Monday, March 12, 2012

LOVE'S LABOR'S LOST: the trailer

And here it is:



This is going to be a fun show. I recommend coming, if you're in the Provo area.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST: pics from the promo shoot part 2

Today was a crazy day. Turns out, due to some restrictions of costume access, that the two hours I thought I would have to film turned into just under one and a half. Luckily I spent the entire day storyboarding and shot-listing, and I just booked on through them.

Here are some of the results:















the vid itself will be released March 10th, so... be on the lookout. An buy a ticket or something.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST: pics from the promo shoot


Since last May, I have been working for BYU Arts Creative (new title of BYU's fine arts marketing office) producing promotional video content for fine arts events.

Today was the first of two shooting days for the promo video for Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Stephanie Breinholt -- opening March 14th, btw... you should totally go...

I'm one of the assistant directors, along with Bergen Goesch and Brighton Sloan, so you bet that I have been determined that the video that I produce to promote LLL is going to be AMAZING.


The show is set in 1943, at a USO Canteen. The basic premise is that four soldiers swear off women for three years, and then run into four pretty girls who work at the canteen -- conflict. Today we filmed a few dressing room scenes (totally PG guys, don't worry).
I'm going to be honest, I had an all-night film shoot last night, and basically had been going 36 hours with only a couple of sporadic naps when I showed up to shoot our lovely actresses, so I wasn't sure what I was going to get.


Well, I think it turned out pretty good:
(click on them to enlarge)










I whipped up a few samples to send Steph, and thought, what the hey -- let's put 'em on the internet. Stay tuned for more updates, and some catch-ups from past projects :)

Also, I got a great nap today, which was also good :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

MUSIC VIDEO: "Frankly My Dear" by Ruts and Weeds

While I continue to procrastinate my next reports on the progress of Alabaster Sky, it's time I get down and jot a few thoughts down about the production of "Frankly My Dear," the second music video that I have made with my roomies.



It turns out that the experience my roommates had when making the video to Muse was positive enough to make another one! This time we decided to plan ahead.

Then we realized that the best weekend to shoot it was 8 days away.

Well, it's still improvement. Muse was pulled together in 5 hours. Frankly My Dear was going to get almost a full week. And a shot list. And a script.


PRE-PRODUCTION

Well, we had a concept. Cowboys. I pulled together a rough outline of a story and pitched it to Ben and Kris over Dennys. They were game. We decided to move forward.

I should mention now that Janell was also a key creative mind behind this video. She and I decided that if we were going to keep making music videos, they were going to be quality, and they were going to be worthy of our portfolios.

So, decision one: Mustaches. Everyone in the band was going to have big burly mustaches. And Janell was going to make them. By hand.

Decision two: film in Tooele County, UT. Not only is it a desert prairie full of old Pony Express trails and outposts, but I have a lot of connections up there. We needed desert, horses, and a jail. The desert was easy. Just point in any direction. The others were a little more tricky to come up with.

I gave a call to my aunt, Lynne Bevan. She and her husband Gary had had horses in the past, and their son Ty also probably had some. I asked if it was possible to borrow one or two for a day. She wasn't sure. She'd have to talk to Ty about it. And Ty's horses weren't the friendliest, so our best option, if it were possible, would be to have Ty be the horse-riding double for a few far away shots. Not the best option, but we could make it work if we needed to.

Luckily, Aunt Lynne is also in charge of the Tooele Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum, and what did they just finish renovating a year or two ago? A restoration of the old jail cell that used to be in the back of the court house that the museum is housed in. And that was something Lynne could confirm access to.

Hurray! We had a jail. And though I had never been there, a random blogger had taken pictures of her kids standing in the jail, so we had a pretty good idea of what it looked like.

The horse situation was not as ideal, and when I explained what was going on to Magarin (already cast as the deputy cowboy), he wasn't excited either. He claimed he could get us some other horse options. I told him that if he did I would give him a producer credit.

He found one within 24 hours.

In the meantime, Kris and Ben and I went off to D.I. to find wardrobe.

Then a report from Magarin -- the horse was a no go. But Magarin had found 2 new ones. Better ones.

