All posts tagged production
Updating Paige & the Noisy Crickets! : 03/17/11
last night was the Premiere of the pilot episode of “Updating Paige.”
it was part of the “Web Series Unplugged” series that shows at El Cid. it’s a pretty cool idea to have a venue for these sorts of projects. and to create a place where the people who are making them can come together and interact.
the show went extremely well, we got a LOT of laughs. and not to toot our our horn too much…but we definitely stood out among the crowd.
a fair amount of our cast and crew were there, plus some of my filmmaker friends from other projects. it was really cool to introduce Tony & Carey, the producer and editor of APT. 5 that had NEVER met before.
“Updating Paige” was actually shot quite a while ago…in fact, it was the week after we filmed “Certified.” it was a pretty fun shoot, but a couple of things stick out in my head.
first, it was HOT. really really hot. like record breaking 110+ degree heat. luckily it was a night shoot, but even still…that sort of heat will drain you.
sorry, I don’t have any pictures illustrating “sweaty and tired” but here’s one of me goofing around.
second, the crickets.
we were shooting at night, but the story takes place during the day. this isn’t a huge deal. day-for-night and night-for-day shoots are done all the time. we got a couple shots when we first set up where you could SEE outside while the sun was still up.
these would help reinforce the idea that the story took place during the “day.” the rest of the shoot it would be up to our talented director of photography, Matt Irwin, and his crew to craft the light in such a way that when a person watches the final piece, they would automatically think “day.”
the space was rather large, and because of our budget Matt did not have a ton of lights to work with…but they DID it. sometimes when I’m watching it I forget that we shot a LARGE percentage of the project after midnight. I don’t think anyone would ever pick up on this…and that’s a good thing.
however, there was an issue with sound. a very distinct “nighttime” sound that kept coming around.
when you are trying to sell the location “coffee shop during the day” a bunch of noisy, nonstop chirping crickets do NOT assist you in the endeavor.
and the inside of our location didn’t help matters. it had high ceilings, a tin roof, and exposed pipes and duct work that the little buggers would hide behind.
we sent PA’s up on ladders. we had grips clap and stomp their feet. we stopped and waited. heck, we even PRETENDED to call “action” to get them to start.
we’d smash a few, scare a few, and trick a few…but then they’d be back.
finally we just had to say “heck with it” and just keep filming. the crickets weren’t going to leave and at this rate…neither were we.
and some of us had to work in the morning. (myself included)
so we powered through and finally wrapped at about 3:30am. I was able to get a cool 4 ish hours of sleep before heading to work for a 9am session.
but in the end…my amazing sound guy, Steve Romero came through. the crickets are gone. in fact, I DEFY anyone to find any cricket sounds in the final video.
and here’s your chance to try –
p.s. there was also a yelling landlord…but that’s another story for another less-digital time.
night shoots w/ the Green Hornet : 02/14/11
exciting news – “Updating Paige” is finished! and we have a premiere date scheduled. there will be a screening at “Web Series Unplugged” on Wednesday March 16th at El Cid in Los Angeles. details on the screening series can be found at facebook.com/webseriesunplugged
expect to see it online shortly thereafter! since that’s a month away, I’ve decided to release a film that’s been in my hip pocket for a while.
back when preparing to shoot the Grand Vanity “Got A Nerve” video I realized we were paying to have a camera package all weekend, but the music video shoot was just Saturday. it seemed a shame to not use the gear both days. so, I floated an idea to my producer, Tony Federico – should we try and shoot another project on Sunday? he liked the idea of filming something else, as long as we had a manageable idea. we asked Brett Pawlak, our director of photography and he was down for the challenge as well.
we had the gear, we had the crew, now we just needed a project. I went to my old sketchbooks and poured through them. somewhere there must be an idea that would fit. something that could be done with a skeleton crew, with basically no budget, in less than a day of shooting…
here’s a scan of the original idea. (click on it to see bigger)
over the next few days we worked on getting the idea flushed out and figuring out what locations we wanted to use. but we were still missing an actor.
the day of the Grand Vanity shoot came and we still didn’t have talent. Tony posted an ad on craigslist, then throughout the day he checked the responses and forwarded any promising prospects on to me.
but it wasn’t until the morning of the shoot that we confirmed our actor. Tony gave him a call and he was in. Jerome would be meeting us at our first location, the Huntington Library that afternoon.
just like with the music video, the changing weather had provided us with an amazing backdrop for the shoot.
wait, let me stop for a minute. Huntington Library is a very interesting place. it’s not a “library” in the way your local public library is…and it’s not just a park…or a museum…or a garden. it’s a bit all of those put together. you can look at rare books, see art, wander the gardens, or have high tea there. it’s really an amazing place.
so just outside was this row of ginkgo biloba trees. their leaves were brilliant yellow. the wind would gust and send a shower of them floating down. it was amazing. and we filmed it.
next we ventured into the park. one of the advantages of shooting on a DSLR is that people don’t bother you… for the most part you look like you are shooting “real” pictures. I’m sure eventually people will get savvy to this, but for now there is an incredible amount of access that this format affords.
there is NO WAY we would have been able to afford to permit this location. it’s a non-starter. there was no reason to even consider asking about it.
but, grab a DSLR, have a small crew, don’t spend too much time “directing” your actor…and security guards will walk right by you.
as the sun set we packed up and headed to our next location – Century City. I think it was on one of my long bus rides shortly after moving to Los Angeles that I experienced the strangeness of Century City for the first time. here was a group of large, modern buildings…but at night there was NO ONE around. it was like something out of “Omega Man.” eerie to say the least.
however, when we got to the location we found out someone else was there…namely Michel Gondry and the very large production of “The Green Hornet.” this actually turned out to be quite a boon for us. Sony spared no expense in shining light. three giant sun trucks, each with 15 10K lights bounced light all around the normally darkened streets. and we used it.
here’s one of our takes that was interrupted by a car chase. (how rude!)
it was a very low key and easy going shoot. we didn’t have any set locations, or a script for that matter…but it didn’t really matter. everyone was up for the adventure and we took what came our way and made the most of it.
the post on this project went as smoothly as the production. Carey Williams edited, Jeff McDonoungh did the score, Steve Romero did the sound design, and Bruce Cathcart did some stabilization and color correction.
and here it is… enjoy!