Director's Pass: Out the Window (part 3)

Hey, so remember that last post where I said that MCAD had a second, fully-functional Arriflex 16SR?

Yesterday was a big shooting day for us. 8 AM to 8 PM, our final day at the house location, our final day with Mike, our final day with Melissa, our first day with Jim and Amity. We had… I don’t know how many scenes to get through, but it was a crapload.

Crew call was 8 AM. We got a lighting scheme set up in fairly short order, even though it was raining and we had to put up covers for the lights.

So remember that second SR? ‘Member?

Didn’t work.

Not a thing. Flipped the run switch, nothing happened. Took the battery out, took the magazine out, turned the inching knob, put the magazine back on, put the battery back on, took of the lens, checked the gate, put the lens back on, hit the test button… nothing. Well, I mean, sometimes it would run, but that only happened after you completely broke down the camera and put it back together again, and even then it only worked maybe one out of twenty times.

Anyway, short story? It was impossible to shoot with that camera. No frickin’ way. By 11:30 and we’d only been able to get one take. So Matt and Brandon and Kathy and I all whipped out our cell phones and started dialing everyone we could think of who might be able to get us a sync 16 camera on a Sunday afternoon.

My professor wasn’t answering her phone, and the other film professors we got in touch with didn’t have any leads, and Cinequipt is closed on the weekends, and nobody had any ideas, and so I told my actors to go home and come back for a panic day shoot in two weeks (not a fun prospect, but you gotta do what you gotta do). But just as Mike was walking out the door, Kathy got a call that sounded vaguely promising, so I told him to sit tight.

Turns out that having connections is a good thing, because Kathy knows a guy who knows a guy who works at IFP (Independent Feature Project) in St. Paul, and even though it’s closed on Sunday, the guy who knew the guy who knew Kathy said he could be at IFP in 20 minutes to let us in and check a camera package out to us.

So Matt and I leapt in the car and drove over there to pick it up, and even though nobody on our crew was a member they gave us a very good day rate (I don’t want to get too specific, but it was a number that started with zero and ended with zero), as long as we promised to seriously consider joining. Which I will do, as soon as I have money.

IFP’s camera worked.

We also discovered (or Brandon discovered, anyway) that MCAD’s camera COULD work, too, if the little battery connector doohickey were repaired (cheap, compared to the $10,000 that Arri quoted to MCAD many moons ago). I told this to media tech Alex today and he told me that although he thought that he may have broken his foot yesterday, MCAD has a battery belt that would bypass the problem entirely without even needing any repairs. Then he smiled ironically and limped off down the hall.

Anyway, we shot some scenes in the kitchen and then moved in to shoot a scene in the bathroom that Matt had already lit in our downtime, and just as we walked through the door, water started gushing from the ceiling, down onto the floor and our wired and running 300-watt light on its giant metal stand. Frenzied shouting ensued.

So that’s the kind of day we had.

Anyway, without going on interminably and to borrow a phrase from a friend, “all my hammers look like hammers, all my nails look like nails, and all my problems are identifiable and solvable.” Our shoot worked out, and Jim and Amity were amazing, and so were Jesse and Mike and Melissa, and it was Mike’s and Melissa’s last day, and everything turned out Fine.

Still, I’m hoping that today’s shoot (the final shoot of the film, on location at a restaurant this evening) is not quite so challenging. That being said… what would I complain about?

2 thoughts on “Director's Pass: Out the Window (part 3)

  1. Wow. Sounds like an epic day. I laughed out loud (lol’d, if you will) when I imagined the frenzied shouting as water poured onto your light. Good times.

    Congrats on a job well done, though!

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