Okay, things were pulling together. We had horses, we had a jail, we had a location (narrowed down to an old gravel pit outside of Grantsville), we had clothes to wear. Kris and I spray-painted some money-sign stencils on a couple inverted canvas bags. All set to go.


PRODUCTION

We had two groups headed out for Grantsville. The first left early in the morning: me, Magarin, Janell, my sister Natalie, and Mike McClellan. We listened to western film scores on the way to get into the mood. Janell worked on finishing up the ventilation for Magarin's mustache (ventilation is a process by which Janell tied individual hairs to a piece of fine mesh). I worked on embroidering the Outlaw's initials into the prop handkerchief. First time embroiderer, and it showed.

When we arrived in Grantsville, we scouted the location. It was the first time I had even been out there, so some decisions had to be made quickly. There was great topography, and vast fields of sunflowers. It was gorgeous. I started drawing storyboards.

The only way to get the horses out of town was to ride them, and it looked like that was going to take 40 minutes or so. While Magarin gathered the rest of his wardrobe at his parents house and Janell finished making his mustache, Magarin made a few calls to try and track down a horse trailer. Mike, Natalie, and I took Magarin's deputy vest outside to make the faded sheriff's star.

We learned a little trick from Maria of the Costume Shop: we put a piece of masking tape (well, technically lint roller tape) that we cut out in the shape of the traced sheriff's star on the jacket where we wanted the faded bit to be. We then sprayed the whole jacket down with water-mixed-with-talcum-powder. It dried quickly in the sun leaving a dusty, sun-bleached look. Peeling back the star-shaped sticker revealed a star-shaped, dark patch of leather.

Legit.

Magarin suited up, and we dropped him and Janell off at the horses' house. The plan was for Magarin and Janell to ride the horses out to location, while Mike and Natalie and I grabbed some food and drink for everyone.

We finally found the ONE grocery store in aaaalll of Grantsville, grabbed water bottles, snacks, and a large sub to split five ways, and drove out to location, hoping that Janell and Magarin weren't waiting for us.

But nobody was there. There were random people firing guns over in the quarry (terrifying sound, by the way), and a coincidental, but unrelated, horse trailer. But no Magarin or Janell. We tried to call them but they didn't answer. Figuring they were still on their way, we ate our portions of the sub. We waited a bit more. Still no sign.

Climbing back into the car, we drove back towards Grantsville, finally getting Janell on the phone.

They had taken a while to get the horses ready and hadn't even reached the town limits yet.

In fact, the second group (Ben, Dan, Kris, Isaac, Summerisa) arrived to location (also leaving from Provo, by the way) before the horses.

But finally, everybody was there, horses were there, and we started shooting. Thing is, we were running out of time. And the horses were being difficult.

Dennis and Hank, our lovely horses borrowed from Matt Swenson -- parent of Magarin's old friends, and coincidentally also my mother's bridesmaid's sister-in-law's husband -- were not used to making music videos. They just wanted to go home. And they didn't like to be separated. And Dennis liked to run at me instead of past me.

So after about an hour or so, I brought Magarin and Summerisa (our lovely outlaw) in for a pow wow. "How realistic is it," i asked, "to get the rest of these shots we need?" The general consensus was not very realistic. Well, acknowledgement of a problem was still a problem. But I was determined that we were going to, as Tim Gunn says, make it work.

So, on the spot, I had to re-write the music video. And we just shot stuff, and I made it up as I went. And when we wrapped the location (because the horses HAD to leave, or else it would get dark before they got home, and Magarin needed to be the one to ride them home - this time with the help of Michael Vaughan) I wasn't quite sure how I was going to make it all work.

So we all piled into cars and drove to my grandparents house in Tooele. Janell worked on finishing the mustaches (that she started applying on location), while Ben and Isaac went back to pick up Magarin and Vaughan, who were still riding the horses back to their house. Once Dan was ready, he and I went to the next location to start setting up. It was time to film the band in the jail. And it was a great jail. Major props to my cousin Ty for building it (I know, I know, I got connections ALL over that county).

The rest of the boys trickled in, now all mustached and gussied up in their cowboy clothes. I set about lighting the set (with three desk lamps, all we currently have lighting-equipment-wise...), and Vaughan readied playback (an ipod plugged into my grandparents' computer speakers)

An hour or so later, we had the shots we needed and wrapped for the day. We had managed to film all of it.

