Phase II: Shooting A Movie (Saturday 8AM to Sunday 1AM)
“I’m up! I’m up! Leaving now!” was my 8AM text, after a 2 hour nap, to the Fog Belt Saturday morning. Chris, our editor, had spent the night on my rather comfortable sofa. He and I set out together to the movie set. Our assistant director, Kevin, secured a sweet location for us: a lovely, recently remodeled 1940s condo on Liberty Heights.
Our directory Cory showed up with the shot list formulated in his head. We filmed the first scene that way, then broke for lunch. During lunch, I prepared a shot list for the remaining scenes and we went about it with improved precision and organization. Light flooded the largely unfurnished condominium, which made for an excellent set. Many thanks to the producers and Assistant Director Kevin Wooley for location scouting.
After lunch, while we worked the rest of the shooting, Chris got immediately and diligently to work on his laptop, editing the footage we’d already captured, and dazzled us with the progress he’d made by early afternoon.
Our leading man, Mat, was a pleasure to work with. A studied actor with experience in the film industry, he knew how to relate to the camera. Plus, he’s built like an underwear model, so we had choice, camera-friendly eye candy. And when it came time for him to emote, we were delighted with his compelling screen presence.
By early evening, we caravaned the production unit to our second location for shooting the opening and closing scenes, hauling along with us all of the gear and materials we needed – costumes, lighting, camera, lenses, microphones, etc. We broke for a fun, engaging, group dinner at Greenburger’s, on Haight Street. We even talked about the next movie we want to make, a comedy. (The onus is on me to provide the script and I’ve already started.)
Being on a movie set is a strange experience, where time flows alternately very slow then very fast. A lot of organization and planning goes in to each shot, so the cast and crew find themselves spending a lot of time waiting around. But suddenly, when it’s time for action, everyone has an extraordinary amount of work to do for 15 to 30 minutes, followed by an hour or so of staging and waiting. It was quite a learning experience for me, especially to be working with others who had helped make films before.
By midnight, we were back at the original location, we shot the last few takes we needed for the night scene. Our key grip and stunt double, Eric, needed yet another costume to distinguish his part from the other scenes, and we decided what I was wearing would do the trick. So by the end of the night, I was standing behind the camera man, a script and shotlist marked up with notes in my hands, dressed in my boxers and Eric’s t-shirt, while Eric was frozen in place, dressed in my outfit, for the last few takes opposite Mat.
At 1AM, the director finally announced “That’s a wrap!” and we all hooted and hollered at the close of a long day’s work and a job well done. After the cheering, in the contented lull of silence that followed, my first words were:
“May I please have my pants back now?”
And we all shared the elated laughter of relief. We had done it! The movie was shot! We were on schedule! Now the post-production work could really begin. I changed back into my own clothes and headed back to my place with our editor Chris. As the script supervisor, I had all of the notes that would help him organize the shots he needed. We were in for a long night, but we were ready to rumble.
Tune in next time to learn about sci-fi post-production, racing the clock, and getting a link to watch “As Long As You’re Still Out There” online!
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