|Posted by [email protected] on November 13, 2012 at 11:25 AM|
Last weekend we finally got the ball rolling on our newest feature film Fix It In Post. We had a plan, shoot an amazing promo for our film that people will love so much that they will be compelled to donate enough money for us to shoot the feature film. After last weekend I would say that is exactly what our promo will do.
We had already had to reschedule the shoot once due to torrential rain. We were shooting it in Apex, NC on property owned by the proprietor of Bones Bar and Convenience store on Old US-1. Rain and freshly plowed fields do not mix. Well they do actually; they make mud. So we opted not to shoot in what we knew would be a filthy mess since 100% of our scenes would be shot outdoors.
Even with the new dates there was still the threat of possible showers that Sunday. I hoped it would not because that was the day we had scheduled Brett Mullen to DP for us to give that extra professional polish to the promo. So Friday night I was printing up schedules, waivers, and scripts while packing up my gear and cooking two crock pots full of bean and ham soup for lunch the next day. There was a house on the property that we were going to get to use, which had a fully equipped kitchen, and working power. Access to bathrooms alone would be a plus, not to mention getting in out of the cold now and then. It was going to be in the mid 60s during the day but dip down into the 40s at night.
Of course nothing ever goes as you plan it to, and as all filmmakers learn, you either adapt or you quit. I don't quit, even when I probably should. So the next morning we meet in front of "Bones". At that point Bones shows up and tells me that the house has been rented so we would not be able to use it. All I can think is where the heck am I going to plug in my crock-pots? He told us there were some outside outlets in one of the sheds we could use and a water spigot outside for washing up. Bathroom though would only be found at Bones Bar. Then he said good-bye and said he would be back around noon. That's when I realized, no bathrooms until noon, damn!
I sent everyone on to the location with the food and equipment while I waited for extras. The location was fortunately just around the corner so when people did need to use the facilities, when the facilities were open, they wouldn't have to go far. And the extras started to trickle in, some got there way early and some were a few minutes late. In all I believe we got about 20 which was not bad. I explained the situation to each and every one of them and a few opted to make a bathroom run before going to the set, I couldn't blame them. I was wondering how I would be able to make it through the next few hours myself.
One thing I have to say about the people that come out to our shoots, these people have the best attitudes! Here we are in cold, creating a makeshift kitchen outside, no bathrooms and they were all just as happy as they could be, especially once the coffee was ready. And Paul brought donuts. :-)
Our first shot of the day was our cast walking across the field with loot they had just stolen from somewhere, bags of food in their hands, happy at their success, until a horde of hungry humans catches up with them. At one point the Michael is supposed to rip open a bag of skittles and throw them at them and scream, "Eat the rainbow bitches". So apparently the person that donated the skittles for the props didn't realize that this was supposed to be a large bag of skittles and all we had was two small bags which would be seriously underwhelming. So I sent Angela on a Skittles run. This took 3 people, Paul to navigate, Angela to drive, and Alan. I'm not sure why Alan went. Maybe he needed to use the bathroom. While they were gone we rehearsed. So that basically meant everyone got really good at running across the field screaming.
We had a few new people with the group for our shoot. Two cast members who we had never worked with before. Katie Carpenter, playing the lead actress Lexy in the film and Mora Harris, playing Heather the PA. Both were an excellent addition to our group and throughout the weekend we found that they were more than up to the task of working with our band of Adrenalin crazies. ;-)
One of the biggest assets of the weekend was our new crewmember Pamela Smith. She had contacted me about being a script supervisor for the shoot. I thought that sounded like a good idea. It’s always good to have someone keeping the actors on script when they forget their lines. Apparently I had no idea what a real script supervisor does. I was absolutely delighted to find out that she would not only make sure they had their lines but would also: notate any changes made to the script while shooting, take my shot list and notate what shots were made for each take for each actor, where each shot would being and end, keep us on that 180 axis, etc. and so on. It was truly amazing how organized we were with her on hand. We received numerous compliments on how organized we were. That has never happened before!
So we get the skittles and shoot the scene and it all goes pretty much perfectly! At that point it was around noon and the bathrooms were open so I decided to make a run for it. Before I left I told everyone to go ahead and eat lunch. I was worried that since there were a lot less extras that all the soup I’d made would be to waste, so I made a point of telling everyone to please eat it. I was gone 10 minutes. When I got back both crock-pots were empty. Wow, those extras really can eat. Fortunately Bill had brought some bread and sandwich meat too.
