It’s a Wrap!

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Over seventy-two hours, ten gallons of coffee, and zero hours of sleep add up to another focus film weekend. God I love it! From Friday March 9th to Monday March 12th, I called a North Side motel my set / home for my movie Casual Encounters. I’d like to take you through what I considered to be an exciting shoot.

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I’ve always been honest about my experiences. There have been lots of great moments and some frustrating moments. I’ve found the frustrating moments are where the learning comes. So I guess I can say I learned a lot this weekend. One of the challenges I had going into the shoot was that I shot in the first week of the three weeks of shooting. This lead to preproduction concerns, specifically securing crew, finding locations, and other non-creative issues. I would have liked to have spent more time laying out how I wanted to shoot each scene.

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It was a tight shoot in a tiny little room, which will hopefully give the film the claustrophobic feel that I want. I’m thinking this is going to have a gritty sort of quirky drama, and when we add the editing and graphics, we are going to have a distinctive look.

We started on Friday at 11 AM. It turned out we needed one more room for that first day, so I had to renegotiate our initial deal. Unfortunately, I’m not the best negotiator, so the motel owner was happier than I was. As the crew set up, I went into one of the rooms and did a little spot cleaning where I found…how should I say this…reasons to do a little cleaning. But I’ve got to say this room was perfect for the gritty realism.

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We had a few on set crises causing us to shoot slower than I wanted. We did get some really good shots. The only problem is that put us behind schedule. And with the volume needed, there’s really not going to be any room for errors to get all of our shots in the next two days. When everyone went home, I ended up staying the night to watch the equipment. I really missed my bed that night.

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On the next day, we got started at 7 AM. Ivan, my DP (Director of Photography) did a great job in setting up the lights and getting the crew. Jerrod, my 1st AD (first assistant director), was able to at least keep us focused on the main goal of getting usable footage. The most interesting part of that day was when our neighbors “exercising” next door interrupted us. These things happen in an hourly motel.

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On the third day, we really had to haul a**. Jerrod switched into military mode and got the group moving. It was a race against the clock, but we got the shots we needed and some things we wanted. For film number two, I call that improvement and success. When I called wrap, I was ready to follow the rest of the crew home. Unfortunately it wasn’t going to happen. After setup, I still had to spend the night at the hotel.

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I always have lofty goals when going into a shoot. But the main goal is to get enough usable raw footage to tell the story. We did that, so I salute my cast and crew. On film number three, I’ll get all the shots I want.