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!!