Saturday, April 15, 2006

"Hero Alley" principal photography - day 1

The first day of principal photography is officially “in the can.” For all you non-filmmakers out there, “in the can” is a GOOD thing. Since we’re shooting this digitally (not on film) a more literal translation is “in the cassette box.”

I want to start this post by reiterating what a great cast we have. Everyone did an amazing job. Nods and smiles were exchanged between the crew during takes as we enjoyed the various actions that each of the actors brought to their character. It’s been extremely fun watching these actors take Chris’ words and turn them into living, breathing characters. What a treat.

So, the day started at 3:30am. Which is early. Real early. I actually popped in at about 3:20 and Chris and Courtney were already there getting muffins, cookies, rolls and drinks all laid out for the cast and crew. It’s always nice to have stuff to snack on between scenes and they put a very nice spread together. Bob and Lou showed up shortly after me with all of the video/audio gear and Chris’ brothers showed up to help with all of the grunt work. We had a great crew that really banded together well setting up each shot and making sure everything was lit correctly and that the audio and video were all taken care of properly.

So the big question, did they “make the day” which is another filmmaking term which basically means did they get all of the shots that were planned. Anyone that’s shot movies knows that a few pages a day are about maximum for cast/crew. We had fourteen pages to shoot, and we were shooting from 3:30am until noon. Pretty aggressive plan, but I will tell you that yes, we were able to get everything we wanted, and we actually snuck in a few extra close-ups here and there. I owe this to a great plan, a great crew, and great actors that showed up prepared and ready to go. We had minimal issues* so I’m calling it a huge success.

A special thank you to Scott from Kelley’s Hilltop Lanes right here in beautiful midtown Omaha for giving us this great location to shoot and for having the areas that we were shooting in ready to go when we got there.

*Okay, let’s talk for a minute about the “minimal issues” that we had. On every film set you run into a few things here and there, but I will tell you that this day went extremely smoothly. The crew will fondly remember the few issues that we had. Like blowing a circuit while lighting a scene. And after getting the circuit back up and rerouting all of the extension cords to a different power source and “living dangerously” on a different circuit, we blew that one too. And you always have the occasional audio issues like air conditioning, ridiculously loud video games and planes flying overhead. Well, we thought of all of those and took steps to prevent them from interfering and did quite well. One thing we didn’t plan for was the world’s loudest maintenance man cleaning the bathroom with the world’s loudest squeaking door and ALL of the sinks and toilets running at once right next to the room that we were shooting in. After duct taping him in another room, we were set to go again. The last issue was one that cracked the whole crew up. During a scene where the camera was facing a door with a translucent window, suddenly a head appeared in the window that didn’t just appear, but pressed itself fully to the window and stayed. This was everyone’s introduction to Chris’ mom. She had just arrived on set and apparently she was trying to listen into the room to see if we were shooting. We were. We cut the scene and opened the door and Chris hung his head as introduced his parents to the cast and crew. Very funny moment.

Alright, that’s all I can think of to write for right now. Again, the project is going well and the cast and crew are doing a great job. Next shooting day is next Sunday at 3:30am. Wish us luck. I should probably go to bed now.


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