Archive for January, 2013

I’m not sure if my alarm went off but I found myself awake at 5:15am on day two of our shoot. I left Tara to sleep and went upstairs for some breakfast. Glenn was already buzzing around and it made me smile. It’s at times like these that I’m glad our body clocks are sympatico. We both like to wake up and get going at dawn every day. We discussed various shot ideas over coffee and soon Tara joined us for a bite.

Today’s shoot centered around a scene with a homeless man played by actor Dennis Fitzpatrick. We told him to bring his most worn out clothes and we’d use some wet mud on set for an authentic look. The first thing I did when I woke up was look outside to assess the weather. The rain was still pouring down which was both depressing and invigorating in terms of the challenges ahead. The rain might actually enhance the scene given that we were looking for a somewhat derelict and lonely atmosphere so I was trying to keep a positive outlook.

When Dennis arrived I was impressed with his willingness to do whatever it took. We looked through the outfits he brought along and settled upon the most homeless looking mismatched combination. Soon we were on our way to the location. Glenn had found an old wooden structure that he felt was ideal as a homeless abode. The rain continued as we set up our gear. Tara did the wise thing and stayed in the truck until we were ready to do a take.

Shooting anything on a tight budget is an exercise in creative thinking. Having a huge crew and a tool for every job is wonderful but when you are a two-man shooting machine, you have to think on your feet and be in relatively good physical shape. We got quite the work out lifting dolly ladders and tripods and monitors, etc. On the plus side, shooting like this keeps the work fluid and we don’t have to go through a lengthy process to act on a good idea. So even though it was raining hard, we moved quickly and got a great deal of coverage. We managed to get out of there before our actors suffered from exposure.

As previously mentioned, working with great actors is just a treat because, with minimal direction, Dennis was able to convey a depth of sadness and loss that moved both Glenn and me during the actual shoot. This is why we do what we do. This is not working, it’s truly living and experiencing the world.

Glenn, Tara and I continued on to the next location; a diner called On the Way Cafe. We had breakfast here a while back during the shooting of our short film “I Soar” and loved the laid back atmosphere and food. Tom, the owner, is a friendly and kind-hearted man with an infectious smile. When Glenn asked if he would let us use his establishment for a music video, he enthusiatically agreed. He also agreed to starring in the video as himself. We did the scene grip and rip style which was perfect because there were paying customers who, I’m sure, just wanted to eat their food in peace. In fact, we were so stealth, I don’t think half of the people in there were even aware of our presence.

As the daylight began to waine, we drove around the area looking for inspiration and hopping out occasionally to get a quick shot here and there. Tara tolerated us up to a point and then made no bones about the fact that she was done. We headed back to Glenn’s house so she could be unshackled. After Tara was deposited, Glenn and I headed out again to get some final shots and then it was time for me to return to Seattle.

Tara and I packed up my little green Beetle and got on the road. The rain was now cursing my little car on the highway with visibility down to a few feet. It was nerve-racking for both Tara and me as we weaved our way between 40 foot trucks with serious back wash. On a good day I can get back to Seattle in about three hours but on this miserable evening, it took us just over five. Still, we were glad to be home safe and have another great experience under our belt.