Today was hard and I don’t know why.
It shouldn’t have been since we were shooting only a handful of scenes in one location, but not even those of us who ran from desk jobs to escape to film sets could avoid the drudgery of this Monday.
Maybe it was the still, moist, humid air in the empty warehouse that was the staging area for our “transporter machine.” It hung low to the ground and stuck to our skin. During takes I could feel beads of moisture dripping down my back, unsure if it was sweat or condensation. Between takes, a box fan provided only brief moments of reprieve.
Maybe it was the melancholy of the scene itself. As the kids are suited up and ready to transport into space, they are given a grim warning about the dangers of space travel and forced to accept a fate of death before continuing – all while their parents watch. It was acted brilliantly, but the intensity and dark reality of the dialogue echoed long after the director called cut.
Or maybe it was the sheer amount of small shots that had to be done. Because of the room setup, we shot wildly out of order and, in doing so, it felt like we were never really done with anything for the entire day. There was always another insert, another dolly, another punch-in. Even at the end, there were three separate Abby Singers (the nickname for the second-to-last shot).
Most likely it was all of the above.
We weren’t helped by the weather either which, as soon as we needed to pick up the pace, decided to drench the tin roofs of our set with rain; the rumble of the downpour turning into the pitter-patter of drizzle seemed endless as we tried to shoot what we could without sound being a factor.
Then, as we managed to set up some MOS shots to counter the rain, the water leaked from the ceiling onto a light. The light was moved, but then came the water under the huge warehouse doors, oozing close to the camera cart before some handy production assistants took care of it.
Oh – did I mention a circuit breaker tripped in the first few hours of the day as well?
Yet, amongst all of this, we still managed to keep going, keep churning, keep grinding. The shots didn’t come without their difficulties – whether in teasing the performance or nailing the focus – but they eventually made it into the can (or onto the hard drives).
When the circuit breaker tripped, two generators were set up outside and we kept filming.
When the humidity skyrocketed, we used flags to fan talent, wiped our brows, and we kept filming.
When the rain came, a wet-vac was brought in, buckets of water were tossed, and we kept filming.
We kept going until the sun was back out and the scene was finished – completing the scene with a light gag simulating the transporter whirring that made for a killer martini shot.
On a long shoot like this, not everyday is going to be easy or fun, but the hard days can still be rewarding in their own right, even if it’s simply because you make it to the end.
Somedays, through hell or high water, you have to earn your paycheck.
Day 4 Wrap out
• The day wasn’t made any easier by my relative lack of sleep. I only got 4 hours last night because I made this awesome page that consolidates all of the Assasinaut posts so far and lets you keep track of our progress. Please check it out and share it with others you think would enjoy reading this series!
• As mentioned, we had our first breaker trip of the show, so now you know we’re cooking with gas.
• It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside that our four lead characters wear color-accented spacesuits that perfectly match several colors of camera tape that I have. This should make marking much easier for the 2nd AC!
• Black shading was something I had to keep an eye on today since the location warmed up quick and we were shooting a lot of dark blacks. Even though it’s much faster now than it was in the past, it’s still hard to swing 5 minutes when you’re shooting at the speed we pushed ourselves today.
• I ate so many Jolly Ranchers and lollipops from crafty today that I considered skipping dinner. On a related note, during our long takes I had time to wonder if the guy with a stick coming out of his mouth standing next to the camera (me) is distracting for talent.
• Speaking of talent, the MVP of the day was Vito, the actor playing the kid’s space commander. He kept the intensity up all day and also impressed me with a killer Marlon Brando impression.
Finally, thank you again so much for reading! The feedback on these posts has been amazing and though I’m super tired after wrap every day, that kind of positive energy keeps me motivated to continue writing updates. So please keep reading, sharing, liking, and commenting!