Our last day of principal photography. Our location: the Briarwood soundstage next to the REI on Northeast Expressway. Our mission: almost 9 pages of script including the final scene and shot of the film.
Day 12 - Except for day 1, I don't think I was ever on time. I averaged about 15 minutes late everyday. Today it was thirty due to some heavy road construction and a road closure on Briarwood Rd., so I had plenty of company in tardiness. Our script supervisor never showed up at all and Glenda, if you're reading this, we missed you, but how could you desert us for what many postulate was a B-O-Y? Our G & E crew somehow plummeted from about 8 or nine on the first day to 2 on the last, so the PAs pitched in performing light gags.
Our DP Adam just mentioned this a few minutes ago and I think there is a lot of truth in his observation. Shooting the last shot of the film on the last day of filming is special. More than that, it feels right, natural. I'm a big believer in having the first shot of a film and the last shot be exceptional or memorable in some way. When you see a film that has really thought through these two shots, then give them a little extra respect. It's the first impression you give an audience of your film. How could you not make it extraordinary?
Our shooting was of the final scene was delayed for several hours today because of a fire about a mile south of our soundstage. It attracted five local news helicopters and since the Briarwood soundstage is not soundproof AT ALL, we could not complete the scene until dark. The actor playing Watkins, on seeing the location of the plumes of smoke, commented, "Isn't the Pink Pony right around there?" It turned out to be an apartment fire. Since I am bloodied for the final scene, I had to unbloody myself so we could continue shooting, which isn't as annoying as you might believe. Our make-up artist Gretchen is fortunately very good at consistently making the bloody face look exactly the same each time. Local filmmaker Jacob Gentry had a cameo today as an agent with a shotgun. He had a very thin mustache and he looked Asian somehow, even though he's as American as apple pie.
Most of the fun had by me today was the front projection Fear and Loathing inspired montage. We drove the Blood Car onto the soundstage and filmed Archie and Denise driving around acting crazy, drinking, running people over. For a good portion of it, Alex directed me with "Tell us some jokes." Since I don't know any real jokes, I came up with some rather stellar non sequitur jokes. These may not appear funny on the page, but when delivered, they're hilarious. At least to me. I think the reason I wouldn't make a good stand-up comedian is that I laugh at my own jokes. But that's the only way I can convince people to laugh at my jokes, because they laugh at me laughing at my own jokes. Or they just look at me like I'm an idiot. Nevertheless, a few examples:
What do you get when you cross a Vegan with a gold coin? A bank.
What did the Vegan say to the vampire? I need to refinance my car loan.
A rabbi, a butcher, a priest, two Satans, God, the entire Swedish basketball community, and five vegans walk into a bar and the bartender says, "We don't have room for anyone else."
What do you call a vegan at a protest? Unemployed.
Some actors use the method technique to submerge themselves into their character for scenes like this. I use a candy called airheads.
The front projection was shot and edited by our 2nd Unit DP Hugh and local filmmaker Jon Swindall. It looked fabulously weird and luckily no one suffered a seizure. I could have sworn I saw an image of Nosferatu in one of the plates. They shot plates for all sides of the car.
Today felt like an all day party and we just happened to be making a film. There was more laughing on set today than usual and more laptops, too.
Blood Car has changed me. I think I am more sentimental than was when we began. Just like Dr. Seuss's The Grinch story, my heart has grown three sizes. Maybe not that much, but it feels bigger. The FWW guys and I have always talked and jammed about making a feature. From the days when we were still in film school to the summers after graduation we've wished in myriad ways for this. We've envied other local filmmakers for mustering the money and skills to put their scripts onto the screen. Now we can stand amongst them. Don't throw up but this is a dream realized for many of us. More than that, it's encouragement to continue making films and pursuing the most complicated way to make art that there is.
This will be my last post for a while on the topic of Blood Car, but I'll update things as I see fit. I finally found a really good reason to succumb to the blogging trend and it was fruitful and enjoyable and cathartic. Now if I can only find a really good excuse to start a myspace account.
thanks for reading.