Tuesday, March 30, 2010
This is a long one.
The Set General’s lair is the starting point for our brave little convoy, heading up to Wrightwood, where we’ll be spending the day and(and night) shooting in and around town.
But there’s a lot more goin’ on than just driving up to said location. The General has the camera out and begins shooting actors in the van, getting some plates too.
It looks like it’s about to rain at ANY moment. Typical, for this production.
We arrive at the comfy mountain abode of Suzan, Kelly, Zeke, and Dekland Jones. Multitasker Suzan has homemade cinnamon rolls a waitin’. Kelly is gathering gear. Zeke correctly explains how we should shoot the first scene. Dekland is dressed as a space man. Another actor arrives and away we go to the first location.
An ice cream/candy store, where production must keep stopping sos customers can get their treats. The freezers keep making lotsa noise, so we gotsta keep shutting ‘em down. Zeke and Dekland get yet ANOTHER gig, extras, but keep going CRAZY cuz they’re not supposed to be licking their ice cream cones. The camera battery runs dry. The Set General asks for another. The little extra battery has only 15 minutes of juice. Said battery was supposed to be FULLY CHARGED ‘allegedly’.
Lunch at a local pizza place, where some weird local dude keeps bugging us.
Back to the Jones, where big battery immediately goes onto the charger. But not for long, cuz we is off again for mas shooting, only with very little battery power unfortunately. The Set General gets all up in the actors grills, shoot-shoot-shooting all the way to the next location.
Off a dirt road we’re back to fighting sun and battery life, needing to get everything in just 14 minutes of camera time. It’s windy too, windy and COLD... most of the people in this little production ain’t properly prepared for this kinda weather. Yet everything still manages to get done, with extra special attention constantly being paid to how much juice is left on the battery.
An actor splits for home and everyone else squeezes into the van in search of a few good spots to shoot the final establishing shots, with only about 4 minutes of battery power. Back to the usual, fighting weather, sunlight, and battery time. But as per usual, everything some how manages to get done.
After missing a turn or two, we’re back to the Jones, it’s getting dark, an actor slips on a mound of snow, the battery goes back on the charger.
A night scene in the van, which is supposed to be parked some where in LA. only we’re parked on a mountain road in Wrightwood, it’s FREEZING and STARTING TO SNOW. Kelly and the General yank out C-stands, flags, Christmas lights, what ever they can to create a place we’re actually not. The camera gets plugged directly into an outlet. It’s still FREEZING. Not many set ups as little snow flakes fall on the crew’s heads.
Back to the warmth of the Jones mountain home to shoot three short scenes, requiring no coverage. First, a simulated television screen, consisting of the General waving his hand over one of Kelly’s lights. Second, some furniture is moved so it ‘appears’ like we’re in another room. Last, on to the bathroom, getting yet another ‘different’ looking location.
Are we done yet? No
While they’re here. Gotta do some wild lines with the actors...
A looooooong drive home.
Are we done yet? HELL NO!
One of the actors still has to run through some streets that aren’t in a little mountain town.
And so ends seventeen hours of movie making fury.
Friday, March 19, 2010
NO RAIN!!!... Finally!!
Everyone’s back at the Set Generals, once again using two cameras. Camera number two this time belonging to Mr. Kelly Jones, who’s arrived from another gig with lots of movie making goodies. Only thing we don’t have is extra people. Case in point being the other half of the love story Suzan Jones, doing sound, operating a camera, holding a bounce card, and rocking the van ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!!!
Green screen scenes get wrapped and everyone breaks for lunch.
Till we all meet again down town, where much to everyones relief Lord and Lady Deal are waiting.
First up. Reshooting a scene from day 3 where the tone wasn’t quite right. Kelly has broken out even more of his toys, but this has gotta be quick. The location we’re shootin’ at also doubles as an alternative church on weekends. Sos weees gosta be beating all that alternative church traffic. But that’s not our only problem... ain’t gonna be much more sun, leaving very little time to shoot a NEW scene, which hasta now be done with very little coverage.
Audio-less scenes at dusk.
Van gets driven back to the Set Generals, sos da General can get picked up, to:
Drive the van back down town for even more audio-less shooting.
The end of ANOTHER long day/night.
Friday, March 12, 2010
The plan is to meet early at the Set General’s for shooting green screen in the General’s driveway. There’s just one problem:
It’s pouring rain..... POURING RAIN!!!!
Everyone goes from having a call to being on call.
Communication keeps going back and forth.. “is it raining over there?”.... “how about now?”... “how about over there?”
Mid-morning/early afternoon the decision is made to just chance it. Raz is there first, informing everyone that some of the streets around the General’s are now completely flooded. Everyone arrives ready to start shooting. ONLY:
It’s raining again... but not quite as much. So the General and Raz build a ‘rain protector’ for the camera. Raz has brought his too, so we’ll be getting lots more coverage.
The WHOLE Jones family make the one and a half hour drive. Zeke and Dekland push the van to create the ‘illusion’ it’s actually driving. Kelly mans one of the cameras. Suzan does make up, sound, and set photography. Raz is still there manning the other camera. The Set General’s going between DPing, babysitting his daughter, and heating up pizza for lunch.
Shoot, shoot, SHOOT till it’s too dark. Then on to another day.
photos by Suzan Jones
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
First day back after the dreadful down time starts at six in the morning in the lovely hamlet of Palmdale. Everyone meets at a local Burger King, which soon doubles as a production office/make up trailer. Lady Deal has made all us movie banditos maps of todays first location on a deep desert highway. The exact number of cars needed from of our fleet is figured and away we go.
The Set General as per usual picks the spot to stop and shoot, which we do. But there’s a problem.
We need the road to be empty in both directions and THE CARS KEEP A COMIN’. There’s lots of starting, stopping, and WAITING! The only scene where the road doesn’t have to be completely empty is one where one character is pointing a gun at another character. So STILL gotta stop and pretend like we’re just hangin’ each time a car, truck, or SUV goes by. And then:
A STATE TROOPER STARTS DRIVING UP... we’re done... DONE!!!
The General gives the uniformed driver a little ‘dude I know you’re gonna shut us down’ wave. The Trooper waves back and keeps right on driving. COOL!!! We finish up with no more worries. Cept for the worry of time, cuz as per usual... we are behind.
Half the posse wraps, more actors are waiting at a predetermined location, and we have a HARD OUT. So gotta move.
The players for round two all meet up and head over to a location our little production was rained out of three weeks ago. The Set General finds the exact same spot we were last time, and then:
In a moment of inspiration everyone’s favorite General hops a fence, climbs a steep hill with the camera, and gets a super killer establishing shot. We press to the finish line, fighting passing traffic, a pedestrian who looks like Big foot, but mostly TIME. Hard outs suck, but we ain’t got no studio $... now do we.
photos by Suzan Jones