I couldn't believe it.


POST PRODUCTION

It got edited. By me. It was a very boring, not-spectacularly-blog-worthy process.

For those who are curious, I edited it all in color (because we shot it in color), then color corrected the footage in black and white. Then I exported the video and uploaded it in After Effects to do the Sepia and film processing effects. The titles were made in After Effects as well, and a slight vignette effect was placed over the narrative shots. The wanted poster was a photo-shopped version of John Wilkes Booth's poster, and animated in After Effects to look as though it was filmed with a camera.


Before the video was released on YouTube, it was premiered at an open-mic house show that my roomies threw at our place. It was very well received.

In fact, we just finished shooting our next video, which I am in the process of editing, to be released in about another week. It's relatively hush-hush, but for you 3 faithful readers, here's a sneak peek:


Saturday, September 3, 2011

MUSIC VIDEO: "Muse" by Ruts and Weeds

The production of this music video is a pretty good case for the benefit of spontaneous filmmaking. And also multi-tasking. Not only did we film a music video, but the performances were all recorded on set to mix into a track.

This is apparently also a case study of the benefit of multi-talented houses.

THE ROOMMATES:
Ben Isaacs - guitar, sang, danced
Kris Paries - sang, danced
Mike McClellan - recorded/mixed audio tracks on set, managed playback, danced
Magarin Hobson - crowd sing, danced
Michael Vaughan - crowd sing, danced
DJB (me) - filmed, edited

THE FRIENDS:
(band mates)
Isaac Bourgeois - drums, crowd sing
Dan Steinbeigle - mandolin, crowd sing
(other friends)
Julia Richardson - crowd sing, danced
Janell Turley - crowd sing, tripped-out dance
Peter Bourgeois - playback


Go ahead and give the video a look-see, then I'll talk about it.



THE SHOOT:

As I mentioned above, and I guess this is obvious when watching the video, the audio performances were all recorded on set. Actually, I wonder if it's more like the visual performances were all recorded in the studio. You see, I didn't know we were making such a video until one of the roomies came into my room and said "wanna film us recording a track?"

I said "okay."

All we had for lighting was overhead lighting (not often is this a flattering option) and a handful of desk lamps. We chose the desk lamps. Isaac, on drums, was up first, so I put the lamps under the drums. The Christmas lights were already strung in that part of the house (soooo indie, right?). I added one last lamp to fill Isaac's face a little more, and we were good to go. Mike started recording, I started recording, Isaac started playing. Not being sure what in the world I should do, I just moved around the living room, from cool angle, to cool angle. Luckily for me, we did a few takes. Then, randomly (I don't quite remember where the idea came from) Isaac decided to wear a batman mask.

Then, we recorded Ben playing his guitar. Sound and Talent had to wait a few minutes while I readjusted the lighting (just like a real film set!) and I threw a couple spools of yarn up on the piano behind him that I don't believe made final cut -- for whatever reason I live in a house that has Christmas lights, and guitars, and a huge bag full of yarn. Then, after a couple takes, Ben threw a blue bandana over his face. It never made final cut, but to be honest it also wasn't the greatest mask in the world, so I was okay with that.

And I just filmed, and moved around, and didn't have a clue what I was doing or where this was going.

We had to record each performer separately, due to a lack of microphones, and the original idea was that they would each do a take with the batman mask. And then something, something, something, and the next thing I knew, Ben was wearing a red Venetian mask, and Kris, Dan, and Isaac were all standing behind him, their own headgear apparent.

It all started to come together. Weird masks. That was the concept. Done.

Then a few takes later, Ben hollered that he wanted to record a crowd chant for the "Whoa-oh-oh-ohs" in the song, so we scrambled to find everyone in the crowd a mask, too. This is where we extended the definition of mask to include hats, scarves, and elephant cookies. Christmas lights we have, musical instruments we have, spools of yarn we have, but what we don't have is a surplus of masks. Ah, well.

