The Scene That Will Not Die is now dead. And not because we filmed it this week. Yes, scene #3 is the only scene in my screenplay to be given the proverbial axe. The scene, a conversation between Becca and Chenney’s characters, was the one intended to establish Becca’s character and let the audience know that she was going to the party of her former roommate’s. It was Chenney’s character’s only scene, and it was set in a parking lot that I didn’t specifically have permission to film in. It also set up the fact that Meredith owned two pet mice that she had in college, which is referred to again at the end, but the initial reference is not absolutely necessary. And the trouble I was going to, and putting Becca and Chenney through, was slowly but surely becoming NOT WORTH IT.
The good news is, giving up means I am done filming! Hurray for failure.
I have been in contact with the guy at Studio 35 about my screening. I have a handful of dates to choose from in June and July. Once the date is set, Chenney is going to help me promote the event with her awesome marketing prowess.
I also sent out an invitational e-mail to all involved regarding the cast party next Friday. This is now my deadline for completion of the trailer. Speaking of editing, I am getting more familiar with Pinnacle and the process is getting a little easier. I have trouble-shooted (trouble-shot?) most of my initial concerns, such as how to make sure footage can be set aside for a blooper reel, how to label scenes with names (ex: Scene #24), and the basic editing tools and functions.
I have uploaded five out of my eight tapes of footage (that’s eight hours… for this “short” film). Three more tapes and much less harddrive space to go. That said, I have noticed some things I would like to change. I may be pre-empting this here, but I would like to start my (first) list of things I’ve learned the hard way.
- I need to invest in some proper lighting. Some of the footage is darker than I thought it was. That glowing little display screen has misled me far too often; it all looked so bright and shiny on screen, but now on Brandon’s computer I can see how it really looks. Additionally, I found out a few weeks ago that the camera’s display is NOT an entirely accurate portrayal of the frame in terms of size, either; it cuts off the very perimeter of the shot, so if I thought the boom mic was “just out of frame” at any point, it could turn out to actually be just in it. Crap in a hat!* I haven’t come across this problem yet, but I still have footage to review.
- If I could do it again, I would make sure everyone involved was available on weekends. When I cast Becca, she was working Monday through Friday at the zoo. Unfortunately, the beginning of filming coincided perfectly with the beginning of the zoo’s busy season, and she was changed over to weekends. We all thought she could still do it, and really, she did. But at a cost. Her scenes could never start before dinner time, and she was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. She is my flipping hero for sticking it out, but I would never want to do that to anyone again. Additionally, if I could start over, I would have scheduled more scenes on any given day. We could have probably filmed this thing in four weekends with the pace we maintained.
- Looking over the footage, I can’t believe how many times the camera was rolling when it really, really didn’t need to be. Granted, this will surely promote a healthy amount of fodder for that blooper reel, but seriously. Eight hours of footage? Not necessary.
- I would like to have stuck to shot lists. Remember that one entry where I mentioned making a list of all the different shots/angles I planned to shoot that weekend? And how you never heard anything about a shot list again until now? That’s because I got lazy. I did them for the first several days of shooting, but then got too confident. I felt like I probably knew what I was doing by then and completely disregarded the fact that even professionals are capable of forgetting one crucial shot, and use lists every day. Hopefully this won’t come back to bite me in the butt. Also on this topic, I wish I’d had more of a variety of cutaways and inserts. I am pretty sure I have enough, but al lot of them are really similar.
- If I do another film this way, I am definitely going to be making a LOT more copies at the local library. I wanted to print out copies of each day’s scenes/lines for each person every time, but didn’t. This led to several questions being repeated each day of filming. “Which scene number is this?” “Do you have an extra copy of the script I could use today?” “Was that the right line?” “How far into the screenplay is this scene?” Etc.
I have an idea for full-length screenplay. However, I’m not sure how feasible it would be to film without having to pay someone in order to use a very specific location. On the other hand, Kevin Smith filmed “Clerks” in the convenience store he was currently employed at (with permission) without being charged so nothing’s impossible. So we’ll see. Maybe there will be some extremely down-on-its-luck establishment that will open its doors to me.
*To give credit where credit is due, I stole this phrase from the Diablo Cody book I read last week. I may very well use it every week now, particularly in situations at work, when things don’t go as planned.