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Aftermath: Feeling very, very happy

Last night, I spent the evening with the “Aftermath” gang shooting at the Rosebud Diner in Davis Square, Somerville. It was a long shoot during which Pat and I were really trying to get Niki Sella to get a handle on Britney’s range of emotion. Neither of us could direct an actor out of a paper bag last night, but thankfully Justin Grace was there to save the day. After really talking to Niki and getting her to visualize what her character was talking about, Niki gave her very best take and we were golden. Reviewing the footage last night I realized what a huge contribution Justin had made. The cast of “Aftermath” has become a team and all seem devoted to making it as good a movie as it can be.

The footage itself looks beautiful. We were in rather low-light circumstances, but the footage has this decidedly “Eyes Wide Shut” feel. The Rosebud Diner is filled with all manner of neon, so there are these really gorgeous colors throughout the backgrounds. And yes, the performances by all each have takes which, when culled together, will work wonderfully. Whether its Sarah Ashton’s hateful reactions to what’s being said, or Zach’s matter-of-fact delivery, Justin’s saddened internalization of all of this horror or Michael Stephen’s thuggish confrontational style, everyone helped support Niki in their own way during a scene that she claimed “was something very new” for her. I was really impressed by all of them and Pat, I believe, will go into the Christmas holiday feeling very, very happy about the work we’ve done.

Unfortunately, the night began in chaos. Niki was going to be late, Justin called in bumper-to-bumper traffic and I had realized we scheduled far too much to do in a short span of time. Our only recourse was to can the convenience store shoot, moving it to Saturday, the 28th, and instead hit the Rosebud a touch earlier than planned. It all worked out, but between the 7-8 o’clock hour, I was a stressed-out freak show.

Each time I come home from an “Aftermath” shoot, I feel like I’m doing the kind of work people have expected from me for years, but which I’ve failed to realize. While I think I’ve made some good pictures in the past, I finally feel as though my troubleshooting skills and directorial sense have sharpened enough to create something that I don’t need to make any excuses for. “Aftermath” thus far is the best picture I’ve worked on. What started out at least partially as an excuse to test out some new equipment and break in some new talent has evolved into a really wonderful little picture. Pat’s one Hell of a writer as his voice is true and his characters are very strong. I really hope this is the first of many a collaboration with this young lad.

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