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!!

Doug's Production Diary 05

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Busy day! Dan and I hit up Wal-Mart for last minute supplies. I thought maybe we can use a taut rope in lieu or curtain rod for Wishes' office. We'll see how that works out.

Again, after work plans fell through- no late night rehearsal or blocking. I am worried.

At work, Brett used his camera to get shots of Jason Turchan (Silver Man) post-axe murder for our newspaper. They look awesome! Ran memory card to Tony for final layout.

Rushing around after a really busy night at Lure: taped off marks at Arabica which I think will be very useful.

Had to jet to Brett's to print our "Daily Quiff" front came out incredible!! Really awesome looking--we just pasted it onto an edition of the Chatter. Jason will be stunned I'm sure.

Brett and Christian slept over so we can all get our early start.

I woke up quite early today so I would be tired and fall asleep easily tonight, which I 1:30 am!!

Tony also mocked up some electronic storyboards with a CAD program that blew our minds.

This is the most cool thing I have ever been involved with.

Doug's Production Diary 04

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Today is my birthday: 28 years old! I can't believe it...well I can, but still! Planned rehearsal / scene breakdowns with Dan Harvey.

Fell through. He said new owners of Arabica are iffy on us being there off-hours, etc. This worried me quite a bit: what if Sunday falls through? That would be terrible!

I went to the 'Bica around close and did some pre-visualization.

Better to have plans than not.

Doug's Production Diary 03

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dan took a ride out to Geneva to check out the arcade. Turns out there's three, but they don't open till Memorial Day, next week.

Brett and I did some "PR" work with Matt, a local sit-arounder. He said story was great and couldn't wait to see it. Neither can I!!

Brett talked to Foley about a Sunday photo shoot. Cool.

Christian and I hashed out Sunday schedule. Looks like this:

  • 6 am. Begin shoot
  • 10am. Break
  • Foley shoot
  • Pick back up and shoot "Home" "Room 15"
  • Maybe Comic Heaven?

Can't wait...this is so fucking awesome!!!

Doug's Production Diary 02

Monday, May 16, 2005

Woken up by phone. It was Christian: he dropped by with coffee and donuts. Awesome! He made a quick call to get his car fixed and dashed off. Gotta do a butt-load of laundry anyway.

Tony emailed me a copy of the game manual for "Amidar." Maybe we can use that somewhere?

John McGuire emailed also: I never wrote what time to meet for rehearsal yesterday. No wonder no one showed! In my defense, it was really late when I wrote that email off to everyone. But I'm not making excuses. Just sayin'.

Doug's Production Diary 01

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Long day. Got up early so Dan and I could help Christian move: Lakewood to Madison, which if you're not familiar with the area is about as far apart as you can get and still be in Northeast Ohio. Just made it to rehearsal that we pre-planned. Brett and Dan Harvey only ones who showed.

Rehearsed Wishes' Well scenes with Dan Harvey. Everyone pretty green, but after a couple reads we had it quite well.

This acting stuff isn't so tough.

Dan Harvey's excitement and dedication shot up a few notches - he's really into the project. We planned a few more rehearsals and get-togethers with him for the coming week.

One week till shooting begins!!