Day 1 was long, but Day 2 was rough – perhaps I should say because Day 1 was long Day 2 was rough. To give the cast and crew a little more rest, I bumped the 12:00pm call time back to 1:30. We were scheduled to film the kitchen scenes and all of the exterior apartment scenes, but because of the time crunch, we only got to most of the exterior scenes. I personally had a lot of trouble focusing and making decisions on so little sleep (I got a whopping 3 1/2 hours), so I am crossing my fingers that the footage works out the way I hoped that it would.
Moving into an empty apartment was like being able to start with a blank canvas. While some of the crew unpacked and started to set up, others were making furniture runs (we used our own furniture, of course) and working on assembling the set for production. I decided to eliminate the three kitchen scenes from the day’s schedule because of time and missing one character not yet cast. So while the others were working like busy beavers, I grabbed the DP, Script Supervisor and John and set off to film Charlie’s exterior opening shots. As soon as we finished, it was time to meet the extras on the playground.
The goal was a golden hour shoot on the playground for the final scene of the film. A lovely tree was blocking the sun, so we did not quite get the golden effect I was going for, but when you’re no budget, you take whatever you can get. That’s what post is for, right?
Having extras on set was something I had been looking forward to. It was an opportunity to give friends and family the chance to be a part of what I have been working so hard for the last couple years. Neighbors and co-workers came out, and Judi brought her son Blake to join in as well (Judi has her own cameo in that scene as well). Just another reason I’m so glad my crew is so capable: I had to be able to trust them to do what needed to be done while I wrangled extras. The real challenge came the moment we started filming and I had to juggle it all: watching the cast performances, watching the extras performances, and deciding which angles were working. At some point I just had to let go of it and believe that it was all going to be great no matter what. It’s not the first time I’ve wished it — what I wouldn’t give for a 1st AD!!
Now I know why feature films need every bystander off the set — and mean it. You have to have releases from everyone who appears in your film, and for children that means parents have to sign. Kids from the apartment complex naturally wanted to be in the film, but without a release, all I could offer them was a seat against the fence by the crew watching it all. Thankfully one of my neighbors volunteered to work “security detail” for us!
There is one fairly major error in the last scene — I will not tell you what it was (I wouldn’t want to spoil your fun in finding it), but there is a continuity error that is entirely my fault. Did I mention that I needed a 1st AD?
After golden hour waned, it was time for pizza and set up for the turning point night shoot with Emma. That Laura is something else. Not only is she very talented, but she’s also a hoot to have around. Day 2 was our first day with her, and we learned that what she is used to is comedic acting on the stage at OU. She kept the crew in stitches. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a behind the scenes videographer, but I did make Geoff turn the camera on for a couple of her entertainment spots. To me, the behind the scenes is always as much fun (or more) than the movies themselves.
We wrapped about 11:00pm, and the crew went home for a semi-decent night’s sleep. I, however, began my four store quest to find a Kodak machine that would accept my camera’s SD card for some additional production stills we needed to dress the set with for Day 3. A writer/director/producer’s job never ends.