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Monday, October 26, 2009

August 9th, 1999

Getting the shot with the real gun--notice us all cleared from behind the Camera.
This night was hot, and I ran a lot. That's what I remember. And yeah, I remember those annoying kids.

August 9th

Another late day. Most of our schedule is evening shoots, as a result of of the combination of our lead actor's work schedule and the fact that many scenes take place at night.

The shoot was at my girlfriend's parents' house, which was doubling as the place that our lead serial killer has temporarily appropriated.

I got my girlfriend to go down to a neighbor's house--one she doesn't know--and ask if they'll mind if we shoot some film in front of her house. The woman didn't seem to mind. Then I got my girlfriend to go to another neighbor and borrow a dog for the night's scene. Only drawback is that there was this kid that kept saying to me, "My dog's gonna be in the scene tonight". Over and over. Like I don't fuckin' know it, kid.

Dave, Dave and Rick Ganz arrived, and we started to set up. We needed to shoot a scene as Rick watches a man with a dog, then the man with dog walks off. The light was fading fast and we wanted to shoot before it got pitch black.

Didn't happen.

We didn't shoot from inside the house where I'd originally planned it. The dog was excitable and uncooperative. We had to put its owner out of camera range in the direction we wanted it to walk, and sometimes it would just bolt out of its collar. It liked cheese, so we hid some in the bush where we wanted it to go. It didn't work too well.

Kids ran into the scene once, not knowing we were rolling. I was losing patience very fast.
We moved down the street where we would film where Rick kills the man and his dog by shooting them. We had to run extension cord down the road about 800 feet and ended up putting too many lights on one cord.

So I ran another line from the house(the operative word begin “ran”, as I ran back and forth from the house myself no fewer than ten times).

We kept blowing fuses, so we tried hooking them to the house near where we were shooting(without permission). They didn't work. Finally, my girlfriend got permission to let us run cord to the house of someone she knew nearby.

The kids had come down and were pestering the shit out of me. They'd climb in the van, they'd pull extension cords, they were brats of the worst order. I blew my top. I wasn't nice about it all, but I got them out of there. They left crying. I think one of them stole the disc to my light meter.

That's showbiz.

And this is what the shot looked like on film.

We got the scene done and I think it came out nicely, at least the end of it. Hard to tell. The hardest thing about this shoot is not being the one shooting. I'm used to shooting my own footage, and sometimes it makes you feel a bit helpless and uneasy when you don't know exactly what was shot.

We shot a dream sequence later in the night, spewing smoke all over. The wind started blowing, and Gil said to Mun, "Move the smoke machine over there". Mun said, "But the smoke's blowing that way". Deadpan, Gil said back, "Oh, then just sit there." It was funny.

One thing I learned quickly: Indy filmmaking is about compromise. You need to be able to rewrite the script on demand to fit the boundaries that you'll come up against. Running too much footage? Shoot less takes. People talking in places that it's hard to light? Move the location. Can't get the shot you want? Shoot a different one, even if you think it could have been the best shot out of the whole thing.

It's frustrating, but that's pretty much the definition of indy filmmaking, at least as far as I can read it.

I thought I'd record some of the sexual innuendo going on during the shoot, but it's hard to write them all down. Here's a couple:

"I got Off on my hands" --Rick Ganz, referring to bug spray.
"Move it around so I can get the effect" --Dave Gil, referring to moving a Chinese lantern on a boom pole to see the best lighting.

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