I Found My Notes


Today, looking through old material to stimulate my mind for the Reel Grok column, I found my notes—an hourly diary of sorts—from a teaser shoot of many years ago.  While writing the screenplay, we shot a 2-minute preview-trailer as part of a fundraising package to get money to shoot the whole film. We ignorantly shot the teaser way before the script was ready for pitching.  The teaser shoot was supposed to be “no budget”; actually we budgeted $2000 and ended up spending $4000.  It was an 8-day shoot and a 6-month post-production process.  The following diary from one particular shoot day made me giggle.

  • 1:00 AM.   Makeup emails me. She has a paid gig tomorrow to do a voice-over.  Not makeup for a voice-over, ha, ha: she's also a voice actor.  It was a last minute call for her.  She won't be on set tomorrow at 8:00 AM.

  • 8:00 AM.  Call time for crew.

  • 8:15 AM.  DP calls me on my cell.  His camera is locked in Dave's apartment and Dave is not answering the bell.

  • 8:45 AM.  DP calls.  Can I please get a #73 Partytime Violet gel for him at Marty's (specifically not at the other camera place) for tomorrow's shoot?

  • 9:00 A.M. 25 Extras arrive.  They are to run down an alley and scream while chasing a wolf. This scene is scheduled to shoot at 9:30 and wrap at 11:30.

  • 9:15 AM.  The AD and the Director are watching porn on a portable DVD player in the AD's car.  I ask the AD to call the DP.

  • 9:18 AM. The DP is now trying to climb in the window of Dave's apartment.

  • 10:00 AM.  DP is borrowing a camera from Chris.  He will be here as soon as he can.

  • 10:30 AM.  We are shooting this scene in an alley.  There are no bathrooms; we figured people could hold it for 2 hours; then we could release the extras while the principal cast & the crew could go to the next location and use the bathrooms there.  However, the extras have been drinking Crafty's coffee for an hour and now they have to pee.  I buy a not-in-the-budget $100 Tully's Coffee card and send everyone over there to drink latte's and use their bathroom.

  • 10:45 AM.  Skadi, the dog who is playing the Wolf, wants Tully's, too.  Not coffee; just croissants. She licks my face.

  • 11:00 AM.  The DP will be here at noon with a borrowed camera.

  • 11:15 AM.  I drive to Marty's for the gel.  They do not have Partytime Violet; they do not have#73. I call the Gaffer; his cell phone rings and rings.  I call the DP; his cell phone goes straight to voicemail.  So, I buy 10 different gels in the violet range.  Unbudgeted.

  • Noon. DP arrives withe Chris' camera.12:05 PM.  Since we're in an alley, we're stealing electricty from an outside outlet belonging to who-knows-whom.  The team plugs in the lights, camera, audio gear and monitor.  The lights blow.

  • 12:45 PM.  Camera gang sets up the shots without lights.

  • 12: 50 PM.  Monitor won't power up.  The Director can use the on-board monitor.

  • 12:55 PM. The outlet where we have the audio deck plugged in begins to sizzle.  Sound Recordist will run on batteries.

  • 1:20 PM.  Roll tape.  Roll sound.  Action.

  • 1:21 PM.  Batteries on the audio deck are out.  Okay, the scene has no dialog; just screaming and barking.  We can ADR all that.  Or whatever.

  • 1:26 PM.  Roll tape.  Action.

  • 1:28 PM.  It turns out Skadi the Dog LOVES this scene.  “Chase me, chase me!”  After the DP yells, "Cut," she turns around and jumps on me and knocks me down to top off the game of chase with a little mud wrestling. Did I mention she weighs 130 pounds? She slurps my face. “Bark, bark, bark.”

  • 1:30 PM. A little frizzy dog inside one of the buildings is looking out the window longingly, scratching the window, "Let me out, I wanna be chased, too. I wanna knock people down, too."

  • 1:36 PM.  Roll tape.  Action.

  • 1:40 PM.  Re-set camera.

  • 1:58 PM.  Roll tape.  Action.

  • 2:03 PM.  Another $100 coffee card and more peeing.

  • 3:30 PM.  Wrap this location.

  • 4:30 PM.  Arrive at second location.  The Caterer has fallen and cracked her elbow. Somebody gives her a Vicodin and she will be loopy for the rest of the day.

  • 4:40 PM.  Our director likes the look of a restaurant on the same block as the previously planned city park location for this Scene 13. We had not approached the restaurant about using their location, but Director walks in and gets them to give us electricity and let us do crazy things on their sidewalk in front of their large, beautiful window. Just like that!

  • 6:00 PM.  A delivery man walks into one take. He spikes the camera and says, "You can have a delivery guy in the film, right?" 6:25 PM.  Actor playing Cop twists the arm of actor playing Abby.  She starts crying for real.  Director says, "Circle that take."

  • 8:30 PM.  When I return to my automobile at the end of the day, I see that someone has left in my back seat a box with:
      1. a stuffed rainbow trout of not particularly impressive size or looks
      2. a baseball uniform
      3. a plastic gun
      4. matching pink lace bras in five sizes
      5. DAT cables
      6. men's long underwear

I have no idea who left this box for me, nor most of the items in it.  Did they all arrive together?  Or did various people bringing various items all leave them in the same box at various times of the day?

#3 is for tomorrow's video game scene.

#5 obviously is for Scott or his assistant—but why it's in a box of wardrobe and hand props, who knows.

#1, no idea; no clue.  Someone else's film?

#2, no idea; no clue.  An extra forgot his clothes and went home naked?

#4, a proposition?  From my husband?  A stalker?

#6, all I can say is, “The Costume Designer must have some weird thing going on the side.”

All will be revealed to me tomorrow.  I am sure.

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