So the weather on May 24 and 25 had been really great! We couldn’t have asked for better filming weather. Sunny and summery, like a summer vacation should be. In fact, it got downright HOT! Sunday, May 26, however, the planned last day of our “72 Hour Project,” started out overcast and bitter cold. Now the cold is one thing, but the overcast is the real problem when it comes to filming… and especially if you’re filming the second half to a scene you shot on a sunny day two days earlier.
First thing in the morning was Aspen, Okoye, Deana & myself taking care of scenes inside Kaitlyn’s car, setting up the scene with Dr. Lawrence. From there, we headed out to my grandpa’s house and filmed the shots needed to intercut between the footage with Matt and Aspen from the first day. It was windy, it was dreary, bitter cold, and a tad depressing. We pressed on despite my worries whether any of this would even cut together well… the colors of the world were off – how can you match a cold and bleak morning with a warm, bright summer mid-day?
After finishing up only a half hour of footage at around 10:30, we took an early break and reconvened at around 1:00 at Garett’s house, set to be the stand in for Jamie’s home. The sun broke around through and then Bridgett showed up with wigs and makeup. Okoye had unfortunately had to leave, but with more people around, and especially ones as energetic and creative as Bridgett, Isaiah and Sam, we set out to film the establishing scenes of the film while the boys got all dolled up.
Most of it went by pretty quickly and accurately to the script – except Aspen struggled with the long-winded monologue about cats and socks; a quirky, Ferris Bueller-esque moment to be sure, but not an easy one to deliver. Then, just when we finally nailed it and went upstairs and filmed the shot where Jamie transitions from pajamas to normal clothing… I realized in horror that Jamie was supposed to be in her normal clothing in the monologue shot, and we had filmed it with her in her pajamas.
We quickly ran downstairs and did a couple more takes and then, finally, the boys were ready to make their grand debut. And boy did they.
They nailed the rewritten scene with their sweet “precious” comments, hair flicks and eye-batting. Nonstop laughter interrupted take after take, with me being the primary instigator. At one point, both Garett and I had to leave the house and just leave the camera rolling because their delivery was too funny, their costuming and makeup (courtesy the amazing Bridgett) too perfect.
The best moment? Garett’s parents returned home in the middle of a scene, and Garett’s dad mistakenly thought that Isaiah and Sam were actual girls – albeit incredibly ugly.
If there was a lesson to be learned, it was about economics – and not financial, but time. We shot nearly everything in order, and it took probably a third longer than it should have to run back and forth from shot to shot. But it didn’t matter. Everyone was in great spirits, and even though it was early afternoon, the day was only barely getting started.
Bridgett headed out and the guys cleaned up and met the rest of us downtown, where we spent the afternoon and early evening filming the treasure hunting montage. Some of it we used in the final film, quite a bit of it we didn’t. The cast got more flexibility to play around and improvise, but the reality of the situation began to loom over me. We weren’t done. What was supposed to be completely done in three days had been held back by a delay in scheduling – missing cast members.
No Kaitlyn on the first day meant scenes we were to film that day were postponed until we had recast the part, and one of the most important scenes in the movie, the scene with The Man, had not been touched and would have to be cut down substantially from its original iteration in the script, which had included a moment with Sahera present – and an implication that The Man knew her from personal experience, not as a legend. Another scene that needed replaced/fixed was the scene that we couldn’t film on day one in which Jamie and Kaitlyn sneaked into Dorn’s hotel room and learn about the diary’s secret. Another last minute reconfiguring needed done.
Daniel called and was able to come down to Hot Springs to play The Man. He stopped by during the filming of the montage to see how things were coming along and we planned for an early morning shoot. The 72 hour movie would have to become a 96 hour movie, in spite of our best efforts. While I was frustrated at not meeting that goal, I was still optimistic. We had so much done.
With nearly 2 and a half hours in the can from day three, and one full, hopefully final, day planned, I edited together a Day Three reel, sent out a notice to everyone, and headed to bed.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM DAY THREE:
-Shoot economically if you can, not in order. You may think you’re helping by keeping continuity a little better, but even then you might completely screw it up.
-If the cast & crew are feeling a bit glum, bring in someone with a lot of energy and creativity, even if they aren’t in the scene.
-Don’t ask your crew to do something you wouldn’t. When Aspen and Sam had to get in the river – I saw the opportunity for a great middle of the stream shot, so I rolled up my pants legs, grabbed the tripod and went in myself. A risky move potentially, but worth it for the shot.