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!

Doug's Production Diary 29

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Today I didn't think we'd get much done, because it was rainy and dark all morning.

Fortunately, that cleared up by the afternoon so we were good to go. Dan and I hit up the thrift store (a.k.a. The Costume Shop) for supplies, along with Pat Catan's for art stuff and Lowe's for some 3 Million Candle Power lights for outdoor shooting.

At 5:30 p.m. we went for our first "scene": Buddy and Wishes make eye contact. We added some dialogue in to spice up this part for Dan Harvey (Wishes). It's very quick so we did 4 or 5 takes and i think it went very well. There was a big break between shoots so we did some running around and got dinner before our night crew arrived: Jason and Brandy, and John McGuire. We did Jason and Brandy's scene first, and this came out great; thank goodness for that light! We had Tony all over the place on this one: in the back seat of the Tracker, standing on the hood, holding his tripod way up in the air, you name it. We added Lance (McGuire) into this scene as the guy who picks Brandy up and drives away.

Speaking of John, he is nearing completion of filming. Well, there's still a bit to go but I'm just wishfully thinking. He does okay, but has a bit of trouble with his lines and direction, but so far we've gotten everything with him in a satisfactory manner. His scene tonight involved him talking on the phone and making a angle only. I think it came out pretty well in the end, once he remembered his lines and movements. It was a little tricky.

Finally, we got Dan, as Doug, making his victim list. This shot looked really cool: a parchment on a red sheet with a single light source, surrounded by blackness...the ink looked like blood. We did a slow pan down the list to show all the names, then a medium shot where Doug spills the red ink all over it like blood. Very cool.

And that was that. Still going forward!

Doug's Production Diary 28

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Got three short scenes done after work. First was Silver Man parting ways. Keith had his first turn on screen as Gold Man. They both did great! Their masks looked phenomenal on screen, and they ate it up. A street band was playing on the corner so we used them: Silver Man acted his usual jerkiness when they asked for spare change and was instructed to eat shit. It was great!

The band put their banner up too, for some exposure, and also said they'd do some music for us. Sweet!

Also got Doug talking to himself in the mirror - Dan riffed it and did a fine job. Finally, got boys on their way home from work. This consisted of two shots: One of Jones looking through the window of Wishes' Well, followed by a nifty tracking shot crossing the street with a well-timed stop on the other side where Buddy comes back into frame to throw his two cents in. Jimmy's "kindling" was a HUGE joint that showed up well in the foreground. Right after we finished, a huge rainstorm began.

From start to finish, it was a night of serendipity due to the band and the rain. Kick ass!

Doug's Production Diary 27

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Planned to do "Scoping Out Giovanna's" but Christian had relationship problems with his girl so he couldn't make it. But Tony, Dan, Brett and I went and did some scoping of our own. We picked a spot and worked through the scene. Decided to have Brett do a little rappelling from a tree.

Should be a snap.

Doug's Production Diary 26

Monday, July 18, 2005

Plans didn't pan out as well as I thought today. I hoped to get more done than we did but here goes: we got Jimmy's scene while he's on the phone with Buddy at work done. The shot I wanted to start with wasn't able to work, so we tweaked it a bit. I wanted to pan across the statue costumes, come to the "Old Scratch Deluxe Itching Powder" can, hear the toilet flush, and cut to Jimmy exiting the bathroom. Didn't work. But the shot came out well despite this. We did get a pretty innovative shot by putting the camera inside the oven so Jimmy opened it, retrieved the brownies, and shut it. Very cool.

For Buddy Drinking Tea, we start with empty apartment shots lit sort of "Blair Witch" style. Over that, we hear Buddy screaming in pain. Then we come to the kitchen where Buddy checks the water temperature in a very stupid way.

After that we got our Frankie Chains viewing shots where Buddy begins to trip out due to the herbal tea. Extreme close-ups simulate the television screen, and that was that.

A quick shoot, of pick-ups "between scenes" but still important and done with.

Doug's Production Diary 25

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Tonight was a long-anticipated scene: the sad tale of Charlette Marone (at Giovanna's Restaurant). This was a night shoot, after 9:00 p.m. so a lot of waiting around to do the scene.
Christian and Foley came over early to rehearse their lines and it sounded like they had them down pretty well. They had practiced on their own a few times this past week which I was thoroughly impressed with. We all knew this was a big and important scene and really wanted to nail it.

