Trailer -- day six
Location: Alley outside Michael Caruso's loft, Downtown Los Angeles
So far, our shoot has been primarily shot guerilla-style. But today, we were "official," with all the right permits in place to shoot in the alley. But today, we got a healthy dose of the realities of filmmaking and the fiascos that can be created.
The problem? The alley that we were to shoot in was double permitted by the city. Not only did we have the legal right to be there, but so did Sony Pictures, which was shooting a new Cameron Diaz movie. They weren't shooting on the weekend, so there wasn't any crew around, but they had been nice enough to use the alley as a storage area for something that looked like scaffolding, a big black tarp hanging from the wall, a water truck, and a large generator. As you can imagine, this caused immediate problems with our shoot. We didn't have the option of moving any of their stuff, not only because of liability concerns, but because Sony had hired its own security that would have prevented us from even trying.
Michael Caruso coordinated with Barb to get in contact with the Location Manager for Sony's film. The call didn't go quite as well as we had hoped, but she did give "permission" for us to park Kelly's All-In-One-Truck, which was one of the biggest problems we were having (security wouldn't let him in when he arrived at 9am to set up). Legally, we had every right to be there, but rather than bring the police down to show them that we had the proper permits, Michael was able to smooth over the woman and work out an arrangement. That being said, if this had been reversed, whether Starway was the upstart company it is now or if it was a big ass production company, we would have sent someone down to move the stuff. It wouldn't have been more than an hour of work, if that, although I'm sure Sunday overtime pay was a consideration. But I doubt too many of Sony's personnel know what it's like to be personally invested in an upstart company.
After that fiasco had been handled, the shoot seemed to go really well. We had Kelly and his lighting truck again, which meant that we also had the jib, and of course, we got off some amazing shots. As it turned out, Sony's equipment could pass (especially in the short cuts of a trailer) as construction on one of the buildings.
We had the most actors on set that we've had at any given time. We had probably a dozen or so actors in addition to Sean and Dorien... police officers, a witness giving a statement, rubberneckers, crime scene investigators, and a real undercover car. Everyone was there
as activity for the investigation of a girl's dead body. We shot some very cool action and I even got to boom for the first time. I might as well enjoy it while I can since I won't be able to that kind of stuff once we go union.
Lunch was, once again, from the Pitfire Grill, and there was plenty of food to go around. We took a long lunch break to allow the sun to go down, but even before that, Rob was back in the alley preparing for the next shot. That's when Tanner removed the camera and noticed how cool it looked for the camera to be pointed up with
both sides of the alley framing the darkening sky. Jay (Caleb) was immediately called and Rob picked up a cool attack shot. Kudos to Tanner for coming up with that angle.
Just before lunch, my friend Adam stopped by to watch us film. He showed up just in time to see one of our fantastic jib (camera crane)shots. I wanted him to meet Michael Caruso, but Michael was in "mock-diva" mode (you really have to experience this to know the true meaning) and was too busy taking care of various aspects of the production. I'll have to invite Adam to our premiere so that he can meet the real Michael.
Back to the jib ... as I said, it was fantastic. We couldn't get the camera quite as far into the alley as we had hoped (gracias, Sony), but it still looked great. My favorite shot of the day was an overhead shot that spins while it moves down to Devi's face from above. This is another of those shots that separates this production from others and makes the trailer look like it's cut from a full feature film rather than a tool to finance a feature.
I wonder if I'll ever write a movie where at least one person doesn't get beat to hell. In Shadow Falls, it was Ellie for the girl in the beginning. For this one, it's Donovan's sister, Devi. Devi is played by Alexandra Boylan, who played Jenn in Shadow Falls. Once I have some pictures up from that day, you'll see just how screwed up she looks ... her eye swollen shut, cuts on her face, ripped clothes, and our favorite set dressing ... blood. The look was equally gorgeous and hideous.
Alexandra was a trooper. Sure, she had already been lying on the ground on a plastic trash bag for about an hour while being poked and prodded, not to mention the camera hanging right above her. But this time, she took punches from Caleb, fell onto the hard ground, spit blood. All in a day's work for a Starway actress. Alexis from Shadow Falls can attest to that.
But Alexandra was not completely helpless. She does get to fight back in the form of a (coined by Rob) PK burst (psychokinetic burst). This will prove to be visually stunning once it's gone through all of the effects, although what will appear in the trailer will be the tip of the iceberg of how it will be seen in the feature.
All in all, it was a very good day despite a bumpy start. The location manager even came down at one point, unannounced, to ensure that one of their production equipment wasn't being compromised. She was obviously happy with what was going on, since she didn't even feel the need to make her presence known, though I'm suprised she at least didn't hunt down Rob, Barb, or Michael.
It was hard for us to be too upset. Truth be told, Sony did us a huge favor by washing down that nasty alley so that Alexandra didn't have to lie in homeless people urine or be gnawed by a rat (I saw one of these suckers running across another part of the alley and am now convinced that the chihuahua/rat urban legend might be plausible).
All things considered, Rob was of the opinion that if he had to choose between an empty nasty alley and a power-washed one with limited shooting areas, he would opt for the latter. So everything worked out and I can see Spider-Man 3 in good conscience. I might even see the Cameron Diaz movie ... as long as she grows out her hair again and acts against Jim Carrey.
Posted by blackroosterfilms
at 12:01 AM PDT
Updated: Wed, Apr 26 2006 1:03 AM PDT