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Thursday, November 5, 2009

August 13th, 1999

Ah, lasers!

Another hot, humid day. I woke up sick as a dog, coughing up green phlegm and wheezing. Not fun.

We needed to shoot on a bike-trail overpass that crosses a major highway, and I'd had one in mind when I wrote it. The only problem was that there were no main roads anywhere near the actual entrance to the trail.

We stopped on the highway and I climbed the fence, scaled the tree-covered hill, and looked for a way to get to the overpass. Didn’t see an easy way.

I found the closest place we could get to, since we needed sync-sound with this take and don't have a generator. We needed to use the inverter that you plug into your cigarette lighter to get AC power. I had to jump a curb on private property and drive up a hill, but I did. We were on the property of a major mall(Marley Station) and they routinely had security trucks patrolling. I wondered how long it would be before someone came up to question us.

We got a couple of nice shots up on the bridge, but not before Ganz could sneak in a complaint about how hot it was. It must be hotter when you're watching other people carry equipment, because he's always whining while the rest of us are working.


Sure enough, a security guard showed up with the stock question: "What's going on?" I lied to him and told him we were filming a little thing for class. He asked whether we had permission from the mall. I gave him my best innocent expression and said, "This isn't BG&E's property? I called them to ask for permission and they said it was fine as long as there were no crews working on the property".

He bought it. He said no, it was the mall's property and how long did I think it would take? I was gonna say an hour or two, but said, "An hour--" and he gave me a look, so I added "Tops." He nodded okay and took off. If ever there's a job for liars, pencil me in as C.E.O.

There was a shot I wanted of the people on the overpass talking while we get a car's-eye-POV driving under, but we only took one shot at it because it wasn't an easy set-up without walkie-talkies. We honked as we approached, but in major traffic, they didn't hear us until the end.

We returned to the house to shoot the big showdown before the final fight. It went terrible.

The room was too small. I knew that going in, but it really sunk home when you've got three actors trying to interact in ways they're supposed to, but they have to move to get around each other.

Then, every time we try to do sync-sound, we pick up the camera noise. It's very quiet, but when you get in a small room with a shotgun mic, you hear it pretty good. It sounds like a movie projector that's been muffled.

So I try to record everyone's lines, but there's no way this scene is going to come together without some major ADR. Just what I need, more studio time.

The scene runs long, very long. I'm trying to get as much coverage as I can, but rain hits and one of our lights(our brightest) gets blown out. We've got no replacement bulb. Great. It also kind of ruins our continuity for the shot outside that we were going to get, so now that gets pushed back to later.

We ended after shooting for roughly 14 hours. We had a break in the middle, but it's not like we relaxed too much.(I recorded some ambient sound and tried to redo the shooting schedule) We shot four rolls of film, as opposed to our average of about two per day. We're down to eight or nine rolls. It's going to be close.

Tomorrow we shoot late, so I'm going to get some sleep. I need it bad.

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