This weekend, we began shooting “Trailer: The Movie” and we couldn’t be happier. Regardless of our cinematographer bailing on us (10 hours before we started filming: not professional). Regardless of the cops showing up (After speaking to him, Officer Stone told me: Well, you’re not bothering me any. Carry on.) Regardless the rain on Saturday. Regardless the issues with Adobe Premiere. We spent 23 of the 48 hours on set, I got less than 10 hours total sleep, and I can’t remember being happier. There was a moment, just before we started, when all the extras and crew were gathered around Adam and I (we’re co-directing), all eyes on us, everyone waiting to be told where to go, what to do. Surreal doesn’t begin to describe it. We filmed an m-f’ing RIOT on Saturday. We blocked off a city street. We staged 2 different car-chases. We used real guns and fake blood. We shot a fight scene using a defibrilator. The actors were brilliant, the crew was on top of every detail, the footage looks great. And from what I can tell, everyone had a great time. This was our Action Weekend, so most of the scenes were purely physical: lots of running, fighting, driving, shooting. Lots of guns. Lots of fake blood (maple syrup + chocolate syrup + red food coloring = badass). The extras did a really fine job, and they gave a great texture to everything. It didn’t look polished, it looked messy and accidental and perfect. It’s hard to describe the vibe on the set. It wasn’t strictly serious, but no one really goofed off or screwed around. It had a nice balance of everything. there were times when we’d be really serious and no one really talked between takes. Then, other times, usually involving the fake blood, we could barely keep going we were laughing so hard. We stuck to our schedule very well, even got a few shots done from next weekend, but one of the things I’m most proud of is that we weren’t too rigid. We took our time, got the footage we wanted and then moved on. Most of all, with so many action scenes, you want variation. So the second part of Saturday and much of Sunday was shooting action scenes on the fly. See a location, block a fight or a gun shot, move on. We had the freedom to be inspired by the location and as a result, we got unique and awesome shots.
There’s only one bad part to the whole thing: coming back. Adam and I went to a late dinner Sunday night. Our favorite location and the place much of the script was shaped and discussed: IHOP – where dreams come true. We were talking to our waitress and we ran down how many hours we’d spent shooting. “That sounds awful,” she said. But it wasn’t. Maybe it took explaining to her for us to realize it, but I would so much rather spend 23 hours making a film than 10 hours working anywhere else. It was painful to go back to work today. It itched all over and we both called each other complaining. How do you come back from that? It was impossible to feel motivated. I worked my hours, did my job well, but what a waste it felt. All I could think about was shooting. It’s much different than coming back to work after vacation. You wind down from vacation. It still sucks, but the very idea of vacation has a built-in return to something else. This was different. This was more powerful than vacation. This was purpose, that loaded and overused word. And today wasn’t a let-down, it was a fall from grace. It was a crash.
For now, I’ll have to get through a week of my job in order to go to work (let’s use Definition #7 that the dictionary provides: everything needed, desired, or expected). All I want to do is set up a shot, block a scene, direct actors, discuss the lighting and set design. Readers, I’m in love.