Hey everyone. Here's the rundown of what happened last weekend, during my latest 24 hour Film Race shoot. I'll spare you the suspense and tell you we did get our submission in on time (with time to spare no less!) I apologize for the lack of pictures below. I was wearing many different hats this time, so I wasn't able to snap any. You'll just have to use your imagination, until I can post the vid. Okay, here we go.
9:45pm - I get to Darrin & Harmonie's place, which will serve as our home base. Schwartz and Terence show up shortly after. We boot up the computer to get ready for the email that will give us the parameters for our short. Harmonie got a location release to use her office building, so whatever we do, we'll try and incorporate that.
10:00pm - Our assignment arrives. The theme is 'Happily Ever After' and the surprise element is 'Chocolate'. We start throwing ideas out, though it's a little tough as Schwartz & I have minds that aren't really wired for Happily Ever After. We also have to remember that we only have two actors; Harmonie & myself.
10:15pm - Schwartz comes up with a very Henenlotter-ish idea, centered around this fake leg prop that he's brought with him, so now everyone is fixated on the fake leg. It kind of reminds me of last year when Schwartz reaalllly wanted to use his dog, Boo. No psychics involved this time though, he just wants the use the leg. Considering Harmonie & I are the ones that have to be in front of the camera, we're not sold on it.
11:00pm - We've got the 'leg' idea as a backup, but we're still trying to come up with something else - anything else.
12:00am - So, we're going with the 'leg' idea? This is what's happening?
I've heard the term 'break a leg', but this is ridiculous!
1:30am - Before I start to write, Harmonie & I kind of veto the leg idea. I don't think she's real comfortable with the subject matter and I'm ansy about pulling off the inevitable special effects needed. Harmonie comes up with a 'nugget' and I run with it. Schwartz vows that he will one day film a short starring his severed limb! Everyone retires, while I stay up to write the script.
3:00am - The script is done! It's four pages, which is a perfect size. It's funny though, no matter what the length - Snip was two-and-a-half pages, and The Mountebank was six - they always seem to end up coming in at just under four minutes of screen time. Now I just hope my pages aren't shite. With nobody awake to show it to, there's no turning back.
3:45am - I finish up a quick shot list and then hit the hay. Usually my job is done now, but this year I have to act, so I should really get as much sleep as possible. I don't want to look like a zombie on camera, not this time anyway.
8:00am - I get up, do a prop list and get copies of the script printed off for everyone.
9:00am - Oh yeah, possible snag. The short requires a third person that we don't actually have. Darrin gets on the phone to a friend of his and somehow manages to find Samantha, who is miraculously free on a Saturday afternoon. Crisis averted!
10:00am - We are all ready to head to the location, which is about twenty minutes away.
10:30am - The location is gorgeous, a nice open-concept office layout, with three desks placed perfectly for the scene. Adrian, our last crew member shows up and we get to work. We don't have to do much dressing, just set up the lights and camera.
12:00pm - One of the company's bigwigs shows up with his kids. We all hold our breath. He's just there to grab something and wishes us luck before leaving. Aaannnnd... exhale.
12:15pm - The first shot is complete. Yeaaaah, probably should have started earlier. I think we've got about fifty shots to do, so I see a lot of them being combined as the afternoon progresses. The humming from the computer servers in the next room is killing our sound, so we're going to have to put a lot of music in to mask it. I think Darrin is already intending to cut in some of NIN's Ghosts. Good thing it's public domain. Thanks Trent!
1:00pm - We are moving at a good clip. Even though the script is four pages, it is only three tiny scenes. There's no minimum length requirement, so whatever.
2:00pm - Lunch time! Rule #1; always feed your actors!
3:15pm - We're still plugging along, over halfway at this point. I'm a bit worried about the two f/x shots at the end of the shoot, as we really won't have time to do many takes.
4:15pm - The first f/x shot is locked. We're reaaaallllly behind.
5:00pm - The second f/x shot goes okay. We power through a few takes, making as little a mess as possible.
5:15pm - We decide to do our last shot in the alleyway beside our location. Passersby look confused, as all they see are two people walking with bloodied hands. Filmmaking is fun!
5:40pm - Picture is wrapped. Darrin has taken all the footage to start editing. We are behind the pace of last year, but at least we were capturing throughout the day. I'm still not panicking because I know what Darrin is capable of. The rest of us clean up and put everything back as it was.
6:30pm - Harmonie & I get back to home base. Darrin is hard at work. We track down a copy of Ghosts for him to use. Schwartz and Terence are coming back in a few hours, where hopefully there will be a rough cut to look at.
8:15pm - The guys arrive and we wait patiently as Darrin needs another twenty to finish up. Things are getting tight. What would a film race be, without taking it right to the wire?
8:45pm - Darrin shows us what he's come up with. What a guy. It looks great and cuts together way better than I would have ever expected. Schwartz & I point out some missed shots and Darrin goes about inserting them, while we scramble to get all the necessary paperwork together.
9:15pm - Now, this is the part that blew me away. Probably the most stressful time in a Film Race shoot is when you are transferring your film onto a disc. Many a team have been brought down (including ours in 2008) by glitches and the time it takes to do this. At this point, I thought we were fucked because in previous years, this process has taken twenty minutes, if not longer. However, with Darrin's souped-up rig, he had two copies of 'J Plus K' burned almost instantaneously!
9:30pm - Harmonie drives me to the drop-off point, which is fortunately only fifteen minutes away.
Ye Olde Finish Line!
9:40pm - Darrin calls us while en route to let me know there's a piece of info missing on our disc case - the running time, which is three minutes and fifty-three seconds. You see? Same length everytime! I take care of it.
9:45pm - I drop off our submission. I mention that our team did Snip last year and get tons of positive feedback from the organizers. It looks like Boo made quite an impression. Let's hope J Plus K is to their liking, as well.
10:15pm - I grab some dinner at home base before heading home. Darrin, Harmonie & I watch J Plus K one more time. Of course all of its imperfections are glaring now that it's been submitted, but it is what it is.
11:00pm - I head home, stopping on the way to drop off the camera equipment we borrowed for the day.
12:00am - I arrive back at my place. Exhausted. I spoil myself by turning on the air conditioning. Time for bed.
Hopefully, the audience gets a kick out of J Plus K on Thursday. Even though we were knee-capped by the whole 'happily ever after' thing, we still managed to make it violent as all hell. I will say that the idea of seeing myself on the big screen at The Bloor is a little surreal though. There's no question that it looks great and the music adds a lot, as well. I'll be sure to update you on how the screening goes.