I had many mixed emotions.
On the one hand, I desperately wanted to be back in college where I didn’t have the pressures of paying bills as a freelancer nor the responsibilities that come with adult life. Instead, I had film screenings to attend, film reviews to write, and film textbooks to read.
On the other hand, I was driving down to continue work on a feature film – and getting paid for it. I had gone through college with the explicit goal of preparing myself for a career in filmmaking (or at least having a degree in my back pocket as I pursued my dream of working in the film industry). Did I really want to go backwards when my college self would’ve been giddy with such improvement?
The honest answer is I’d love to go back for the parties, but keep the career and finances I have now!
You can’t have both, though, so as Virginia Tech got smaller in my rear view mirror I felt reassurance in my successes thus far, even if there’s more I hope to achieve.
The director of photography (DP) and I arrived at our motel fairly late surprised to see a lot of the other crew hanging out in the parking lot. There was a pow-wow while some of the rooms deemed not suitable to stay in were cleaned and checked; yeah, it was one of those sketchy motels.
We parked and found key grip “Magic” Mike had been one of the first to arrive and apparently spent his time drinking some “magic” potion involving gin. The room seemed good enough for him and so it was good enough for me, too.
(As a bonus, I ended up with my own room after agreeing and preparing to share one.)
Our motel is about as nice as a college dorm and the atmosphere we rolled up to – crew sharing drinks in the courtyard, loud cackles of laughter, and housing that’s as simple as can be – gave me that taste of remember-when I had reminisced about during the drive.
And since we’re here for two weeks, I’m sure I can relive some of my college party days with the crew. The difference being that now I can afford better beer than Natural Light and don’t have any papers to write about the French New Wave – just an early wrap time and an expectation to kick-ass at my job.
Sand, Water, and Sunshine
Even if I was missing college, it was hard to be upset at working on this movie on this day based on our location. We spent our time on the banks and the sands of the New River, surrounded by the massive cliffs of the Allegheny Mountains and wrapped by a cool breeze coming off the water.
After some logistical trouble in the morning with the gear trailers cost us an hour of shooting time, things went quickly and, again, we got to go home early with some valuable “undertime.” It helped that we only had one scene to shoot.
It gets everywhere – as I’m sure you LA based readers can attest to. The lenses got dirty, the camera accessories needed a good dusting when we left for the day, and I had to pour out my shoes before getting into the car.
Here’s a quick list of ways sand can make your job as an AC a teensy bit tougher:
- It’s harder to level things since whatever is supporting the camera could sink into the sand
- Even if you do get the sticks level, someone may step too close to them and shift the weight
- The sand gets into places you don’t want it like the matte box or on the lenses
- Walking on sand with heavy weight takes more effort
Still, the location was totally worth it. Just look at the pictures below. And it was such a nice day, some of the cast and crew even went for swims during lunch and after wrap.
With a day like today, where the location was amazing, where we got great-looking shots in the can, and where we got to go home early, it was hard to keep missing my time at Virginia Tech. After all, I was getting paid to make a movie and hang out on a beach next to a beautiful river.
Sand be damned, College Evan would be proud.
Day 9 Wrap Out
• Between takes, the kid actors began using my metal T marks as shovels in the sand. One even built a shoddy sandcastle. Luckily, my 2nd AC recovered them after a treasure hunt throughout the sand.
• A personal circle take of mine was one of our actor’s yelling at a goose to “shut the fuck up” while rolling because of how loudly the goose’s honk echoed throughout our area.
• We did a quick OLPF swap in the morning from the low light OLPF to the skin tone OLPF because of how each handles color. Specifically, the low light OLPF has a strong green tint that was significant when we were shooting in the woods. So a location (and weather) with a lot of light gives us the ability to swap to the better-for-color skin tone OLPF. The swap is easy and instructions can be found here. Just make sure you have Torx screwdrivers in your kit.
• Early wraps make me happy, but I have to try not to become complacent in them!
• Money quote from “Magic” Mike when I told my 2nd AC we were shooting at a wide open stop: “Wide open and hoping!”
• If you’re keeping score at home, I am a day behind on posts. So while this is for Day 9 (Monday), we are shooting Day 11 when it goes live (Wednesday). I hope to get caught up soon!