Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reflections on Water

I should have done this 6 days ago, but I was so tired after the fact that I just flopped, watching Battlestar Galactica until I fell asleep in my chair. Today I was back on the project, so I thought I'd do this better late than never.

Last Thursday I shot a very short film called 90% Water, the story of a guy who doesn't know how to share who he is, exemplified in his secret collection of water samples from home, which he pulls out in a last ditch effort to stave off the end of his relationship with the girl he moved away from home to be with. Sounds complicated, but its three pages and was relatively straightforward to shoot.

Friends Dan and Melanie donated their acting talents, Becky did sound, Mark handled sound tech, and the camera, donated by Dan, was in the hands of yours truly. It had been a while since I'd shot anything with actors, and Dan and Melanie had limited experience with screen acting. We were all in it for the learning, and as such had a lot of fun in the doing.

The morning started out with some prop preparation, adding various elements to water to try and achieve different appearances, like melted snow and dirty harbor, as well as cutting up tissue paper for the wrapping of mason jars. Becky and Melanie were in full command of the tissue paper. We were ready to roll when an audio problem that took the better part of an hour to resolve suddenly emerged. Everyone kept their cool, Mark saved the day, and when we were finally set to get shooting, it all started running like clockwork.

Dan and Melanie were very easy to direct, and we got most of our shots in one take. I wanted to keep things rolling along, not just because we only had Dan for two hours of shooting, but because I was insisting on letting my instincts guide me. If I felt we got it, we moved on with no second guessing. I also wanted to trust my actors, as well as ensure I wasn't putting too much strain on them. If things were moving along it was because they were getting it done right, and they could see that in the speed with which were moving along.

After a short scene on the couch, the majority of the conversation takes place in a bedroom. After some productive rehearsal, I rattled off a master and two mediums, covered the entrances and exits, finished off with some closeups and cutaways, and called it a wrap. I could have kept shooting, there was still some time, but I believed I had everything I needed, everyone was feeling good, so I trusted my instinct and made the call. It was something of a high. Then came the exhaustion and my comfy, comfy chair.

The camera had to leave town so I was without a means of digitizing. Fortunately NIFCO were more than willing to help, so I went down there today with my MacBook and plugged in to their deck for a quick log and batch. It was great seeing Jean, Steve and Justin again, and they said I could come by to use the deck like that any time. I plan on doing more quick shorts like this whenever I can, so that was a great piece of news.

I was skimming through the footage as I logged, and ran out for a coffee and a haircut while it digitized, so I haven't had a chance to view it all in full detail just yet, but what I did see was looking pretty good to me. I'll be editing starting tomorrow, and plan to be done by Sunday as I finally start work Monday morning at 7am. I can't guarantee anyone will ever get to see it, we all took part to learn and may just view it ourselves as a learning tool, but I can tell you no matter how it turns out, it's already been a lot of fun.

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