This time the call-time for the crew is 6.30pm, at a gas station/car repair shop. It was nice to have the opportunity to sleep in and ‘store’ some of that sleep energy, cause we all know tonight’s gonna be a long shoot. Lots of set-ups, by which I mean setting up the lighting, camera, boom, power outlets and cables and on and on. I’m really learning to appreciate the challenges grips, gaffers, DPs and ACs have to tackle. How do you avoid shadows, where to place the boom without casting a shadow, which angle works the best, where’s that humming sound coming from, don’t plug this in here or you’re gonna trip the breaker, gah! It’s endless!
Then there’s the production and set design, the props, the wardrobe, make-up and FX, catering – no wonder it’s so expensive to make movies…
Eventually the cast and crew are all here. We say our ‘hellos’ and everybody tends to their responsibilities. We all know each other a little better by now and a certain level of trust has set in.
Production Designer Michelle Vorachack discussing finishing touches to the set with Robert Ozeran.
Setting up the next shot (in this photo: Joel Boling, Nicolas Simonin, Olivia Kuan, Jeff Corrales, Zach Petschek, Stacy Sievek)
Temperatures drop quickly and I’m glad I brought enough clothing layers. The gas station is going through some kind of partial remodel and only has one restroom – it’s filthy, but at least it’s functioning. Trouble is, every time somebody uses it and closes the door afterwards, it’s locked. This happens a few times and after we get tired of chasing down the one employee with the key, we finally put a sign on the inside, warning about the hassle. Some people still miss it, though. Le sigh.
Nzinga and Jen arrive with the food and our gaffer Stacy Sievek and his grip Mike are trying to figure out where they can plug in the coffee and hot water machines without overloading the system. Afton is basically doing her makeup/fx out of the back of a SUV in the parking lot and has to rely on the little extra light Stacy already set up for her. After some back and forth, and yes, losing power, they get it all figured out and we can finally have some hot coffee or tea.
Nzinga and Jonno staying warm with some hot beverages
We shoot inside and outside the gas station throughout the night. I prefer the inside because with all our bodies once again crammed into a tiny space, it gets cozy warm and we get a nice break from the cold.
There are some onlookers, which is fine most of the time and they keep their distance, but as the night progresses and people head either out (it is a Saturday night), or home, some of them think it’s amusing to disrupt the set. They squeal their tires, shout obscenities or rev up their engines at the stoplight. Oh well. What can you do? Just ignore them and eventually they’ll go away. Don’t feed the trolls, right?
All of that nonsense dies down after 2 or 3am and we can continue undisturbed. In between set-ups Michelle, Afton, Hanako (who handles props) and I goof around to keep awake; and Jonno chimes in with a little ditty or joke here and there. By now we all have developed a great rapport with each other and we have our running jokes, inside jokes and pick on each other mercilessly. We take pics in funny poses with Scott in his full make-up and snack at the food table whenever we can.
I get my one moment of glory when I catch a pretty big continuity error before filming it and it garners me a high-five from Nicolas and Jonno (it has to do with the appearance of Jonno’s character ‘Vincent’). Yeay!!! I caught it in time and feel vindicated in my job (or however that expression goes). Moment’s over. Back to work again.
Rolling. Slate. Take X. Action! Cut! . . . Repeat until about 4 am. By this time, most of us are pretty quiet. Cold and exhausted.
Just a little more and finally we wrap at 5.23am. We clean up our mess, pack in our gear, hug each other and head home. I drive cinematographer Olivia back to her hotel since it’s in my area and pull up into my driveway just as it getting light out. The birds have started chirping. Time for bed. Or coffin? I feel like a vampire ;)
Stay tuned for Day #3!