Doug's Production Diary 32

Sunday, July 31, 2005

This was a rather big day. Throughout the morning and afternoon, Dan and I went hunting for props - Jimmy's King Costume, waffles, fudge, business cards, adhesive labels, and so forth. We had quite a bit planned so we wanted to make sure we were all set and ready to go.
Dan and Mike B. ran over lines down at Arabica while I waited for the rest of the cast and crew to arrive, and also printed pages out for everyone involved tonight.

The ball got rolling around 5:00 p.m. Our first scene was our Human Statues milling about their ride, anxiously waiting for Jimmy to bring their costumes back. The Guild Representative (Mike B.) came zooming up to check them over and he looked great. Everyone was hitting their marks so this shoot went smoothly. We had Tony up in the truck for a great downward angle on the group. Statues looked phenomenal, all with their masks resting on their brows, and Mike B. looked super in costume. We didn't need too many takes, since they all did so well.

I was particularly impressed with Jason, who seems to really grasp his character well. Once Jimmy hustled up, we had a ton of fun getting close-ups of our statues gorging themselves on Jimmy's peace offering. We all cracked up. Brett improvised a bit and really made this scene shine. I have to say shooting outside in the daylight is by far the easiest and best looking conditions.

After that, we did a costume change for our next planned scene: Jimmy's receipt of his tip. We would end up not doing this because Christian was so late in arriving. I tried not to be too upset because I know he's got some personal stuff going on that seems to be quite trying for him, but still, it sucked missing out on this great scene. I was really looking forward to using our Guild Representative business card, too, since I think they're great!

By now, the sun had set so we shot the scene where the boys first encounter the statues on their way home from work. This began the night shooting, which is always tricky due to lighting. Fortunately we found a handy outlet in the park to recharge our camera battery. After getting such great daytime stuff, this part was difficult for me because I was in the scenes and I so wish I could be strictly behind the camera with Tony. Of course I trust Dan and Tony implicitly, but ever since that floor shot I can't help but always wonder if our shots come out good...or great. Listen to me, starting to get a big head.

But this is our baby and I like to see everything! Plus, I think I'm the worst actor in the film to boot.

We all did our best though, and I think it came out okay. I am a little iffy on our final tracking shot: it felt too rushed and didn't quite run as I intended. I think everyone was a little antsy by this time, and we may have sacrificed the original vision just to get the shots over with. I don't like the feeling but it's hard to be demanding when there's no pay, and I'm so appreciative of the time everyone gives to begin with. Fingers are crossed!

Next up: Behind Lure #1 and #2. These were such a pain in the ass to light! I could tell there was some frustration all around by this point. It's very challenging to light outdoors at night, especially when there is movement involved. And again, I was in the scene so I never know if where I'm placed is good or not, and so forth. But we did our best as usual and I think we got it down good. The second part (to intercut Jimmy/Doug telephone scene) was much easier though. With no movement out of the light, so that went very smoothly.

Last, but not least...Jimmy on the phone with Doug! This was cool for a number of reasons. One, it was the thirst time shooting the same scene, so it was a testament to our attention to detail that we got the apartment to look exactly the same as the previous shoots. Second, it was the last thing we had to shoot in the apartment, affectionately referred to as the "Brick Oven." It's so fucking hot up there!!

We shot this scene first as a close-up on Jimmy doing all his lines. We shot 2 or 3 takes and I couldn't see anything because I was holding the script up for Brett to read and I had to pay attention to that, so not only no camera view, but no Brett view either. Hope it's good.

Second take was all three of us from the waist up. This was tough because I never know what I should be doing, especially for so long, but I think we did okay here.

Finally, we got a shot of Jones and Buddy for flavor, when Buddy realizes what's going on.
I think by this point we were past the frustration I sensed early in the evening because we were in a more controlled environment with better lighting and because we all know we'd have a tricky scene in the bag and be done in the Brick Oven.

We're getting really close to finishing up, but there's still a lot of work to do. I will be ecstatic if we are ready to submit even for the late deadline for Sundance.

Doug's Production Diary 31

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tonight we got some cool stuff done with our 3 Million Candle Power light gun: scoping out the cigar lounge. We initially planned to do both segments (before and after) but logistic problems ate up time so we only got the before. But what we got was really good. Brett managed to hoist himself up a tree using rope and his own strength. I was wowed. He looked great, especially in his "crazy eyes" close-up ("Who is this guy again?!").

We had to cheat a number of these shots because of what was in the background in the shots we wanted, but with clever use of shadows and trees, I think we covered ourselves well.
Storyboards were, once again, proven to be a valuable guide. But I'm most impressed with our light gun. Shooting at night is easy now!

Doug's Production Diary 30

Monday, July 25, 2005

Unfortunately, I had to work tonight. But that didn't stop us from getting a shoot done: Doug's retrieval of the note left by Jones at Lance's Comic Shop. This was pretty simple. We taped the note to the door and got a real nice close-up so our audience can read it, then Doug's hand reaches in and moves about in a creepy manner before snatching it away.

Then we cut to a medium shot of Doug reading the note, but with his identity still kept secret. We gave a nice amount of time here to add some dialogue later, then as Doug moves the note away from his face and lowers his arm, we pan down with him to a waist level where he crumples the note. It looked really cool because Dan totally engulfed the note so it basically "disappears" in his hand.

Then we cut to a long shot of the strip, lit really cool at night, as Doug stalks off into the shadows.
Doug's scenes are some of my favorites because they're very brief and, because of that, we really pack a lot of flavor into them.

On a side note, because we have our 3 Million Candle Power light gun now, we decided to re-shoot the murder-in-the-alley scene. Now, we can actually do it at night and have way better lighting effects. Sweet!