So the crowd chanted, and Ben ended up having to clap to keep everyone on time (there was only one set of headphones) and I got a huge workout flying around them --

I should speak on that a moment. It's never seen on camera, but one of Julia's favorite parts of the shoot (at least she said so at the time) was watching me film. Because when singers were at the microphone, I was upright, on my knees, camera raised above my head, and then I would quickly lean waaaay back to pull the camera away really fast, and then, when it seemed gravity would slam my torso to the ground, I would lift my entire body up again (by my knees). I must confess that such a feat is about the limit of my superhuman abilities. I can also catch Frisbees pretty well too.

I think the only real shot that made the cut where I used that technique is at the end when Kris is smiling in his hockey mask (or is it a catcher's mask...?) -- in his athletic facial protection -- and the camera pulls back quickly.


Anywho.


We filmed Dan on his mandolin, and the first take was perfect. We got a pickup with the goggles on, for camera, but that man is solid on the mandolin.

My gut told me that I wanted to get a shot of everyone dancing before we wrapped for the night. So we cleared out the microphones, and I reset the lights, and then Peter Bourgeois -- Isaac's brother and coincidentally a great friend of mine from freshman year -- walked in the door. He volunteered to run playback so that he could avoid being in the shot (his choice) and so that Mike McClellan could dance around with the others.

My gut also told me to film the dancing at a high frame rate (aka, slow motion). This was a great thing for my gut to tell me to do, because I have watched that footage at normal speed, and it is really dumb. Not "haha, this is funny," dumb. Real dumb. Like, uncomfortably-failed-attempt-to-do-stand-up-comedy-in-a-sacrament-meeting-talk dumb.

There was also a desire to spice it up a little bit, so it wasn't just silly dancing, and I think Julia said something like "we should do something with all this yarn on the piano!" and maybe it was Kris who said something like "we should throw it around and make a big mess!" and I said something like "okay, everybody throw the yarn when we get to the whoa-whoa-whoas!"

And they did. And I just filmed random angles, and backed in and out of the door a few times, thinking I might like that, and -- FINALLY -- by an unspecified late hour, we were done. And I am positive our neighbors loved us for it.



EDITING:

But, oh, wait, there was all this footage and no clue what to do with it. Well, like Jaws, this music video was made in post production (luckily I had my bestie Janell Turley come over and tell me when things looked good or lame).

First things first, I had to decide the structure of this thing. Well, looking at what we filmed, I had a few quasi-progressions or evolutions. I had the evolution of non-mask faces to mask-faces. There was the dancing party into string-throwing-vandalism party. Last, there was the progression of adding people to the vocals.

So, with that basic structure/concept in mind, I started laying out the key points of the song from which I would hang the clothesline of everything else -- the Whoa-oh-ohs.

Well, for the final set of whoas, I knew that I wanted lots of string throwing, and the whole crowd around the microphone. Threw those in. Good. Then the first set, I knew I wanted to to have the masked four-some with their dramatic arm raising. Threw those in. Good.

I had roughly 30 seconds of the music video roughly assembled. And not really sure where to go next.

It seemed best to cover my bases. So I threw down the main vocal track (Ben) and synced it with the song. With so much footage, and an overwhelming amount of potential places to go next, at least we had a full video of Ben singing. Next came the cool drummer shots. Those glowing drums looked pretty cool, in my opinion, so I found the coolest ones and threw those in. Then Janell pointed out that I needed to give Dan and Kris some equal face time, so we found some great clips of them and slid them into place. After that serendipity kicked in and I kept discovering great little moments - under the guidance of Janell's objective eye, of course.

Something, something, something, six hours later, and we had a solid rough cut. I knew the boys were going to be (are going to be, as of writing) playing a show at the coincidentally-named Muse Music that next night (tonight), and wanting there to be something for any curious audience members (like you, you should go) to find online of these guys, I printed the rough cut, thinking that at some point I will eventually color it and sweeten it a little.

I got home at roughly half-past midnight and showed the boys. They loved it.

Whew.

Even if everyone else thinks it's the lamest thing ever, at least we all like it :)


WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

1) Spontaneous filmmaking is not a bad thing.
2) Spontaneous filmmaking is much better if you are with a crowd of talented, creative people.
3) Collaboration is kind of the best thing ever.
4) Anything is possible if you have enough Christmas lights, masks, and yarn.
5) KR, in football, stands for Kick Return.