By the time we got to Giovanna's, they were just closing up, so we came in with all our gear. Once left to our own devices, we set to work getting the place in order.

Marty Fischlin showed up and we put him to task rounding up some extras, which would ultimately prove fruitless. So we had him, Mike Piazza, and Mike's girlfriend Heather. Not much...a little disheartening, but we'll do the best we can.

We took this scene in chunks and our approach was a bit different. First up, we shot Christian and Michelle's segment. For this part we shot the whole segment from one principal angle, then went back and did various other shots to round out the scene. Michelle was very nervous at first, playing Brenda, but overcame that soon enough and did very well.

Christian, on the other hand, was phenomenal! Cracked us all up with his junkie impersonation. Further, he had ALL his lines down to a tee. We also utilized Foley and our few extras here for the background.

Next up, we focused on Foley as Chuck, who sat a table and bantered with his guests. This went well and Foley looked great in his wig and moustache. His "Knuckle Time!" delivery was also killer.

Moving along, we shot Chuck and Brenda's segment where-in Foley stole the show with a little improvised catchphrase ("What.") As in "What are you gonna do about it?"

And finally, Jones and Chuck went at it. This part was fantastic. Christian really did a convincing job and Foley impressed me with his portrayal of a person whose story confused even me a little (and I wrote it!).

Other than the standard sorts of shots, we did get a nice dolly-like effect using Jordan's skateboard on the marble bar, and in particular the "Knuckle Time!" shot with Jones flipping out in the background were my favorites.

In addition to all of that, we squeezed in the part where Chuck is stopped on the way to his car by Doug.

We did a nice pan with Chuck until Doug came into frame. And another facing Doug with a great lens flare from a background street lamp. Both angles came out great.

Missed out on the crossing-the-street tracking shot...maybe we'll work around that?

Overall a very fun, and very productive, shoot.

Doug's Production Diary 24

Monday, July 11, 2005

A night shoot was on the books, which meant a lot of waiting throughout the day. Dan and I had to walk to Target for a new tarp to act as Jones' kidnapping sack. Since our original was torn and dirty after shooting outdoors with it at Mike B.'s house.

Also, we had to wrack our brains over the Stan's Tea situation, but we decided to go with it and assume the best with Mr. Young. So we procured a mound of loose leaf tea from the Enclave. Then we used Babelfish to translate into Korean the following: Insides of oxen great cure from stress. Signed Stan. We placed this under the tea in a container and got to work.

We have a really nice overhead shot of Buddy and Jimmy lying on the floor. Brett and I nailed this one almost immediately. Fortunately, we reviewed the footage quickly and I did not like the composition: it was completely symmetrical (good) except for one imperfection (not good).

So we re-shot and nailed it...but better!

Then we got a cool pan of Jimmy and Buddy heading for the door. I threw a little "good go first," in reference to an earlier scene.

Jones in the hall with the sack was great stuff - quick and easy.

Finally, we got to our "70's Show" homage panning between Jones, Buddy, and Jimmy. It took a few tries but we got it. Tony said it turned out really really well. Other than that, a few pick-ups for particular lines, like "I left a note," and "that's how we're gonna do it," and that was it.

Oh! Tony did a little Frankie Chains DVD to use with Buddy. Basically just a bunch of loops with some television-style graphics...very cool.
Onward and upward!

Doug's Production Diary 23

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Today was one that had been looked forward to for some time, lemme tell you. Bob Bene from the Willoughby Brewing Company was really cool about letting us shoot there, and EVERYONE was excited to see Brian Shapiro in action as Frankie Chains.

Man, it was worth the wait!

Brian looked phenomenal in his tailored Ticknor's duds, and the W.B.C. looks awesome on film!
Our first challenge began, really, the night before when all our extra help bailed on us. No "Make-Up Girl," no Brandy, no Gina. Dan and I quickly summarized what we had available and adapted to that. So Frankie's show became one of budget cuts itself: the Make-Up Girl got a better gig on Sally Jesse...powdered sugar buzz subbed for cocaine habit...craft services quite...and apple juice is better than Irish whiskey on an aging body. Jay was great as Frankie's Stage Director, and because of our changes he got extra lines, screen time, and even a close-up!

So our first shot - the Long Pan, went very well.

