Category Archives: Production

Film #3: The Shoot


The shoot for the third film last week went great. I felt more prepared for this one then I had for either of the prior two films. I had a production schedule, a full storyboard for the whole film, and a shot-list; which all proved to be invaluable as I had more then 100 shots to get over 6 locations during the course of one day. But, thanks to some semblance of organization as well as a great cast and crew, we were able to make the schedule and get the entire film shot in a day.

The film stars Allison Welch, Fox Clark, Todd Tolson, Tom Clement, and Derek Emery. Derek also doubled as crew along with my friend Chris to slate each shot and help me stay on top of the shot-list and storyboard. My wife Christina and I filled in as extras in the crowd scenes.

We got started at 9:30am, shooting a dinner scene between Allison and Derek at my apartment. Fox showed up around the time we finished up that scene and we headed over to Journey Community Church (where Christina works) to shoot the rest of the film. We primarily shot in the middle school room, using the stage and some side rooms to create the different locations. We spent most of the rest of the day in that room shooting the majority of the film. We finished up in there around 6:00pm and went to a back parking lot to shoot the training sequence with Allison and Tom. The shoot was finished and wrapped by 7:30pm. It was a long day, but good!

I posted a few photos from the day on Flickr here. Be sure to check out the one of Fox as “Sven” posing with our Great Dane, Darby. Classic.

Film #1: The Shoot

The shoot on Tuesday turned out well. But wow, it’s been a while since I’ve produced and directed anything completely from scratch. As I mentioned, writing the script wasn’t exactly a quick and disciplined process. Nor was it done with much time to really plan the shoot as well as I would have liked. No, I finished writing the final draft of the script at around 7:30am the morning of the shoot. I spent the next hour storyboarding as much as I could (which ended up being about half the script), and then charged through getting the apartment and equipment set up for the shoot. And by equipment, I mean camera and tri-pod; and a couple of old work lights…this is a no-budget production after all.

At 9:30am, my brother Blake (the lead in the film) arrived, followed by my friend, Chris who offered to help out any way he could. When I went to actually print out the script, my printer decided to stop working. It printed out one page of the script, followed by a page missing random lines and half-lines of text, followed by white sheets of paper. I switched cartridges, but it did nothing. The cartridge had ink, the printer head was moving across the page, but all I received was blank paper. Not wanted to waste too much time, I decided to shoot off of my storyboards (which as you’ll recall is only half complete).

We got off to something of a slow start (which was entirely my fault – a result of not being in the habit of running a shoot), but eventually we got a good pace going. Chris had to leave halfway through the shoot; but just before he left, my friend Allison was able to come over to help out. Their help was indispensable. Of course the fun part of the shoot came when I ran out of storyboards. I would periodically check the script on my computer to make sure I was still on track, but for the most part the second half of the film was shot completely from the hip. You’ll have to let me know if you can tell.

I’ve already logged and imported all of the footage and I’m really excited about how some of the shots turned out. If nothing else, I know I’ve got a few good-looking shots that I’m proud of. I’ve got a lot of work to do on the sound as well as color-grading. Light was hard through most of the shoot. My apartment does not fill with natural light well (which is what I had been counting on) so I was constantly using a mixture of natural and tungsten light and only really felt like I got it right a couple of times. So, I’m counting on my ability to fix it in post (which is never a good thing to count on…seriously). I’m planning on shooting the title sequence this weekend as well as some foley sound; and then it’s all about the editing.

All in all, the day went well. I was able to shoot the script with a fair amount of coverage, dive head-first back into production, and have fun at the same time. Shooting this film gave me a lot to think about and remember going into the production of the next one. Namely, how I plan and organize the schedule and shoot beforehand.

Stay tuned for the completed film in just under a week.