Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The Set General is feeling much better today. Thank God! We load in, and THEN:
Everyone parked on the street in front of the location gets marked by the parking patrol as per the two hour parking limit. There’s ten hour metered parking across the street, so one of the actors goes to the local laundromat and gets a bunch of quarters.
Superwoman Suzan Jones sets up her computer and starts working of photos, a kitchen is prepped for the first scene, a bedroom starts getting blacked out, the backyard becomes a staging area.
The Real Deal checks everything off and so begins the first set up of the first scene. OR IS IT? The hum of the refrigerator is screwing up the sound and unplugging it becomes a real pain in the ass. Done. We continue blocking, blocking, blocking till the scene feels right. We shoot. We move:
On to the blacked out bedroom, where our seven year old first AD is controlling the lights and wrangling talent. It’s a small space, but the Set General as per usual figures out all the set ups and away we shoot.
Then..... disaster strikes :(
A text comes in - one of the actresses set to work the day after tomorrow has to bail on the movie. SHIT!!! NO time to recast.... OR IS THERE? Looks like superwoman Suzan Jones, who’s already doing about ten jobs, gets another one ACTING. Suzan, you are cast on the spot.
Back to the bedroom another issue rears it’s perplexing head. Do we shoot the last segment like it is in the script? Being in two locations, or just combine everything in the bedroom where we already are? A friendly debate ensues between the Real Deal and the Set General. Deal wants the production value of another set. The location we’re in looks great and doesn’t require much dressing. But the Set General points out how it’s only two lines, will take some time to light, everyone is tired, and we have a 6AM call time tomorrow.... Score one for RD, we decide to shoot in two rooms. THEN:
One of the actors can’t make the 6AM call time.
More discussion and just a bit of panicking... well, more panicking for some than others. The General stoically remains concerned with lighting, we’ll solve that problem later... which we finally do as per the General’s suggestion of deciding to shoot dusk for dawn.
The last shot gets wrapped, and it’s time to tear down, load up, get very little sleep, and begin all this all over again.... and then, something wonderful:
Like an angel from heaven Cousin Nick appears out of thin air to help tear down and load up. Nick’s all business. We get out faster than expected, living to fight another day.
photos by Suzan Jones
Friday, January 22, 2010
Another day of shooting is upon us, and the question on everyone’s mind is “how’s our hero the Real Deal feeling”. The answer? Well, as if he’s made of some kind of indestructible steel the Deal is fully healed and ready to go.
The plan is to shoot four different locations at D$ abode. Deal likes keepin’ it simple like that, so away we go. Staging areas are set up in the kitchen and front deck, the living room starts becoming completely transformed, a big bag of medieval fighting armor is hauled deep up into the mountainous backyard. WHERE:
Up on said hill Yak must figure out how to put on all said medieval fighting armor. The angles up here are weird, the helmut keeps rolling down the hill, but the Set General as per usual figures it all out(even though he still wants to puke)
Next, a scene tweaked so we can take advantage of D$ AMAZING back porch. Can’t buy production value like THIS kids. RD points out a wood carved heart. The General pans up. We shoot the scene. And move on to:
The kitchen, where we shoot our next scene uncomfortably right next to what has become the cast staging area. MEANWHILE Team Deal continues transforming the living room into a game room, complete with a real asteroids machine.
IN AND OUT BURGER
We’re fighting light AGAIN and have to JAM through the last day scene. Blast through night after night scene with our seven and eleven year old boom operators(they have permits). The Set General STILL wants to puke, but luckily finds the herbal cold shot he thought he lost. The transformed living room gets rapped and we move on up to:
The lair of D$ himself, a ‘lair’ that doesn’t need ANY prepping. This is D$’s world, dude just rolls that way. Karbo does a character based on someone the $ed one is VERY familiar with. D$ in stitches.
photos by Suzan Jones
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Today starts with team ‘Deal’ completely transforming super trooper Gina’s abode, inclusive of landscaping the front yard. The real one is under the weather, but continues doing his eighteen plus jobs. Wardrobe is hanging, craft service tent is up, large fake axes are being hung. Almost ready to go.
BUT ARE WE? The person who was supposed to bring the monitor FORGOT. So the Set General unhooks and pulls Gina’s TV, no worries Gina you will get your cable and Xbox back again(we hope)... color’s a bit off, but the General fully knows what the hell he’s doing.
For the first scene an actor steps in to do continuity, specifically for Donny Paradise’s ever changing jaunty hat. The last set up for this particular bit ‘o magic wraps and no one can seem to remember if Donny was wearing glasses way back in the first set up(a long master). The Set General checks. Donny was. So much for continuity. No worries we’ll cut into coverage before we ever see his specks.
At this juncture a large part of the cast has already arrived and people are EVERYWHERE. Suzan Jones is taking funny pictures, Gint is showing Yak how to wield a sword, a smoking area has formed over by the big truck. We’re fighting daylight so have to kick some major ass to finish the last day scene.
GINA BRINGS FOOD!!!!!!
Now, a scene with a cat. Oh boy, over an hour is spent with Gina bribing said kitty with tuna, trying to get him to do what we want, which he finally does... sort of.
Time is no longer on our side(like it’s ever) so the next scene, WITH FIVE PEOPLE, is blocked so it can be done all in one shot. No coverage.