Then the acting began, and Brian was stellar. He takes direction well, really does a lot to establish his character, and is very cognizant of continuity. Plus, he LOOKED the part so much!
I don't think I have to mention how much storyboards help...but they do (immensely!). There, I mentioned it anyway.

The rest of the shoot at the Brewery went smashingly, and we got all the footage and angles we needed, including Brian's "Promo Spot" for the Frankie Show to use throughout the film. It was great!

Our good luck followed us the rest of the day, as we went from place to place to fill out our scene. Bobick's Golf was really cool - good example of what carrying a camera and equipment can get you! They let us shoot in their private driving range area. A few on-the-fly changes and this segment came out great! Check out the "way to dive right into it..." line - sweet! We came up with a little gimmick for Frankie where we start each part with a close-up and then zoom out to show the new locations - it worked superbly. Frankie quickly endeared himself to us all and hopefully this will translate into the film as well.

Clark Street Convenience was very cool, too. They lady on shift (Jimmie Dawson) was our movie clerk and she was fantastic - this part will knock 'em dead for sure!
Arabica segment went very smoothly too, except for the sound which is atrocious but we can easily re-do that. The Point Park segment was equally smooth (on the Tech Center steps) and the segment down by the river was a lot of fun too.

Only one more segment is needed for this scene - the "sun tanning/boat dock" segment which is my personal favorite. I've had this part in mind for a long time!!
Our shoot was from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. A long one (who keeps THOSE kind of hours?!). But so completely worth it. As usual, this shoot was easier and another step forward in improvement.

Afterwards we watched all the raw footage (45 minutes) and all agreed it was fantastic.

One more scene in the bag...

Almost there!!

Doug's Production Diary 22

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today, we got our big alley chase involving Wishes (Dan Harvey), Dolly (Giovanna), and Buddy (me).

First of all, it was hot. I'm talking mid-90's with a LOT of humidity. Good thing Dolly sports jeans and a leather jacket!

We worked totally backwards here, starting off with the end of the chase near the bank. We even shot a number of reactions, to edit into the scene with Lex and Nick Junior. That went very well. Gio and I did our best to ham it up and Gio did SUCH a good job with her lines and whatnot; it was a real thrill. I got to be a ham too so that was a lot of fun for me.

The actual chase went well. Dan Harvey needed some major direction despite the fact that he only had one line. But he got it right after a few takes, so no biggie.

The rest of the shoot was easy, and involved directing Gio to "run this way" and "run that way."

Fun stuff!

Doug's Production Diary 21

Monday, June 27, 2005

Today we got some unexpected shooting done. Dan, Tony, and I headed over to Mike's film Dan (as Doug!). We did his telephone conversation with Jimmy. First off, Dan's costume was great! Powder blue 70's jacket (much too tight), purple polyester pants (again, too tight), and of course those wonderful shoes!

We set up a little nook for him with a chessboard, bonsai, brandy snifters, and so forth. All told, it took maybe an hour and a half and went really well. We got a nice shot from the lift and various other angles. Dan was a bit nervous but did just fine. I kept telling him to ham it up (that's where he really shines). The best takes were definitely the ones where he cut loose a bit and came up with some goofy stuff on the fly.

Overall, quite easy, short, and a good place for Dan to start his acting (alley murder was pretty dialogue-free). And, most importantly, one more scene in the can.

Doug's Production Diary 20

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Today was hot! And muggy!! was a most uncomfortable day, especially up in the brick oven that Dan and I call "home." :)

Most of it was spent waiting around, as our shoot entailed evening time frame. We had 2 scenes planned:

1) The boys' come to some conclusions on a bridge.
2) Silver Man's tale of woe - a date with Brandy gone wrong.

Both were to be at Chagrin River Park on Lost Nation Boulevard. Bridge scene was scheduled for 7:30-8:30 p.m. and Date scene from 9:00-10:00 p.m. It didn't pan out that way.
Brandy's car was not working (and she lives 45 minutes away in Ashtabula). Jason never called, so we didn't get the scene. But we will!!

The Bridge scene, however, felt really good. It was a rocky start, as Christian was having quite a time with his lines. But after a few moments he got the rhythm down. Thankfully (?) our sound was unimportant for this since there was no doubt we'd be doing it over later, so Dan was free to look at the scenes more and coordinate with our storyboards much easier.

