Monday, June 30, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 6, Monday June 30

That’s a wrap. Principal Photography for “Bush Pigs” is officially over. There will be a couple of pick-up shots that will be taken over the next few weeks but the main bulk of the film is complete. Today was the big finale of the film. The huge restaurant scene with all of the extras. Due to work, I wasn’t able to get to the set until 4:00pm today and we wrapped at 8:00pm so I got in on plenty of the action. Upon my arrival it was great to see the set humming as they’d all been working all day. Things were under control and everyone was working well so I just eased into things gently.

We had a whole team of make-up artists creating masks for the final reveal of the film and we got a ton of Red Rock Micro footage in again and the images we got were stunning. Great day. And the best news of all, one of the directors is also the editor, so he’s going to start cutting it together this week. It won’t sit on the shelf near as long as my films.

Huge props to Tops and Christian for pulling off something that I honestly thought couldn’t be done. After reading the script months ago, I told them there was no way. I guess I was wrong. There will be things in this short film that you won’t typically see in short films. It was a lot of work but I think the final product will speak for itself and everyone involved should be very proud. Huge props to Skippy as well acting as the one man crew, and everyone else that worked behind and in front of the camera. Thanks for the great experience.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 5, Sunday June 29

Call time 8:00am, wrap time 7:15pm. I’m getting too old for this.

Weird day. The weather was perfect. Not at all what we’re used to.

So we started the day in a parking lot, rigging car mounts and puttings SUVs on trailers. Fun stuff. It’s always a bit disconcerting putting a $10k camera rig on a car mount and tooling down the highway at 60mph, but we had a lot of safety pieces in place and the gear worked masterfully. Most of the day consisted of driving up and down a stretch of road and getting various shots and angles to and from the hero vehicle. Pretty easy day for an AD. After about seven hours of that nonsense (and more Seinfeld references than you can shake a stick at) we broke location and travelled across town to the local Terror Free Oil station for the remaining shots of the day. The best part of those shots. Dogs. Yeah, two little dogs. Wearing dresses. And diapers. You heard me. And some vomit. Why does every independent film have to have someone vomit?! Granted, it does play a pretty important role in the film (trust me, you’ll have to see it). And it only splashed on our DP once. Sweet. It’s amazing how disgusting cookies, Pringles, a granola bar and Gatorade looks when one is projectiling it out of oneself.

Long day, but a good day. And the best part of shooting today is that it’s the day before tomorrow. And tomorrow is the last day of the shoot. Let’s hear it for tomorrow. Until then…

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 4, Saturday June 28

It wouldn’t be a blog about “Bush Pigs” if I didn’t talk about the weather. So we had a ridiculous non-tornado rip through town and knock the power out of 26,000 homes. One of which was mine. My neighborhood looks like a warzone with felled trees and powerlines everywhere. We had a call time of 8:00am. My power went out at 5:30pm and didn’t come back on until 5:25am. Long night, but we survived.

So we had three significant scenes to shoot today and there were highlights to all three. The first two locations couldn’t have been more perfect unless they were on a backlot. The rooms we used at the Salvation Army hospital had to double for a doctor’s office in Africa, a mental institution in America, and a bathroom at a restaurant, and we were able to find excellent places to shoot all three. The acting (again) was top notch and we got a ton of great footage. Big props of the day go out to Rick for his insane make-up work (wait til you see it) and to the Red Rock Micro again for the insane images.

Excellent cast and crew day and we got a ton of great footage. Highlights: fake vomit, fake feces, fake pig face, fake Africa, fake hoof. Oh, and two dudes bathing naked dude. What a day.

And now it's 1:00am and we've got a 9:00am call. Why do I stay out so late?!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 3, Sunday June 15th

The weather in Nebraska over the last month has been crazy. Day one at the airport was one of the windiest days I remember in a long time. Our original day two had to be moved because of storms and tornadoes. Today’s shoot needed a new location at the last minute due to the basement flooding at the original location. Thanks to Mike for stepping up, we were able to get a new set and the day was saved.

Our shoot was in Blair (about 30 miles north of Omaha) and due to current gas prices, we piled into the “clown car” (sorry Tops) and headed out at 7:30am (only a few people had to ride in the glove box). We ran with a really small crew so the production van and clown car were all that were needed.

Today’s action was just two actors (Lisa and Van) and one scene so it was a pretty easy day. On set by 8:00am, heading home around 12:30. The new location was perfect and most of the time spent was on setting lights and doing some set decoration. The actors were well rehearsed so it was a piece of cake.

Only three more days of shooting. We'll start up again at the end of the month. Stay tuned.

OFF at Benson Days, Saturday June 14th

Thanks to all that came out to see our great line-up of past Omaha Film Festival films and thanks to all that listened to our podcast show #11. More festival news coming soon.

Omaha Film Festival
OFF the EDGE filmmaking

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 2, Friday June 13th

When I initially read the Topler/Champoux script for the short film “Bush Pigs” I had two major concerns. The first of which was the opening scene which takes place in a small African village; a place where relief workers and locals live together in whatever shelter they can manage. Tents are the major source of shelter and we had to somehow create what looked like a large area where people are gathered. The planning of this had been in the works for over a month but I still had my doubts they could pull it off. Those doubts were erased when I pulled onto the set at 6:00 on Friday evening. The location that we picked out ended up being perfect (and much dryer than I expected given the record amounts of rain we’ve experienced over the last month). With a dozen military pup tents, over a half dozen make-shift dome tents, and one incredible hero tent (props Frank), we had the perfect location for our action to take place.

