Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It was the season of light, it was the season of darkness...

Right after our camera test, we went into production, and it was a grueling ten days—12 hours per day of shooting with at least a couple hours after the actors and the crew went home for the production team to clean up and deal with business then prep for the next day.

Rehearsal and blocking at one of the locations.  Must get this stuff down before the camera goes up.
What in tarnation is going on here?

The stress and hours and intense activity interspersed with NOTHING to do while waiting for something else to fall into place reminded me of what I've read about being in war, making me feel like we really were a Sweethearts Army (and I apologize to those who actually have been in war for making this facile analogy).  People say that production brings out the best and the worst in people.  We had really good people on our team, and everyone dealt with the pressure in the best ways they could.

Hair/make-up/wardrobe lead Kelby gets Megan Alyse ready for a shot.
Kelby gets mad respect from me for not only doing triple duty on the crew side,
but she was also one of the actors.

All I know is that I didn't want it to end.  I was so proud to be surrounded by people I like, watching all of them do wonderful work.

And here's Kelby on set now!  She rocked in front of the camera, and you wouldn't know that
she barely had time to prepare herself, because she was getting everyone else ready first.

And it was a lot of work.  Not in the sense of it being hard on us, as I already covered that.  I mean that we produced a lot of footage in a short amount of time.  We shot nine episodes' worth of material (74 pages in the script, looking at a finished product of nine episodes of seven-to-ten minutes each) at a pace that even most television series wouldn't do, because they have more time and more money.

Lola UnWinona and Kit Quinn keeping warm.  You wouldn't have known that only the day before
in the same location it was hotter than—Tarnation!  Too hot to come up with a colorful analogy.

The veterans on the crew were kinda blown away by how much footage we did each day.  Their colleagues who weren't on the shoot, upon hearing that, tell them, "Bull@#$%, that's impossible."  But we did that.  And we're grateful to all of our Kickstarter backers and our friends who believed in us and those who came on set and gave us their time and energy for making all this possible.

Good friend and Kickstarter backer Yato (L) visits Useless Writer on Set me (C) and Director Dexter (R) on set.
The smiles would not last long, because it was a particularly grueling weekend.
(photo by Sherry Li)

Another thing I marveled at during shooting was how we brought together veterans and newbies and everybody in between to work on this thing together.  The experienced folks were very patient with those of us who didn't know what the &%*# we were doing and exceedingly generous in teaching us how it's done.  On a "real" set, some of us would've been fired, but instead the operating principle was "Let me show you how it's done."

See?  I told you.  Grumpy face does not even begin to describe...
(photo by Juan Garcia)

Someone remarked that it was kinda like school, and one of the veteran crew members responded, "Wow, I guess this makes us the professors."  I'd take a bullet for any of those guys, because that kind of giving spirit is rare in this world.

You know what kept us going?  Fear of this man.  Do not piss off Director of Photography Hassan Abdul-Wahid.
(photo by Juan Garcia)

I also believe that some of the newbies instilled anew in the veterans an enthusiasm for making film.  I heard one of the veterans said something like "This reminds me of why I wanted to get into filmmaking in the first place."

But once the cameras start rolling, it was pure joy.

After production ended, I think most everyone needed to crawl into bed and sleep for a few years.  However, the editor's work was just beginning (Dexter had to switch hats ... no rest for him).  He put together a rough cut to show at the Big Wow! ComicFest in San Jose on May 19, and more on that in the next post...

Tallest Silver, David Dickerson, Kit Quinn, Lola UnWinona and the intellectual property of a large
media conglomerate who lovingly appears under the aegis of fair usage.  If you're going to spend
12 hours per day for ten days together, then you'd better like each other lots, and they do like each other...
lots and lots!