, but we were so afraid the woman across the hall was going to jump out and ruin our takes.
What stinks most about this whole last hour of filming is we had a speaking role that was outside our 4 main cast members. This was her only scene. She’s a wonderful person who I’ve been wanting to work with for ages. And because of the time crunch and the woman across the hall, we had to work fast and delicately. I feel I didn’t give this wonderful actress a chance or the time to do what she was brought on to do. BUT let me say this: she is a true professional. She understood everything, flew onto set, and crushed it. I only gave her a few takes (about 7 less than I wanted to), and she gave us exactly what we needed. That’s what professionals do.
And the crew worked at a breakneck pace to get me what I needed in this short time. I think we’re going to be okay. There’s one shot I don’t love, but I think we can make it work. If not, we’ll have to find a way to reshoot it. These things happen.
Week 1 is in the books. The editor has started assembling. We wrapped our Prepping First AD, who is moving onto her next adventure. It’s always tough to wrap someone who has been so intrinsically involved in a project of this size. We’ll be wrapping one of our leads soon, and I’m doing everything I can to not dread that day. Making a movie is like going to summer camp. You make friends, you get close, and you miss the people the moment you leave them. The good part for me is I get to relive the moments over and over through the editing process, but it’s still tough to lose people.
We start week 2 tomorrow. It’s going to be a fun week. I cannot wait.