Saturday, May 19, 2007

Production Begins!

Production began promptly at 6:30 in A.M. The crew met and setup the equipment in the basement of the Student Union. While unloading equipment, I accidentally rolled over a small nail. The sound of escaping air (a dreaded sound for anyone who uses a wheelchair) hit my ears and informed me that I was screwed. Luckily, I had my sports chair wheels in the car. They don't fit my daily chair very well, but at least they roll.

Our talent arrived at 7:45: Paul and Jake. Jake is related to Jack Kerouac. I went over the shooting schedule with our talent as Jeff (The DP/MD) balanced the steadicam. Melissa and Tanja assisted with the equipment setup, talent wrangling and organization. They also helped retrieve waivers, coffee and sandwhiches.

We started shooting an hour later than planned, which wasn't a huge deal. The workflow went as follows: I went over the proposed shot(s) with Jeff, using storyboards I'd created in advance. Jeff made a couple of practice runs using the steadicam and jib arm, while I coordinated with the talent. Melissa and Tanja turned on the lights and prepared for note-taking. As soon as Jeff and I were confident with the framing, lighting and camera movement, we rolled film. Actually, we didn't really shoot on film. Or video for that matter. All footage was recorded onto portable hard drives, which allowed Jeff and I to immediately review all shots before moving on. Once a shot was successfully captured, Melissa and Tanja jotted notes down on a shot list and turned off the production lights. This was the process throughout the day.

Jake and Paul (our talent) were very patient. Production involves a lot of waiting around.

At 2:00, an onslought of elementary school kids arrived for a day of bowling. Luckily we weren't capturing any sound. All sound will be recorded after-the-fact in a more tightly-controlled environment. The kids didn't really interfere with the production, although Melissa had to step in and do some crowd control.

The shoot wrapped at 4:45, putting us 3 and 1/2 hours behind schedule. Not bad considering Coppola's shooting schedule on Apocalypse Now. Overall, everything went really well. After puncturing my tire, I thought the bad luck would continue. Luckily, no one crossed paths with black cats or crows. It's nice to finally have footage in the can. A relief. Our next shoot is bowling and hopefully we'll encounter the same good fortune.

It was a pleasure working with everyone, especially Paul and Jake. I really hope they like the finished product.

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