Filming: Weekend Eight

Two days later, I’m still feeling pretty swell about the past weekend’s shoot. Of course, it’s only fitting things are starting to gel now that we’re almost done filming.

Saturday involved a skeleton crew and a road trip: only two “official” crew (Ryan and myself; Jim is still recovering from last week’s injury), three unofficial crew (actors Brad, Joe, and R.J. pitched in to work behind the scenes), and three main cast (Kayla and the two Matts, Laumann and Spahr) headed out to Peebles, which is nestled an hour east of Cincinnati, midway between Bumfudge and That Place Where All the Serial Killers Hang Out. R.J.’s in-laws, the mighty Coles, loaned us their secluded cabin to serve as the Hampton’s Farm set.

While the shoot had its problems – a cartoonishly persistent woodpecker made some of the audio unusable; neighbors (the cabin’s not too secluded, you see) decided to hold target practice next door for about an hour; and some sort of monsoon rolled through, causing a three hour delay shortly after we began filming – the mood remained light throughout. R.J. grilled out while the rest of us jabbered and joked and enjoyed taking it easy. Even with some off/on drizzling throughout the rest of the day and some difficulties with the mechanics of a lowbrow sight gag (a “Murray wets himself” bit was stymied by Spahr’s unexpectly waterproof pants), the relaxed spirit was never shaken. (I will recommend at least one road trip-worthy shoot for every indie filmmaker – it’ll provide a vacation atmosphere despite the work, not to mention all the “bonding experience” whatnot that comes with it.)

Things went so well, in fact, I didn’t mind (too much, that is) having to step in as an emergency cast member. With our Old Man Hampton unable to attend and no one else able (or willing) to take his place, I got stuck with the part. This delighted my cast for reasons I cannot comprehend, although I assume it must have something to do with my lousy performance making theirs look better by comparison. Either that, or my sour reaction to the neverending supply of turkey jerky shoved into my mouth (an emergency stand-in for “chaw”) filled them with schadenfreude-fueled glee.

For Sunday’s shoot, we returned to Roselawn to shoot more barricade scenes, only to encounter the same Wizard of Oz-level winds that mucked things up four weeks back. The sun was out this time, though, and the beautiful (if toasty) weather made standing around outside for hours much more bearable (except, perhaps, for Jen, who wound up waiting around for four hours before she went in front of the camera, in the sort of costume one does not wish to wear in 85 degree heat). We were able to plow through plenty of material in limited time, even cramming in an extra scene (shot, thank heavens, in the air conditioned wonder of the great indoors) to ease the burden of next week’s marathon reshoot session.

It was a tiring but darn good day, the sort of day I wish could happen every weekend. Which is a ridiculously sappy thing to say, absolutely, but the day left me in a sappy mood. This movie just might turn me into a non-grump yet.

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