Mostly just shot from two main, or principal, angles and then got filler angles (for comedic/dramatic purposes). I am enjoying acting a lot more, especially with Brett and Christian. I still prefer to be behind the camera, though. But it's always good to be well-rounded. There's a lot of little "tricks" to acting that I'm picking up. I'm sure all of the experiences will come in handy in the future.

Pretty short, easy day of shooting overall. Dan and I will have to see about doing more tomorrow.

We're getting there!!

Doug's Production Diary 19

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Dan and I spent most of the afternoon nailing down our storyboards for tonight's filming. This is the scene just after Brandy runs screaming from the boys' apartment and Jones comes stomping back in for an explanation. In order to keep the scene moving, Dan and I decided to have the scene "start" in the kitchen, then move to the computer room and almost back to where it began. For my part, I knew I had a lot of lines and that this was the impetus for Act II - basically the crux of their plan - so I knew I had to do well.

The scene was also quite lengthy but I wanted to get it all done so we'd be through with the blood, the axe, and the shirt.

Tony brought his kids with him and arrived first, about 7:00 p.m. We toned down our swearing and went on the balcony to smoke - don't want to set TOO bad of an example.

Once Christian and Brett arrived we rehearsed the scene a bunch of times: sitting, standing, blocking, etc. Brett and Christian were really tired from lack of sleep and playing soccer all afternoon, and they kept flubbing their lines during rehearsal. But I wasn't too worried - I knew they'd get it.

The shooting itself was great!

I have to mention it again - thumbnail storyboards are indispensable. They are such an aid. It's especially gratifying when we get a shot that looks exactly like one of them.

I was feeling very energized about this scene because I felt it was important and also because Buddy has so many lines and I knew I could nail it...and I did! Really got into acting tonight; I had a lot of fun and learned a few tricks while I was at it.

I haven't seen any of the footage yet, but Tony says it is the best yet (funny how each scene is the best...) and it came out incredible.

Not much else to say except this felt like a big step: it was a lot of pages and a lot of movement in the scene and it went off without a hitch. I also learned to be a little more assertive as director so that was also a big bonus. We're getting there!

Doug's Production Diary 18

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tonight was a shoot we'd been waiting to do for sometime: Axe-In-Head! Pre-shoot involved me pouring blood down my head while the axe prop dug into my temple. It would be close to 3 hours of this thing on my head. On top of that? Sweltering heat in the apartment (location). Especially with the windows closed and no fans for sound purposes. Most of the shoot involved me slumped over on the couch.

Shooting was smooth and fun though. Christian gets better by leaps and bounds - he is incredible. He, along with Brett (Gina and Brandy were kinda just eye-candy) ate up the scene. Awesome! Once again, thumbnails proved indispensable. I don't know about everyone else, but when I'm in a scene, directing and coordinating as well, I get quite confused. So having those takes a lot of headache away and gives a nice solid game plan.

Christian and I discussed how we do so many angles and how that helps so much with pacing and keeping things fresh and moving along.

I overheard he and Brett later on talking about future projects. Things like "I can't wait till we can do this as full time jobs" sort of stuff. It was really heart-warming to hear that, because it made me realize this project is giving something back to all the great people involved: hope for something bigger and better. We're actually inspiring people!

On a more technical note, our shots themselves are becoming much better. We're doing a lot more pans, zooms, tilts, tracking shots, and so forth. I'd like to try starting a scene with a pan.

For instance: focus on hear audio (dialogue) and pan to the speaker. Some slower stuff would be nice too. Break up the oft-frenetic pacing and linger a bit at times. I'll keep that in mind when we shoot next.

Until then, Dan and I will keep hard at work planning it out.

It's weird - the more we get done, it becomes progressively more unbelievable! Probably because it's so amazing to even think about!

Doug's Production Diary 17

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Tonight we had an opportunity for a shoot at Mike's house, which is the location of Doug's Lair - Upper Floors. It's a big, big place in Kirtland, surrounded by woods. Our available cast? Me, Brett, Dan, and Tony - not much. So we got our first page shot: Buddy and Jimmy hauling "Lance" to Doug's place. Brett and I tried to dress like spies. It was pretty dark but clever use of lights will do the trick. Haven't seen anything yet but I'm confident it's okay.