When I arrived Frank was working his chainsaw cutting wood that would later be used in the four campfires that we would build. A lot of the wood washed up from the small creek that two days before was completely out of its banks and blocked the entrance to the area where our set was located. There was a small army of volunteers on hand that were helping move wood and creating the look of the village. I did a quick tour with the directors and Neva (set decorator) to look at all of the shots we had planned and I knew we were in great shape to have a really good looking opening sequence.

When the camera showed up we started building the crane and placing all of the lights. We needed to create a moon for our general lighting scheme so we had a huge light that we gelled and placed on our highest stand. Since we were out in the country, we had no AC power so everything had to be run off of a generator so we placed that away from the action (for sound reasons) and ran about a half mile of stingers that needed to power the entire village. Make-up was another fun project as we needed to make two of our actors look like they were almost dead. Props to our make-up gang for again doing a great job.

After the camera and lighting were all set, all we needed were Africans and nightfall. Topler had made contact with someone that found us nine Sudanese folks so Julie took the van to pick them up and when they arrived, we had the perfect set of extras to populate our village. One of my favorite comments of the evening was when one of them mentioned that our set “looked just like Darfur.” High praise indeed and I couldn’t help but smile.

As the sun set, we started lighting the fires and working through the action that we’d need when it got dark enough to shoot. By the time we were able to get our first shots, the action went pretty smoothly and we were able to get a great look. It didn’t take us long shooting all of the exteriors once everything was set and all of our extras did fantastic and we moved well from shot to shot. The tents, the fires, the lighting, the extras… very cool.

After getting all we needed outside we sent Julie and the van full of extras away and we moved inside our main tent to get the close-ups and follow the action of our two main actors, Matt Harwell and Ben Chrystak. The interior of the tent was absolutely perfect (thanks to Frank’s excellent construction and Neva’s excellent setup) and we ended up getting some of the coolest shots using the Red Rock Micro system. The performances by Matt and Ben were excellent and Robbie did a fabulous job of moving the camera. I’m really looking forward to seeing all of these shots in the film.

The last shots of the evening involved more crane work, a Jeep as a prop and one of the best actors I’ve ever worked with. That’s right, I played a small role in the film. I believe my character’s name was “Driver.” You know it’s an important role when the character doesn’t have an actual name, just their action in the script. And the good news, my character is a smoker and the main action is him lighting a cigarette. So having never smoked in my life, I spent the next hour plus lighting and smoking cigarettes. I am now the proud owner of a brand new habit. Kidding. There was a bottle of water on stand-by the whole time and every once-in-a-while I had to stop and rinse. Ugh. Fun fun.

On the call sheet:
Set call time: 6:00pm, end time 1:30am. Actual end time, 4:30am - ouch

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 2

It's 4:30am and we just wrapped day two of "Bush Pigs" so needless to say, I won't be blogging about it this eveni...errr... morning. I will write about our experiences tomorrow night.

Now I need to get 2 hours of sleep so I can be alert and fresh for the Omaha Film Festival screenings we are having tomorrow at Benson Days. Come out and see us and if I'm nodding off, you have my permission to nudge me (gently please).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

"The HIT" update

Our second festival entry is in the mail. Thanks for all the positive comments. We'll keep our fingers crossed. (thanks Jeremy)

Hopefully we'll have the film 100% completed in the next couple of weeks. Cast/crew screening soon.

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 2

Due to tornadoes and rain, day two has been canceled. Ain't Nebraska weather grand? Stay tuned...we'll get back on track.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bush Pigs – Principal Photography Day 1

Day one is officially in the can. We shot everything that was on the schedule and snuck in a bunch of extra shots as well, so today was a complete success. The plan was to get through three scenes which was about 5 pages and we ended up covering it all.

We shot two exteriors at Tac Air (the private airstrip across from Eppley) and given the fact that we were shooting outside at an airport and we were experiencing 40mph winds (I’m guessing) and there was sporadic cloud coverage all day, I think we did quite well. The coolest part was having access to a private jet that we were able to shoot in and around. It’s always fun seeing how the other half live. The other scenes were in the terminal and it was certainly an easier environment to control.

Hats off to Topler/Champoux Productions on putting a great cast and crew together, props to the crew for doing a bang-up job in spite of the conditions and props to the cast for giving us great performances and making it easy on us.
We’re back at it tomorrow. We’ll be shooting car interiors and exteriors all morning then shooting around the crowds at a busy gas station in the afternoon. Fun fun.

Oh, and no cake for my birthday. Oh well. I did get a nice steak dinner afterward so that was awesome (thanks j).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

“The HIT” edit update

Spent the afternoon/evening with the editor and got a great cut ready for submission to the Austin Film Festival (deadline tomorrow). Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh? The film is painfully close to completion. Stay tuned…hopefully we’ll be having a cast/crew screening sometime in the next 30 days.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

OFF the EDGE filmmaking – show 11

This week Marc and Jeremy announce that the Call for Entries for OFF’09 is officially open. They also talk randomly about film and film festivals and announce the line-up for Benson Days which will be Saturday, June 14th. The OFF will hold feature film screenings from 10:00am until 6:00pm in the Benson Community Center at 60th & Maple.

10:00am - Freeze Out (95 min - Finalist for 2006 Audience Choice)

Noon - Expiration Date (94 min – Jury/Audience Choice Best Film - 2006)

2:00pm - Shimmer (87 min - filmed in NE, screened at the 2006 OFF)

4:00pm – Lobster Tale (95 min - Jury Best Film - 2007)

Marc also talks briefly about the feature film currently shooting in Nebraska in and around Omaha and Plattsmouth. The film April Showers was written and is being directed by Andrew Robinson, writer/director of Shimmer.
April Showers

More info on The HIT and Bush Pigs coming soon.

OFF the EDGE filmmaking
free web page hit counter