A Celluloid Being: Production Part II

Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 7.13.35 PMThis post is a continuation of ‘Production Part I.’ If you haven’t already read it, check it out at http://bit.ly/1yQ1kUp. This post will probably make more sense if you do, but it’s a free country, as they say! 

DAY 1:

When everyone arrived at my house in the afternoon, we immediately started snacking. I sat Ari down and began painting his face, making it look like he had been beaten up. This part of the day was a lot of fun. I could see that I had assembled a great group of people. I had worked with Mimi since Freshman Year, and Gillian since Sophomore, but Ari, who I had just met this school year, also got along with everyone swimmingly.

We then went to my room and the actors got into costume.

Afterward we all went outside with my dad, who took out the minivan from the garage.

We were ready to shoot the first shot.

I wanted to get a dolly shot – a shot that moved backwards as Ari ran forwards down the street. I don’t have the skill or money to use an actual dolly, so I went with a minivan. It’s actually a really simple and easy way to get a really good shot. Gillian and Frances sat in the bucket seats of the van, while my sister stayed on my front steps to take behind-the scenes production pictures. Mimi and I sat on the folded down back seat, looking out of the open hatchback trunk with the Canon T3i on the tripod. We had to wait a bit for the streets to clear, but once I called action there were hardly any interruptions – cars, buses, people on street. This was the most fun shot to shoot. When the wind was whipping my hair back and the camera rolled, it felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I was so relieved that I finally was shooting something that had only existed in my head and on a piece of paper seconds before.

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Once we got that shot, my dad drove the whole crew down to the steps of Saint Philip Elementary and Middle School. We took the sound equipment, Canon T3i, tripod, makeup, and wheelchair. While I reapplied Ari’s makeup, two boys that Mimi and Gillian knew walked up to us. We told them we were shooting a movie, but the conversation felt very awkward. After they left we realized that Mimi had been sitting in the wheelchair the whole time. We had a good laugh at the thought that they probably thought that she was severely injured. Who would know what we were actually going to use the wheelchair for?

Surprise! We used it as another makeshift dolly. Mimi sat in the wheelchair with the tripod and camera as Anya pulled her backwards to get a shot of Ari and Frances walking forwards.

We went a bit overtime at the school so Tyler met us there. After shooting the scene, my mom came to pick us up.

When we got back home, it wasn’t quite dark yet, which we needed for our night scene, so my cast and crew ate dinner – sandwiches. Tyler and I went out to my balcony and set up the lighting, but soon joined the rest of the gang for the meal.

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After filling our bellies, Frances changed into her pajamas (her costume) and headed upstairs to the balcony.

This scene was the hardest to shoot because it contained long lines of dialogue. We started off slow, having to get several takes of the same shot, but as the shoot went on, things picked up and we finished in just over an hour.

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We wrapped for the day and everyone went home.

I fell asleep and it felt damn good.

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DAY 2:

The next day, Ari, Gillian, Mimi, and Glenn came over and we sat around and had a chat. I started applying makeup bruises on Ari and red knuckles on Glenn and finished preparing everything for the shoot at the park. It was soon time to leave and we all piled into the minivan and made our way to Douglass Playground.

We got to the park and chose a plot of field to set our stuff down. Skyler, Kyle, and Jackson showed up a few minutes later and we immediately got to shooting. Skyler had to leave early to make a call time for his show so we shot all of his stuff right away.

The rest of the shoot went smoothly, nothing really that interesting happened.

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I did taste what a fake blood mouth tablet tastes like. It tastes like the opposite of delicious.

I also did quite a foolish thing.

I had a tiny squirt bottle to spray water on my actors to make it look like they were sweating. About fifteen minutes in, I couldn’t find it anywhere. We all searched high and low and could not manage to find it. It was really irritating; we ended up having to flick water on the actors faces to get the same effect. After the shoot ended, and we went back to my house, Gillian found the bottle in her jacket hood. I then remembered that I had placed it there out of convenience when I was pushing her in the wheelchair for one of the shots. I did not tell her I placed it there at the time because I thought I would remember where it was. I guess not. One could say I felt like a dufus.

Gillian consoled me by saying that it made sense that I forgot where I placed the spray bottle. When you’re directing a film, you’re trying to figure several things out all at once, so sometimes things slip out of your mind. Next time I’ll tell people where I place things when I put them down.

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The Aftermath:

I looked at the footage I shot over the weekend and some of it is probably the most beautiful stuff I’ve ever done, which makes me feel pretty proud of myself and my cast and my crew.

I just learned, though, I will probably have to shoot one more extra scene for my film. My teachers think the emotional weight of my film needs an “umph.”

But the weekend of shooting went well. It was stressful, but a lot of fun.

I guess I don’t really have anything else to say.

Until next time,

Maya, A Celluloid Being

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 Words and Photos by Maya Hirota.

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