It was a fun shoot, and turned into a fun video, and you know what? They're a pretty fun group of guys. Go ahead and like them on facebook, if you feel inclined.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

ALABASTER SKY: block one done!

In the spirit of the Hobbit movie, which is being filmed in several blocks of filming, with breaks in between, we of Alabaster Sky figured what the heck, let's jump on that band wagon! And last Thursday we finished our first block of shooting. Hurray!

Of course, our blocks are more due to scheduling conflicts than anything else, but at the end of the block of shooting there were a couple of fun statistics:
-over half of the show was filmed in two weeks (that's either really great or really bad... we'll see)
-the footage totaled over 9 1/2 hours...!

But let's report in more detail, shall we?


MONDAY:

Monday may or may not have been the busiest single filming day to date. With 19 scenes to film, and an estimated 3 1/2 hours of travel time, we new we were going to be crunched for time.

The day's filming was going to take us on a loop through Tooele County, UT. First stop was an old family cabin in Ophir Canyon. My mother's parents met up with us in the canyon with the key to get inside the cabin and a surprise special guest: my uncle's dog, Rascal! So guess what we did? We put him in the movie!! Turns out, though, that Rascal doesn't live up to his name so much these days. He was surprisingly shy and timid, especially of Jeff Dickamore, but after a while he started to warm up to everybody and the camera. In fact, during one of the later scenes we filmed, he showed up in the middle of the take, as if on cue, even landing on his mark!


We also had an adorable picnic lunch with my grandparents. I should mention that Rascal wasn't the only family member to be thrown into the movie. In our first take we drove up to the cabin, passing the spot where my grandparents were hiding out of shot. Jeff thought it'd be fun to improvise and stopped to take something to my grandpa: "Can we keep this in your truck?" I don't know if anyone besides my immediate family will recognize him, but my mother and I think it is pretty funny :)

Anywho, time was running out until we had to get to our next location (including meeting an actor there...), and with no opportunity to come pick things up later, we whipped through the last few scenes, and took off.

Next stop on the Tooele County Tour?

Bevan Cabin up in Settlement Canyon, of course!


Before we headed up the next canyon, we stopped at my grandparent's house to charge battery and wait for good ol' Magarin Hobson to meet up with us. We had had to invent a new character on short notice for a couple scenes, and not only is Magarin a great actor, but he lives in Grantsville, maybe 15 minutes away from the location.

Regathered, and battery retrieved, we caravan-ed up to the mouth of the canyon, ditched two of the cars, and wound our way up the canyon towards the old cabin. Magarin and I rode in the bed of my grandpa's pickup, while i filled him on what exactly we were doing that day (that's how you tell a good friend. You say, "hey can you be in a movie?" and they say "sure!" without a clue as to what the heck they're going to be doing). Rascal was still tagging along and rode in the back with us. He and Magarin bonded quickly.


We ditched Graham's car at the spot where in a half hour we'd be filming it, and everyone piled into the back of the truck. A few minutes later and we were outside the gate to the old Bevan property. Of course, we had made arrangements to have the key, but no one had anticipated that someone else who shares the deed would randomly add a combination lock to the gate. With no one among us knowing the code, we all hopped out of the truck and hiked the rest of the way in (it wasn't too far).

I gotta level with you guys. I hadn't been to that cabin in probably a good 10 years or so. I was banking on very faint memories that it was going to work. As soon as I saw it, however, it was immediately clear that it was a PERFECT location! Big sigh of relief.


well, the rewrites for the scenes being filmed were more or less intangible, so we did what we did best -- improvise -- and knocked the scenes out quickly. The sun was setting, and we had a good half-hour to 45 minute drive to the next location, which we needed to be AT SUNSET.

We had one more scene to film, though, and it was starting to rain...! Not only was it one more scene, but it was a scene that had a fight in it (of course) and so I set Magarin, Graham, and Jeff to work figuring it out really quick, while I helped Bethany move the car to where it needed to be in the scene. Magarin and Jeff were excited to have a scuffle, and soon Magarin had decided that they needed to roll around and wrestle in the creek that cut through the dirt road. The rain was coming, so I yelled "YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS TO FINISH AND THEN WE GOTTA FILM!"

