Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mission DP Miles's Thesis Shoot: Complete!

Director and I checking out the shot.
So last Friday my junior thesis shoot wrapped. I had assumed that the moment I wrapped I would be fully alleviated of all of my stress, but this was not the case! Instead, I spent the next week really cramming in all of the prep work for my best friend Miles's thesis shoot. His thesis "Round About the Cauldron" is about a teenage witch who has to let go of her long lost old childhood friendship in order to develop a new and current one.

The main things I had to prep were a shot list, storyboard, and lined script. Before being able to do any of this I had to make sure I fully understood the subtext and meaning and where the emotional beats were in the script. Miles and I made sure we were on the same page.

Storyboard still- moon light rim.

I took stills with some stand-ins (my friends...) for the storyboards. It was great seeing how a set and some groovy lighting set-ups could completely transform a space. The whole film takes place in the secret hide-out woods location of these witches. The only light sources are the fire and the moon light (which are also symbolic of the protagonist's, Noctua's, two choices: to either hold onto the past, or let go and allow the future)!
Storyboard still.
Storyboard still.

 On set I was so grateful to have all of this prep work done. The A.D., Irene (who is one of my dear friends), was able to make a fantastic schedule by using my shot list and meeting with Miles and I to discuss our needs. However, in the heat of the moment, at times I found it difficult to look back over my packet of materials when trying to juggle with the quickly disappearing time.

Finding myself stuck between the actors and the set...

The best part of this experience... well, I've gotta say it may of been using the shoulder-rig. It was so unbelievable heavy and my whole body is honestly aching as I write this- specifically my back and hips. Gosh darn! I remember quivering while getting some of the shots, trying so hard to hold in my shrills of pain. On top of all of that, my body, as quoted by many people on set, contorted into some of the most awkward positions in order to hold myself up.

Anyways, it was a lovely, stressful, and fun experience. Everyone on set was nice to work with and the actors all had a light in their eyes that was wonderful to be in the presence of. Guess we'll see how the film turns out!

Setting up the shoulder rig- with my amazing AC, Nick, by my side!
On a side note, I've been doing a bit more editing of my thesis, Girly. I'm trying to get a complete rough cut done as soon as possible so that I can send it off to my music composer and have him start working on the score. Music, as I will accidentally tell you time and time again, is one of the most important parts of a film (in my opinion of course).... like seriously!

Going on a relaxing trip to Traverse City with some friends in a few hours. Our downtown ritual generally consists of sushi, stocking up on chocolate, and chilling at a nifty coffee shop where I become a human-cliche as I sip down my chai among the coffee drinkers. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love coffee. In fact, because I had iced chai last night as a celebration for finishing Miles' shoot (the director, AD, and myself all got iced chais- it was miraculous) I probably will get double shots of espresso with lots of cream and sugar today! So, adieu!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Shoot wrapped- post production begins!

Miles and I

On Friday we wrapped the shoot! I had assumed that upon screeching the words "that's a wrap!" a sudden sense of relief would shower down upon me- but this was not the case. On Thursday I am actually DPing my best friend Miles' junior thesis (he was actually my AD and gosh darn he is amazingly organized and focused!) So, I've been busy preparing for that. Last night I updated the shot list and drew out some schematics for camera placement. After about an hour of that I went into a trance-like state, jamming out to crazy accordion music, dancing alone in a little editing room below my dorm into the wee hours, playing out his movie in my head over and over again... ohhhh yeah.

The actors surviving!
But back to my thesis! Both days were a time crunch which seems to be that of the inevitable. I did basically get all of the shots I wanted... I mean, a few times we did have to cut some shots, but being the oddity I am, I managed to find a way to get them anyways. (On top of that I added in some inserts we hadn't been planning...!) The second day was much more stressful. Within the first minute of the shoot we flip-flopped the schedule. Heck that was confusing. Rather than shooting the outdoor scene last, we decided to shoot it first due to the fear that the sunset was coming earlier than we had planned for. But the worst part of the day was shooting outside. Everyone froze to death. It was around 10 degrees F.

My DP and I checking out the set-up!
I am beginning to cut a rough of the film. My biggest motivator to get it done is the music. I have a composer from France who will begin to work on the score once I send him my first cut. Music is one of the most important parts of a film for me. Almost all of my favorite films are loved due to their score more so than anything else- for instance, Amelie, Coraline, and Nightmare Before Christmas. (I sure as heck love those movies for their overall package, but I particularly am drawn to the whimsical music.)
Key grip and gaffer!

Due to limited time and tight scheduling I had to cut out my very prized beginning and end dolly. It was a hard sacrifice to make, but I made an exciting trade off: I am going to animate the beginning and end! One of my close friends (Irene) is going to do some drawings for me and then I am going to do the animation in After Effects.

Anyways, I gotta go back to workin on my friend's thesis! Wish me luck!

Most of the crew~