How do you know a movie is going to be good?
Is it when you read the script? During rehearsals? While filming the first scenes?
The process of filmmaking is so fluid and dynamic that you can’t ever rest on any one part of it to deliver in the way you expect. Scripts get rewritten and improvisations render them moot. Rehearsals are often tempered warm-ups for the intensity of a real performance. The first scenes on a shoot may be minor or can be wildly changed during the editing process.
You rarely know for sure if a movie is going to be worth watching. You have to depend on hunches and instinct and all the context you’re given, then mix it together in a pot and see if it tastes good.
Today we filmed a key ingredient for that mix – a scene at the turning point of the film when the adventure of the kid astronauts becomes dangerous and potentially deadly. It involved heavy, intense dialogue, a fight between characters, and a reveal that ultimately raises the stakes irreversibly against the protagonists of the film.
So do I know if Assassinaut is going to be good?
All I can say is I like what I’ve seen so far.
Today’s scene in particular has given me a better grasp on the direction of the movie. Watching through my monitor showed me a film with thoughtful, beautiful cinematography supported by great acting and a director who is confident enough to push for more takes until he gets what he needs.
It was the turning point for me from a movie that looks great and has a fun logline, to one that I’m interested in watching.
But with so much to add into the scene later – music, editing, color correction – and the context of other scenes around this scene, I’m working off a limited viewpoint.
The best I can do is keep things in focus and hope it translates into an enjoyable watch on screen, not just on my camera monitor.
Day 6 Wrap Out
• In pre-production, I requested a wireless follow focus mainly for our handheld scenes. So far, it hasn’t been too bad being stuck to the camera. I’ll still take that Preston though – if anybody from production is reading ;)
• I learned how to fully close a combo stand today. Conclusion: I’d make a terrible grip.
• Shooting in the woods makes 10-1 breaks easy to swing, but I was basically attacked by spiders while doing so. I might stick with the Port-O-Potty’s tomorrow.
• Walkaways (where you leave gear packed up at a location) are so awesome. It helps offset our 45 minute commute to set and affords me a few extra minutes of morning breakfast time.
• Our first day this week without any rain! Well, except for a small 5-minute drizzle after wrap…
• Another first today: slow motion. We pumped the RED Dragon up to 120 frames-per-second for a few shots, including one where the actress runs towards camera. I was nervous because any soft focus in high-speed is extremely noticeable since the playback is so slow. Even though it may only take you one second to find focus again, it can seem like an eternity on playback.
• Reflective sunglasses are a bitch to deal with. A lot of flags were set and black cloth hung simply to prevent crew from showing up in an actor’s glasses this morning. Question: If I still end up in the reflection, do I get a cameo credit or am I relegated to an IMDB goof?
• Currently free of ticks, but I got pricked by a cactus several times so nature still wins this round.