A little more than five seconds later, I called action, and we went. I knew we only had time for one take, so we had to make it work -- and it was crazy. Yelling and screaming, and the rain was coming down. But we got it!

And down out of the canyon we drove. At the mouth, we redistributed cars, got a big wet hug from Magarin as we wrapped him for the day, and took off to the final destination of the day:

Black Rock.


It was raining, still, and the scene needed to be not raining, so add that to the fact that time was quickly running out, and I was stressed. But we made it. Barely. I set Jeff and Leslie in their places, then I set Graham and Bethany in their places, and then I ran around and shot the heck out of those sweet 10 minutes of gorgeous sunset, avoiding prom pictures, and random families, and grotesquely dense swarms of bugs on the rocks. Holy cow.

But the results spoke for themselves.


Worth it.


TUESDAY:

Tuesday was a lighter day. We started later, as Graham and Bethany had a dinner appointment with family. Then we filmed two scenes.

First we faked a Provo House to look like a Park City house, which wasn't difficult, thanks to Graham's location-ing, and the Reid family's generosity with their house.


Next we picked up a scene from the day before. We didn't have Leslie, because she was studying for a test, so we just kinda faked that she was there. It got darker than I wanted, but the silver-lining was that it made hiding Leslie a lot easier... :)


It was nice to have a short, easy day, because the next day was:


WEDNESDAY:

Oh, we just survived a really busy day, like, two days ago. Smooth sailing from now on, right? WRONG...
Wednesday was either the 2nd or 3rd busiest day of the shoot. We had 13 scenes to film in... 5 hours?

My goodness.

We filmed the most extra-heavy scene of the show first. It was kinda great, because mostly everyone sat around and ate Graham's delectable home-made bagels and talked. Easy peasy.

We sped through the whole day, added yet another made-up-on-the-spot character for the very talented Anna Hargadon:


...and welcomed Emily Foster to the cast :)


It was a busy day, yes, but everyone we worked with was really great. I should also mention the character of my good friend, Ben Isaacs, who was in the first scene, and the last scene, and ended up hanging around the whole day waiting, without one single complaint. He totally had room to demand a little attention, but was very agreeable and understanding. Hire him.


THURSDAY:

Thursday was another light scene. Jeff was off to California, so we were just picking up a scene from the day before. It also happened to be the scene that required the most acting from me out of the whole show. Simultaneous directing and acting is really tricky to balance, and it took me a few takes (and reassurance from my actors) to really focus, and relax. But once we had it, and I felt good about it, we were through with the first block, and put an imaginary red "DONE" stamp on an imaginary stack of papers in our brains.


This past week we've had off, so everyone could catch up on their other responsibilities, because starting tomorrow, we're headed to Sacramento to film On Location! It should be great :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ALABASTER SKY: "Every Utah hick-town has a place to shoot guns"

The first official full-week of shooting is done, and i'm exhausted, relieved, optimistic, terrified... a hodge-podge squadron of undulating emotions.

But HERE's a treat! I pulled some stills from the footage, just to share with you all!!!


TUESDAY:


Tuesday was a big day. We were scheduled to film what we expected to be some of the most physically and emotionally intense scenes of the whole show. Let's see: we were on top of a mountain, it was really windy, light was fading fast, people were shooting real guns, and there might have been a killer swarm of mosquitoes. True story.

We got started a little later than I had hoped, due in part to a sudden, brief downpour, and Leslie being a bit tardy (to which the blame mostly rests on my horrible lack of over-the-phone driving direction clarity...). Then everyone climbed into one of the two picture vehicles, and up on top of the mountain we went.

The view from up there was pretty spectacular. We were on the north side of West Mountain, and Utah Lake was on almost three sides, glittering in the sunset. The rain clouds (thankfully now dry) diffused the light, and it was just gorgeous. Unfortunately, there is no Utah Lake in western Nevada, so it wasn't shot, except for where it snuck into a few frames...
Once on top of the mountain, we started shooting, and there was a big immediate problem. It was incredibly windy. It was so windy that the dead cat (slang term for the fuzzy microphone windscreen) that i had borrowed wasn't doing a thing to prevent the accompanying huge noise problem. Luckily, we in the Alabaster Sky crew think on our feet, and on take 2 the camera (and I) stayed safely inside the car, while the others went to go deal with some Traders.

