Tuesday, September 8, 2009

End of Project 1's first weekend of Shooting

It's 2:41am and I'm still up from the coke I drank driving home. I'm blogging to update a little on our progress. We filmed Neil's film on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. We were at Echo Park Lake for two of those days and then at Wurstkuche and Grand Ave. It's very LA and very whimsical. I'm in love with the story and the visuals that accompany it. Next weekend, we will be shooting the fantasy sequences, which will have more choreography, dramatic lighting, and surrealistic qualities. I'm pretty stoked about that.

Some problems we ran into while shooting:
  • We lost a location and an actor very last minute but we hustled and got a location and an actor that ended up working (better) for the film.
  • Traffic was blaring at Echo Park Lake. Note to self: do not film there if there is a lot of dialogue.
  • Little Tokyo is relatively quiet on a Sunday morning until 8:30am. After that, traffic patterns are crazy, especially on an intersection like where Wurstkuche is located, where 4 streets meet.
  • Property managers of buildings in DTLA's financial district are extremely militant in keeping people off the property. We had to be on the sidewalk and if we ever spilled over to their property, security would come to move us. No wonder I couldn't get permission to film there.
  • We were one of four filmmakers on Grand Ave. on Sunday over labor day weekend shooting a scene. Everyone had the same idea as us.
  • Parking on Grand Ave. was unexpectedly horrible. We were expecting some delays from parking but we figured it was a Sunday and over labor day weekend but someone closed down the entire street and there were no parking 1pm-10pm on Sunday only signs everywhere. What luck! We had to park a few blocks away.
  • We had a prob with the batteries in the camera on our first day. We left it to charge in the rec/maintenance center at Echo Park but when we went to get it, it was closed and we were locked out. Luckily, an awesome classmate by the name of Josh, brought over a spare and SPARED us from not being able to shoot. We got the batteries unscathed the next day.
  • We also ran into a media card problem but we petitioned to use our 3rd card this weekend since the following weekend's footage will definitely all fit into one card. We were approved.
  • We were told that we are not allowed to use any 35mm lens adaptors. This news came really late into the game, AFTER our first weekend of shooting. We personally were going to rent one for the following weekend's shoot in order to accentuate the differences in reality in a cinematic style but we cannot do that anymore. I feel really bad for the people who already shot more than half their movies using the 35mm lens adaptors because they will most likely have to fight this against the administration, which is more work for them.
And for the good stuff:
  • We ended up filming at all our locations for free. We didn't even have to pay for permits due to the rule of three clause at Film LA and the nice people the locations who were way more than generous to us.
  • We saved a lot of money on props and food so we're still under budget unless we rent out expensive equipment for next weekend.
  • We have a consistent PA that came and will be coming to all the shoot dates. This is so incredibly helpful, especially when most of the crew members usually consist of other students who are all wrapped up in their own work. It's good to know people who can devote time and energy and consistency to help out who are not students.
  • We got some good wild lines using the DPMD sound kit, which will prove to be immensely helpful once I start editing.
  • The makeup artist was awesome, fast, and reliable. I hope to work with her again.
  • Of course, my partners were also awesome. They were diligent, positive, and professional.
Pics from the set:

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