It was a very hot, humid, sticky night. By the end of it we added muddy and wet to the list. Especially Dan, who laid in a drainage ditch tied up in a leaky tarp. Lots of bugs, too. All in all, though, a good shoot and more importantly: more scenes in the bag!

Doug's Production Diary 16

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

No shooting today, but we got discs with rough edits on them: Alley Chase/Kill, Lance in Sack/Revenge Plot, Amsterdam Flashback, and Comic Heaven scenes...They are totally sweet! Really starting to form up. This Sunday we've wrangled Brandy, Gina, Brett, Christian, and I for the "Axe In The Head" scene. That should be fun.

As much as I can't wait for the finished product, or even to have all our raw footage, in the meantime I'm enjoying the ride and all the great learning and experience we're getting.
See you in the movies!

Doug's Production Diary 15

Monday, June 6, 2005

Wow...big break between shoots. It really was a drag, since shooting has gotten so much easier and quicker and more fun! But, Dan and I did not spend the time in vain. Since our thumbnails are so helpful, we put work into those for our Comic Heaven scene, back alley chase, and Amsterdam flashback. This is where we started today.

We decided to show a little more so had our heroes stroll past a prospective coffeehouse before going in. We shot at the Enclave, which looked awesome on film! A guy we'd never seen before (John Beech) was wrangled to be our Barista: he looks great on film.

Shoot went VERY smoothly with incredible continuity of movement and some very nice, innovative shots. For a short, almost "throwaway" scene, everyone put good work into it.

Actually it's probably my favorite that we've shot so far...

Brett, Christian, and I are developing nicely with each other. This will help a lot in scenes without all three of us, because we can carry the scene (and should: we're the main characters!). I think we utilized what we had on hand very effectively. Even Wally! :)

Anyway after that we shot the boys' comings and goings from Wishes' Well. This was extremely short and easy stuff but still, we shot from multiple angles to cover the bases and get well-composed shots to string together for a great scene.

Unexpectedly squeezed in one more scene: Buddy and Jones en route to work (pre-firing). This was a long tracking shot that met with some skepticism: timing, shaky cam, audio, traffic...but in the end it went superbly. Naysayers! (Except Christian - we both knew we could time it perfectly).

Dan and I made our Comic Heaven coupon and also went to Tony's to review footage in the evening. I'm still geeking out about it! Stuff looks fantastic. Tony put together the chase/kill scene of Dan and Jason: brilliant! This movie is turning out even better than I imagined. I can't wait to see the finished product. But until then, I'm just enjoying the ride...immensely!!

Doug's Production Diary 14

Monday, May 30, 2005

This is a first for us today: an all-day shoot. We're talking 13 hours or so. Not continuous shooting, but still...

Dan and I got up at 8:00 and set to work getting our location set: our apartment. Basically, this entailed cleaning it but also moving a few things around too. By 10:30 a.m. we had our cast for the day assembled: Me, Brett, and Christian. Our crew, Tony and Dan, as well.

We did just about all the apartment stuff, except when Buddy is apparently "dead." The sound is great, because we have thick walls and turned everything off, so I don't think we'll need to re-do audio much for this stuff.

The lights get pretty warm on everyone, but I think the heat inspired some great performances!
We were able to manipulate the sun to have it move over my eyes to "wake me up" by having Dan stand out on the balcony and use a poster board to shield the light, then slowly move it so the light traveled over my eyes.

The waking scene took a bit due to all the movement involved, to preserve continuity. But worth it totally: Tony said the footage looks great!

I had to spit water at Christian about ten times. We shot from multiple angles, a few of which were unexpectedly cool due to happenstance, like having the psychedelic light in the background, right behind my head. The last take was the best: a close-up of Christian where I REALLY soaked him. We broke for lunch then and finished up little things for the scenes before taking a few hours off so friends and family could be visited. Dan slept. Brett and I hacked to keep awake and alert.

Our night shooting went well. John McGuire was all nervous and self-conscious, something I found quite unexpected. At first he was also quite critical of our script until we spun the magic for him. He quickly resolved to our way of thinking.

We got a good chuck of shooting done at night. Picked up from where Jimmy hangs the phone up to our scattering from view in Room 15 following Lance's revelation.

All told, it was a long 13-hour day of film stuff, but spirits were high so it was never a problem. Christian pointed out that he, Brett, and I are gelling very well, playing off each other, and giving great performances on-screen.

