Our Monday Morning Cut
Hello everybody! Happy Monday Morning once again. No video blog today. Instead here’s the final cut of our little four-day short film.
Four days due to scheduling; Francesca just started a play, Stephen has work every day but Sunday, and like any kid Aaliyah goes to grammar school. Sean somehow managed to pull all the elements together two days before shooting; prior to that, we were in doubt as to whether or not we’d even have a script to shoot with.
Hmm. About that diner/cafe scene. We had a place picked out beforehand, a real diner-type place, indoors and everything. The owner gave us permission, shrugged that Sunday afternoons were usually quiet. Good for audio. But we scheduled the shoot on Superbowl Sunday. At 12:30 on the afternoon of the shoot (when we guesstimated the sun would be just right), to our horror the place was packed. Stuffed. It was like trying to shoot a scene in a sardine can, if sardines could shout and laugh.
The five of us—Stephen, Francesca, Sean, Anna, and I—loitered the parking lot and brainstormed another location. We did have a hotel plaza set aside, but that felt too uncertain. So when Anna suggested her college, off we went. If anybody asked, we were making a student film. An hour-and-a-half later we started shooting. The sun had moved and we were well behind schedule. Here’s where those HMIs, or some variety of 1,000+ watt lights, would have come in handy…if we had them.
Sean and I started with the great idea of employing high wattage lights to balance out the contrast of natural sunlight, which got me real excited. Then we found out they were too costly to rent. So we used one reflector when we could; but with Sean operating the Merlin and me doing everything else, it was a question of who would be available to hold the darn thing. This is the Achille’s Heel of a two-man crew.
The satisfactory shots are the ones where we exerted the most control. The least satisfactory shots were done guerrilla style. That’s not a strike against the style, but when mixed with shots that feel more “designed” it tends look inconsistent. The alternative would have been to shoot everything in a Paul Greengrass/shallow depth-of-field style (bokake meets Bourne Ultimatum-type montage editing) and grade the colors into a processed, oversaturated look—which is fine and adapts well to guerrilla shooting. But I really wanted that minimal, all-natural appearance.
All said and done, I think we did a solid job under the limitations. Quite a miniature learning experience for one week. Hope you all enjoy the final cut, and well, I’m looking forward to our next project…whatever that may be.