Bill is a mystery to me. He is absolutely brilliant but he can’t remember his own phone number half the time and cell phones are a mystery to him. If you ask him about the most obscure horror movie he will know every detail about it. He’s a teacher; he shapes young minds. He forgot half his props at his house, probably sitting on his couch right where he left them. He is also our special FX guy so his props are especially important. On our last feature he was supposed to make a bar of soap out of white chocolate so our actor could chew it up in one scene and not get ill. He forgot. So the actor had to eat real soap and Bill is still living that down. This time the scene called for the actors, including Bill to eat the inside bark of a pine tree. He had meticulously made some fake bark for the actors to eat that was made from coconut. Much better than the real thing I’m sure. It got left behind. They had to eat a real pine tree! That was a funny scene to shoot. It was not hard for the actors to act like they did not like what they were chewing on.
Fortunately he did bring his air compressor and guacamole gun. One of our scenes requires him to get shot in the head so that went off pretty good. We had rednecks with guns, a damsel in distress, long walks back and forth across fields, laughter, and wonderful moments in front of the camera.
One of the highlights I have to say, was our play within the movie. Our actors were putting on a play for the redneck clan that Mama had written. It was an awful play and involved David Jersey dressed in a Wookie costume with a gas mask, Bill balancing precariously on a wooden box with a boom pole and tinfoil flying saucer that he swung back and forth (hitting the actors several times), and an audience of rednecks hooting and hollering while Katie wrapped in a sort of pink toga overacted her heart out. It was great!
The first day was excellent! We boiled some hot dogs for dinner, which went faster than the soup. So fast that a few of our cast members missed out because they were setting up tents and a campfire for our nighttime scenes. We ended up ordering a couple of pizzas, which went equally as fast. I had to grab a few pieces and set them aside so they wouldn’t miss out again!
The nighttime scenes were fun. We got to play with fire! We made real torches, or rather Michael and Kevin made them. They were great as long as you didn’t get too close. I felt some of our actors got a little too close in some shots but it looked great! Charlie, Dave and Dina were perfect rednecks. Dina played Mama, the matriarch of the redneck clan. She did an excellent job.
After that we had the campfire scene, which was on the other side of the field. That is a really dark field to walk across at night. Ted was manning the fire and did a great job illuminating the scene since we could not bring lights out there. We had a generator but there was some concern that the truck might get stuck out there so we did not attempt it. Paul who plays the lighting guy in the film had two LED lights strapped to his head so he spotlighted each person who was talking, which was really even funnier than I had imagined. We wrapped at 9:30pm. Incredibly early for an Adrenalin shoot! We actually got everything done.
Sunday was cold and dreary. I woke around 4pm to thunderstorms and torrential rain. “No!” I thought. “Please go away!” When I woke again at 8pm the rain was gone and the skies were starting to clear. I was very happy. I arrived at 9am and everyone was gathered at Bones Bar chatting cheerfully, ready for another day of shooting. Paul brought donuts. ☺ And Amber brought bagels! ☺ We had a few more extras than the day before but not many. I finally met Don Sill who was filling in for Jaysen Buterin as a filmmaker douchebag. Brett was ready to start DPing and we were off to a wonderful day of shooting.
The first scene was the douchebag scene when they arrived at out spectacular play to heckle our film makers. Jaysen and the Mad Ones were slated to play this in the actual film but were unable to make it for the weekend. So along with Don I had to find a couple of additional douchebags to fill in. The young redheaded girl Kayla, was excited to be in the scene but completely creeped out when I told her she needed to sidle up to Don run her hand over his chest. “He’s like my dad” she said. All in all it turned out pretty good though and the douchebags were suitably douchey, Don especially so.
The next set up was the opening scene for the promo. We had ninjas, and zombies, Stuntman Shane, Katie, and Yance the bagpiper. Michael Goodwin who is one our most loyal extras, worked with the Ninjas to set up some quick shots. The ever amazing Brett, had a jib with monitor so we could do a nice epic shot of the fight taking place. It could not have gone better and when we were done I had no doubt that this would be an amazing promo!
So look for this December 21st. The day the world will end and the day we launch our Indie Go Go Campaign for Fix It In Post. Let’s hope life doesn’t imitate art here. But if it does I’m sure Bill can show us how to eat a tree to survive. ;-)
Categories: On the Set