The Set General feels like he’s going to puke :(
Our gang then pushes through night scene after night scene, till:
The martini... with... Wait for it:
ANOTHER CAT AND A KID!!!!! This time it’s Katia’s sweet docile kitty we’re using along with blond wonder Santino. Gotta figure a way to shoot this one sos this particular said kitty doesn’t run away and the Set General still feels like he’s gonna puke. Santino knows his lines cold and with a little direction from the general nails it.
In the beginning the question was asked, "How do we make a kick ass movie on no budget?" Well folks, it thrills me to inform you that we may have figured it out. 'Night of the Alien' rocks! I have seen most of the footage up to this point, and I can safely say that we have ourselves a kick ass movie. Of course, I am getting ahead of myself just a little. Everything has to be put down on a timeline and watched from beginning to end, but from what I can tell so far, we have something really special here. It looks great visually, as in big budget great. The actors are a bunch of scene stealers. Everything is cutting together well. Its total symmetry how this thing has come together. A miracle in the making, which I am very happy to be part of :)
Thank you Almighty Universe! (Now lets finish the f---ker ;)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
It’s 6AM, everyone’s up and ready to go... EVERYONE. Better, cuz there’s a loooong scene to shoot before the Set General flies away to the deep south. Luckily, the set’s still pretty much set from the night before. So away we go, right into:
A strange little interlude where a mentally challenged man/child wakes up, only to discover he can now speak like Richard Burton, emoting woes of his condition, while taking a girl prisoner at gun point. Yes. There’s more sets up than usual, along with a long soliloquy complete with dolly push. The little crew catches fire as do the actors, and we reach our goal of finishing the complicated(for this shoot) scene before the Set General jets away.
Kelly Jones of Kelly and Suzan Jones a love story tags in as DP and Suzan Jones of Kelly and Suzan Jones a love story tags in on boom AND sound. They’re two boys Zeke and Deklin(sp?) tag in too, fanning fog, listening for trains, and holding big white cards. Next up, a scene with Yak, who just flew in himself, to act and do just about every other job on the set.
We begin outside, only to discover there’s a nosy neighbor hanging around, watching us, GETTING IN THE DAMN SHOT. The Real Deal makes his approach, and somehow gets that guy the hell away from us. Thank you Real Deal. But wait, if he wasn’t real deal enough, dude then spends the next half hour following the actors as they walk and talk with one of those big white cards.
Our peppy little production team goes inside, where the camera gets set WAY up on top of a ladder, looking like it’s gonna fall any moment and ruin the whole shoot. But wait. This is Kelly Jones, master rigger, camera ain’t going NOwhere. Block, light, and shoot.
Time to switch sets, of course there isn’t nearly enough lights. So AS USUAL, make due with what we got. Like a tidal wave of gripness all decks on hand start dressing and lighting. The master contains six characters with lots going on. We block, figure out the shot list.... oh shit, guitars and amps need greeking. Back to the scene, or scenes cuz we’re doing several. We blow through, one, two, three scenes. Ultra handy Cousin Nick mans the dolly, Kelly operates, Suzan is booming, the actors are, ah, acting. This last shot requires perfect timing. Seventeen takes later:
Cast and crew all gather round the monitor to watch the magic. There’s laughter and high fives all around. A GREAT WAY TO END ROUND ONE OF SHOOTING!!!
photos by Suzan Jones
photos by Suzan Jones
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Everyone arrives at the set bright and early, including said actor who got his times mixed up yesterday. We start getting ready to go. Only now, can’t find said actors wardrobe. EVERYONE begins frantically looking all over the set for a shirt, pants, and hat. They’re no where. Said actor thinks he might have forgotten them, so wakes his roommate. Not there. WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY?! Everyone keep frantically looking. Nothing. The actor decides to drive back home, where he’s at least got some pants he can wear, and hopefully find the rest of his threads. There’s been no wardrobe person thus far on this shoot. But will be now, ANOTHER job for someone to be saddled with. The actor leaves. Another actor finally finds said actors shirt buried under the pillows in one of the couches. But no hat or pants.
THEN, the Set General approaches with a little problem. Actually, a BIG problem for this little production. Our super pro, amazing, much in demand Set General has been called in for another gig, and is HOPPING ON A PLANE TO ALABAMA TOMORROW! Dude’s gotta take it, gig pays huge. Our General has a little girl to feed and big house to pay off.
Four hours in. Nothing’s been shot, are waiting for an actor to show with his wardrobe, losing our Set General, and don’t know if we can get the mother of all locations back for any more shooting.
Decisions must be made, and made fast. The Real Deal will call the folks who run the location and see if we can change our call time tomorrow from 10:30AM to 6AM, the Set General will work right up to the time of going the airport, half of Kelly and Suzan Jones a love story will take over as DP(Kelly is one, so cool there), and punt on our last day of shooting at the mother of all locations, where we would have been shooting the mother of all scenes. Everyone involved is completely dedicated to finishing this movie. So that’s just how it’s gotta be. We will return!
Said actor arrives(dude is TOTALLY worth it) with hat and pair of pants, and away we go, more focused than ever.
Drude brings Lunch.
Then it’s back to work, where the actors continue getting stronger, we keep bravely fighting sound issues, and work like mad to make up for lost time.
photos by Suzan Jones
photos by Suzan Jones