Who could ask for more than that?!

Doug's Production Diary 13

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Long day!!

Dan and I got to work on thumbnails for the boys' apartment/waking up scene pretty quickly on. They are, of course, great thanks to Dan. Those took much of the morning, although we did have brunch while Tony worked.

Melissa was around for most of the afternoon but then she went home. I am really looking forward to a day of relax so we can spend time together. I think things will work out smashingly for us, but life is so busy and hectic right now I don't want her to think I'm blowing her off. But I don't think she does: she's really cool and awesome. down to the biz around 7:00 p.m. when everyone involved was ready: Dan as Doug, Jay as post-performance Silver Man, me as director and Tony on camera.

It was fucking awesome!!

We shot it El Mariachi-style even more than we did the other day, to get a lot of great angles. All the shooting from multiple angles this way will help a ton when editing to have a nice flow and it will look like we had more than one camera and spent some time doing this.
I gotta say, Dan looks quite scary and menacing in his costume, and both he and Jay did really great. This scene is gonna rock!

And talk about timing; just as we finished, the sun went down completely and that was a wrap.
One final note on creative innovation: we realized after shooting almost everything that Jay was not wearing a backpack, as he had been earlier. So we re-shot the scene of him entering the alley. In the midst of that, he struggled a bit to get the backpack off and tossed it in Dan's way. Dan came in, paused to step over it, and continued on. It went off okay, and we were all happy that we could come up with this solution to our problem quickly and easily.

Doug's Production Diary 12

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Kind of a "day off" from the movie. We attempted to get hold of Foley for pictures, but it didn't pan out. There was talk of having the night off from Lure, but no. Brett and I did get done early though and tried to reach Foley again but could not.

It's at the point where work (at Lure) is like a day off in that while I'm there it's like a forced break from film stuff. In other words, waiting tables is easy.

Doug's Production Diary 11

Friday, May 27, 2005

Rolled out of bed and checked email for possible rough edit of chase scene: no go! But I did save all our movie stills and Comic Heaven interiors to disc for Tony to drop off to him today. Popped down for coffee and had a great time hanging with Melissa. She told me about a play she went to last night that starred a friend of hers: he was enthralled by her description of our work and passion. Hooray for us! We've got passion. Yeah.

Headed out to do laundry with Dan and we finished up the thumbnails. They are sweet!
Tony stopped by for the disc and to lend the Film Festival Survivor's Guide, which I flipped through. It looks packed with a lot of useful info.

Lots of people at work (customers and employees, even Nick!) are catching the buzz. Cool.

Doug's Production Diary 10

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Brett and I took photos of Comic Heaven interior with his Canon Rebel digital camera. The place has awesome light so shooting will be that much easier. There is a lot of merchandise crowded around the place but I think we can work around it. Now that I think about it, we definitely can! Our intimate knowledge of the layout will come in handy.

I had planned to thumbnail this scene but, as my sketching pen was roughly one inch from the paper, the phone rang.

I thought it might be Melissa, but was Lure.
I had to work!! :(

Work was easy, and Dan and I stayed up pretty late doing thumbnails (well...he drew them. I helped visualize). They are awesome and I can already see that they will be a huge aid in shooting.

And then...we passed out watching Fellowship of the Ring. I seem to recall hearing Gandalf say "friend" in Elvish, then darkness...

Doug's Production Diary 09

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Talked to Tony about my hand-talking. He said it's cool - that's my thing. Works for me! Still going to work on my acting - I've got tons of room for improvement, of course. Shoot is all set for tonight...

...And it was totally awesome!

We tried to start off with the back-alley murder scene, but it was too dark and Tony's sun gun died quickly so we couldn't get that done. So we're going to have to wait and do it more early evening when it's a bit lighter, and then darken it up a bit digitally.

But! We did shoot our "classic suspenseful chase" down Erie Street.

This shoot was fantastic! I got to be behind the scenes the whole time and it was a blast. Really got into directing. By the way, Jay takes direction like a champ. And with a brief coaching, he delivered his lines flawlessly during a pre-shoot rehearsal. Can't wait till we shoot the actual killing scene. It will be tight.

As for what we did shoot? Man! I look forward with great anticipation to seeing it....well....really look forward to editing. It's only 30 seconds of time roughly, but we shot some extremely killer looking angles which will edit together VERY well.

