We are in the midst of shooting a music video that contains two parts; the artist performance and a series of story vignettes that are peppered throughout using some of Portland's best actors. We just got finished shooting the latter.

Most of the shots were exteriors so we were keeping a close eye on the weather for weeks. As the shooting schedule drew near, the news from weather.com was not encouraging. Rain was predicted for both of our shooting days. We knew this was going to be a challenge not only for the comfort of our actors but the continuity of each shot and for trying to keep the camera equipment dry.

Our first scene of the day was set in a local park. We arose at the crack of dawn and when we arrived it was still dark… but at least there was no rain. Glenn and I dragged the equipment from our truck and set everything up. As the first glimmer of light emerged, our actors began to arrive. Tara, my daughter is one of the main characters and she had traveled with us, preferring to stay in the warmth of the truck until she was needed.

It was one of those mornings where it doesn't feel cold but I felt the pain you feel just before frostbite and your hand quite literally falls off. Handling metal in the winter can do that to you. We set everything up and waited for optimal light levels and then we began rolling. Our two young lovers, played by Britt Harris and Katy Beckemeyer were sitting on a park bench while an older woman with a cane, played by Suzanne Owens-Duval, approached them. We ran through the scene a few times and then the rain began to fall. It fell by the bucketful and it would not let up. We used umbrellas to keep the actors dry and kept shooting. Keeping hair dry was the toughest part. Thankfully, everyone stayed positive and we got the footage we needed. We said goodbye to our actors and packed away our soaking wet equipment.

The next location was a bridge about 30 minutes away. The scenes only required Tara so it would be fairly simple. As we sat in the truck with Tara sandwiched between me and Glenn, we thought about postponing that location until the next day. Being wet and cold didn't help and I almost agreed but I gathered all the strength I could muster and said “nope, let's shoot it because we won't have time tomorrow.” The weather forecast indicated that the driving rain would continue so it was time to just suck it up. We headed for the next destination post haste.

People sometimes ask me how I'm able to capture this shot or that shot and the answer is usually 95% perspiration, 2% inspiration and 3% dumb luck. Really, when it comes down to it, you need to be ready to work long hard hours to get consistently good shots.

When we reached the bridge, we used the rain to our advantage, getting nice reflection shots in the puddles and availing of the wonderful light that acted as a giant softbox. Tara was a real trooper and did the same moves over and over again until it was just right. Happy that we had not given up on this location, we packed up the truck and grabbed a sandwich before continuing on to the third and final location of the day.

Friends Dill and Nicholas generously allowed us to use their house for some interior shots and, as we pulled up to their place in the early afternoon, the rain continued to mock us. We unloaded the truck once again and dragged all our stuff into the hallway. Nicholas was a great help grabbing anything he could get his hands on and lightening our load. The food had given us some extra energy and the adrenaline of preparing for the shoot helped keep us focussed.

The next scene centered around a couple arguing, played by our very own Glenn Scott Lacey and actress Kim Kenney. Tara had some scenes in her fake bedroom but that would be later. As we were setting up our lights, fake mom was getting to know fake daughter while fake dad continued to unload the truck.

Nothing could be further from the truth because as soon as we began shooting, it was hard for me to believe that this wasn't a real family. I cannot describe the thrill I get from working with great actors. It's a little surreal actually because I feel like an unseen ghost in the midst of a real drama unfolding. I decided to shoot handheld to mimic the frantic energy of the argument and it worked well. Glenn and Kim completely immersed themselves in their roles but there was only so many times they could go at it because it was so emotionally draining.

Next up, we shot some scenes with Tara in the bedroom and then more back downstairs with all three players. At the end of the shoot we were physically and mentally exhausted. Despite a respite in the rainfall earlier, it had picked back up again. I looked outside at the truck and the reflection of the streetlights in the soaked asphalt. I then looked back at the pile of equipment we still had to pack up and I swear I almost cried. It took everything in me to keep going. At this point, we had been running around for nearly 15 hours.

Tomorrow's schedule was much easier although it would still mean shooting outside in the rain. After a great meal and some excellent IPAs (and a soda for Tara), we made it back to Glenn's house. Did we go to bed right away? Hell no, we were ready to look at the footage. I can never truly relax or celebrate a day's work until I've seen the “dailies”. To my relief, everything looked really good and now I was ready to hit the hay and set my alarm for 5:30am.

 

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