May 25, 2013.
Aspen, Isaiah, Sam, Garett, Deana and I were out at Butler Park and had already started shooting the tail end of the chase scene that would begin at the local public library when we got the bad news: our Kaitlyn was having to drop the project. Work conflicted again and I could not possibly compromise – we were already going to have to backtrack a lot of what we’d already shot to put Kaitlyn back in, not to mention having completely cut one major scene which I had no idea yet how to rework.
Thankfully, our original Kaitlyn, Okoye, was back in town and so our other cast members went off to rouse her from her slumber and drag her out to Chautauqua Park, where we immediately started filming the first half of the prior day’s scene where Jamie’s treasures are stolen.
Funnily, we shot the payoff to the soccer ball joke, where Sam throws a ball at Kaitlyn and it comes back and hits him, before the setup, in which she kicks a ball that hits him in the head. Fun fact: the shot used in the movie in which Okoye kicks the ball and hits Sam is the sole take. Not because it was great (it was) but because the ball actually bounced off Sam’s head… and onto the camera – and me. Ow.
With Okoye in tow, we blazed through the two action/chase scenes in the morning and I started to feel much more positively about the way the project was going. Sure, there were things I knew could have been done better, but it had a direction, and for the first time since starting, I really started to think we might actually make this work, but I knew there was always the possibility that things could still go wrong.
The first scene I had completely edited together was the chase scene filmed on Day 2. The joke with Sam getting tended to was improvised on the day of.
We took lunch break at around a quarter to one and met back up at the Hot Springs Public Library, which was normally closed for Memorial Day weekend, but the head librarian, Cindy Messenger, made a special case just for us and opened it up for us to film. I cannot stress the gratitude I have for her. The library is a beautiful log and stone building, often referred to as “ski lodge” in style.
Finally, Garett, who had been tagging along with us since we started
filming, was able to step into his role as Brandon, who’d changed in the script from an admiring songwriter in an earlier draft to a more laid back bookish kid with a slight crush. The best part about the afternoon shoot was everything stuck to the script. I wasn’t worrying about who wasn’t present, wasn’t limited to half-scenes and didn’t have to work around effects shots. And because of this, we shot really efficiently… except one shot.
This shot. I wanted a better angle for the scene when Jamie gets the treasure out of the historical exhibit, and so I quickly ran around to the outside of the room and called action. With a pane of glass between the actors and the camera. You do the math.
After filming the beginning of the “training montage” scene outside the library (allowing Cindy to leave), we went to the Fall River Pioneer Museum and shot a brief section of the “treasure hunt” scene which was supposed to be a Legend of Zelda reference, then it was time to meet back up with Bridgett and finish filming the climactic battle scene.
While the original plan was to spread the fight out and end it closer to totally real abandoned mine on that location, tying into Dr. Lawrence’s story, we opted to contain it to the more central flat plain. The biggest problem that day was that I had completely
forgotten my tripod after arriving and hadn’t bothered to go retrieve it, or send someone to. Everything was handheld, for better or worse. On the one hand, some shots that should have been stabilized were wobbly, but on the other hand, I got creative with certain shots that I don’t know I would have necessarily done had I brought the sticks.
Bridgett turned in a perfectly evil performance and choreographed the minor sword combat undertaken by Sahera and Jamie, and Aspen scared us by delivering a blood-curling scream and we ended the day with the good guys beating the bad guy with nachos. At worst at this point, we had an awesome looking climax and a fairly fleshed out middle section. Now we just needed to flesh out the beginning.
The script had called for Ryan and Eric to come to Jamie’s house disguised as salesmen – frozen food salesman specifically. The problem was, our contacts with possible leads on either a giant parrot or giant chicken costume fell through. So on the way back to our cars at Cold Brook, we started listing off other potential disguises, but only found one that everyone could find funny: makeup sales ladies. And Bridgett, only confirming her awesomeness, volunteered to do the boys’ makeup and hair!
I came home and did the same as the night before: I watched the dailies, edited a reel, posted a schedule, and did the math on how much we had filmed. The total for May 25? Four Hours worth of footage. I was thrilled and, after quickly rewriting the frozen food sales scene to makeup ladies and rewriting the hotel scene to be set in another location and without Dorn present, I went to bed in a much better mood than the night before.