Jay looks incredible on film, with his costume and facial expressions and especially his body movements.

Dan, in his Killer's Garb, came across very menacing and threatening. Neither he nor I could get to sleep, we were so jazzed.

Melissa was really blown away by every one's dedication and efforts. Nice ego boost. She wishes us all the best of luck.

Dan told me Brett and she were hiding just off camera taunting Dan. Apparently, on his third take Dan would be beaned in the head by a hacky sack courtesy of Brett.

He nailed everything in two takes, so no projectiles.

Brett and Melissa were also excited that they could say "we were there!" hiding just out of view.
If each shoot gets better and easier as they already have, this is going to be a snap.
Dan's thumbnail gallery was immeasurably useful for guiding us through the shoot. If we could have that every time? No problem, dude!

Doug's Production Diary 08

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Dan storyboarded out Silver Man's murder scene. It is spectacular! Dan knows his stuff. That scene will be great. They're doing road work on Erie Street at night which we think will add a nifty element to our scene, with the sounds and work lights lending a suspenseful air to the shoot.

Tony sent some more rough cuts, this time with me and Dan Harvey in them. It was really weird seeing myself on screen; of course I think I did terrible, but everyone said no way. I talk with my hands a lot - hope it's not too distracting. Got to work on that.

Acquiring poncho and axe was no problem. Dan and I shined it up with sandpaper so it looks used but cool nonetheless. Melissa took me to see Star Wars III...I wanted it to be cool but, sadly, it was not. But that's a whole different animal - we're talking Bad Service here! I was worried for a moment though, during the trailers, that I'd see a trailer for something like Bad Service: that would suck balls! But, no - whew!

Talked with Tony. I guess our Wishes' Well audio is pretty bad, but no big deal - we can re-record later in more sound-proof locale. Thank goodness!
Everything is set for tomorrow night's murder scene shoot at 10:00 p.m. That will really jazz people to see - every little bit galvanizes cast and crew more and more.
We're really doing it, and it feels incredible.

Look out Hollywood!

Doug's Production Diary 07

Monday, May 23, 2005

As I guessed correctly, Tony threw a little edited scene our way. It shows Dolly's car come around, her enter, give her spiel at the counter and move on. The sound is bad, and I can think of a few different cuts, but, overall, really cool to see our first scene!

Work tonight was really fun, because Giovanna was telling everyone how much fun shooting is and getting them excited. She's great. This film is giving me an even deeper appreciation for my friends and co-workers, and vice-versa. So that's good.

I showed off our "Daily Quiff" newspaper and everyone loved it.

Jay was very stoked- I told him to wait until he's on film then he'll really see how cool it is. I think he's going to be our "Jason Mewes" in that he's willing to do just about anything. He and Gio went out for a few drinks and he told me how she was going on about her excitement and really talking the project up.

I laid down our tagline for Brian (about Gratuity...) he loved it and said it was very funny and clever. Ginchy!!

Jay came over to see our footage. I've been telling people "okay, now the sound is bad and this is very rough and..." before they cut me off with "Sweet!". Even rough stuff is impressing the hell out of folks.

Jay wants to get to work right away, so we're going to shoot his murder scene Wednesday night. Gotta go get an axe and a poncho.

Full-steam ahead!

Doug's Production Diary 06

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Alarm went off at 4:20am and: shot out of bed, totally energized. Got down to 'Bica at 5:00am- no one around in this ghost town so I rehearsed my lines before anyone else arrived.

By 6am our cast and crew were on set. My taut rope idea worked perfectly for Wishes' office area. This was the first scene we did inside.

The very first stuff we did was Dolly pulling her car around and stomping around inside. Took about 5 takes of each sequence: it looks incredible.

Then the acting began.

Dan Harvey blew us away with his portrayal of Wishes!

From my perspective, I really felt like a director: Running around checking camera angles, pep talking actors and crew, costume change coordinating, coming up with creative solutions on the fly--I love it all!

Our shoot went until noon, and everyone was exhausted but totally psyched. Mostly just did Harvey and Giovanna, both of whom looked and sounded great.

Brett, Tony, Dan and I had lunch together and then all fell asleep watching dailies, which were also sweet.

Watching the difference between out-takes and the transformation into character was amazing.

All in all, the best day of my life.

I can't wait to keep going!!