Next scene on the docket was the one responsible for us filming on a public shooting range. I don't want to give too much away, but:
1) yes, safety measures were taken
2) yes, real rounds were fired, but not at people
3) yes, blanks were used when firing at people

Needless to say, both the individual firing the blank-filled revolver and the individual being fired at were incredibly terrified. And here's a fun behind-the-scenes trick I learned from the Lord of the Rings. The shooter was actually standing about four feet closer to the camera than the "shootee," and the gun was pointed straight out toward the lake. But it looks like it's pointed right at the shootee when you playback the footage.

Of course, the next shot involved the shootee laying down in a puddle of homemade blood (ingredients which, i believe, include corn syrup and chocolate syrup), while being feasted on by a sudden killer swarm of mosquitoes.

I still feel terrible about that...

It was about then that it got way too dark to shoot the other three scenes we had scheduled. Problem. Also, a few of the extras/actors were from Idaho, so it's not like we could just reshoot any old time. Oh, and remember that intense ticking clock of two actors leaving to go be otherwise successful????

Again, luckily the Alabaster Sky family is nothing if not flexible, and we rewrote on the spot. The new scenes will be filmed later in Nevada. So, wait to hear on that.


WEDNESDAY:

We were supposed to shoot some really gorgeous stuff, but a communication error got in the way. Curses.

Instead, I freaked out a little bit, got some pringles and high-end chocolate to detox and destress, took a walk, and then I felt okay about everything.

(PS - i almost wrote "I felt oaky about everything" which would have opened up a lot of really fascinating interpretations of what that could mean)


THURSDAY:


This was a day that I was a little worried about, to be honest. We needed an abandoned parking lot within reasonable distance to Provo (travel costs time and money, I'm learning...). Oh, and it needed to be really quiet, and not near any major roads. So we decided, naturally, to film next to Provo airport. Actually it was a good idea, provided that we shot in between plane takeoffs (which are pretty infrequent at this tiny airport).

Well, after a few takes of that, we returned to Graham's place to pickup the scenes that we didn't get to last Saturday. It was really hot, and we were all really tired, but we pushed through and finished, and ended up with some pretty great stuff. :)

So that was nice.


SATURDAY:


Early morning, we returned to Park City to, once again, pretend it's deserted. But what's this? There's noticeably more people here than there were last week? Luckily we stayed mostly inside, though shots out of windows had to wait for cars to finish driving past.

And then Jeff Dickamore scared the pants off this kid doing custodial work, because he was stomping around and shouting in a stairwell, dressed in shabby, dirty clothes, with a sleeping bag... Jeff the Vagrant.

After Park City we took a break so that Graham and Bethany could eat free Tucanos, courtesy of Bethany's visiting parents. Jeff and I managed to score free pizza for helping move a pizza oven over at Slab Pizza (Graham helped too, but he had to run to Tucanos instead of eat pizza with us). I'm not just a friend of one of the owners, I also really enjoy the food. So it was win-win for me.

After a couple hours of siesta, filming started back up again. Again, we needed an abandoned-looking place, within the greater Provo area, that wasn't near any major roads. So, naturally, we chose to film behind a strip mall. And yes, actually, it worked much better than it sounds. The buildings provided a sound barrier to the traffic, and behind us was the quiet and peaceful LDS Motion Picture Studio.

And, treat of all treats, my talented friend Shiloh White (you can watch her talk about another film she worked on here) met up with us to do some great makeup, as Graham needed to get bloodied and bruised. Other than waiting for Cafe Rio to take out the trash several times, things went smoothly and quickly, and Shiloh took just enough time to do Graham's makeup to let the battery charge up a little bit.

Oh, and there was this cool, random TV that i couldn't resist getting random b-roll of.



So, things are coming along, quickly and relatively smoothly. Tomorrow's a huge day, where we'll do a little circuit through Tooele County. It'll be the most jam-packed day we've scheduled thus far...

We'll be fine.

(or will we?? stay tuned to find out)