Filming: Weekend Five

We’ve hit the halfway mark of filming, and I’ve settled into a predictable groove: Saturday goes bumpy, things run slowly, I go home thinking the movie’s a mess, Sunday runs much more smoothly, we get much more done, I go home thinking the movie might just work out after all.

Starting with the bumpy: rain from the night before left the entire location (woods, plus the edges of two back yards which we play off as a clearing in the woods) swampy and squishy, not to mention pretty damn cold; what should’ve been a quick five minute effects insert shot to start the day wound up putting the rest of the shoot behind by about an hour; assembling the spaceship prop (which turned out to be darn good, by the way) in the mud wasted even more time; both fog machines rarely performed on cue, leaving our smoky crash site to look rather un-smoky (yeah, I know, we’ll fix it in post…); the makeup/practical effects never really worked, and Robb wasn’t there to help fix (he had to leave early for work, and by the time he returned, we were finished with those bits), leaving poor Jacque to suffer, sloppy joe sauce getting in his eyes, while we futzed around trying to figure it all out; I’m fairly convinced we didn’t get enough coverage to make one key sequence work; and my fly was down all day, and nobody told me until 6 PM. (Dignity. Always dignity.)

But we’ve definitely had worse days, and the problems we did encounter were lessened by the arrival of McKeea and Danny, playing two teenagers who encounter the Creature. Add in Jacque (who hadn’t been on set since day one, working solo), and our family – and it’s definitely gelled into a family by this point – had grown comfortably.

By that point we’d figured out how to predict how behind schedule we’d be at any certain point; our cast appreciates getting the “sleep in for a couple more hours” messages. Even though we had to put off filming one scene until Sunday, Sunday didn’t seem to drag at all.

Chalk that up in part to everyone’s perverse interest in seeing how McKeea (who had by now established a reputation for snarky wickedness on set) would torture Danny (whose chatterboxing couldn’t quite hide how intimidated he was by his co-star) in anticipation for the film’s only on-screen smooch. What I expected to be a tense moment for all became the source of giddy fun, which spilled over to the rest of the day’s shooting, which mainly consisted of the cast sitting in cars. You kind of need spare fun to make days like that go by.

It also helped that we were back at the fabulous home of the fabulous Linda and Paul Hinson, who not only gave us free reign over their property, but who also fed us a killer lunch both days (sloppy joe, natch) and seemed perfectly fine allowing the cast to kill time – loudly – in their living room. I believe every single cast and crew member said at least one time how much they wished we could shoot there every day.

I just might rewrite the rest of the movie to make this happen.

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