I have never worked on a shoot that ran so much like clockwork. Of course, as things began, I wasn’t so sure our luck was going to hold.
Yesterday’s shoot was probably the most difficult we had planned. We started at 10:00 am in Medford, shooting Zach doing a walk down the street. Two shots, one wide with him coming up over a hill, and then one with a very long telephoto setting and what may be the best focus pull I’ve ever done. Oddly, this was the toughest part of the day since I had forgotten the tripod when I left HQ, and thus had to wait while Pat ran back to the house to grab it. Dumb very dumb. And yes, that focus pull took a very long time as well.
By 10:45 am we were on the road to Hunt’s Photo and Video (a place I once went to daily for a paycheck) in Melrose. It was a meeting place for the first call cast and crew and the second call cast who was showing up at 11:00 am. But on our way there, Justin called and explained my directions to Hunt’s had gotten him lost! Strike two for me on the day.
Fortunately, Justin managed to find his way to Hunt’s and by 11:30 and we were on our way over to the Forest Dale Cemetery a bit down the road from Hunt’s.
The day was perfect for an outside shoot: the clouds were passing in long gray bands past a mustard sun, and the world looked shrouded in the death of winter. At the cemetery, we quickly ran through scenes involving Justin and Zach, and Zach gave what I consider to easily be his best performance of any of our collaborations. With Matt Tucker on sound, me on camera, Pat script supervising and Sheri keeping a lookout for people coming, we managed to get everything just right. It was one of those terrific moments where sound, image, location and performance all nicely gelled together.
We broke for lunch exactly on schedule at 1:00 pm and ate over at my favorite place to grab grub since I was a child, J.J. Grimsby’s. During lunch, Justin, Zach and Pat told some great stories and spirits remained high despite the fact we were all a little chilly. Having realized while I was checking out the next shooting location that we had forgotten a basketball for the next scene, I called Michael Stephens (who plays George in the movie) and asked if he could bring one with him. Apparently he pried one from the grip of his little sister!
Michael showed up on time for the 2:00 pm start of the basketball court scenes and we all trekked through a rather small, but wet and thorny patch of woods to get to this elusive court. It was the perfect location: quiet, and surrounded by a dead trees. With the sun low in the sky behind him, Michael delivered his big speech in the movie with a lot of passion. In each take, he did a different part of the speech really well, so Pat and I will be able to pull a terrific performance together (some of which was not written) in post!
Having finished that scene by about 3:30 pm, we said goodbye to Zach and Justin, then headed back to Medford for one scene of Michael in the shower for the montage sequence. It took about 20 minutes to light and shoot and BANG, we were done a whole 2 hours ahead of schedule. I’d say that’s pretty damn smooth.
I reviewed the footage from the shoot last night and I’m simply amazed by the beauty of that camera’s image. Coupled with the big improvement in sound it provides, I can honestly say it’s the best investment I have ever made.