Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Terrortory 2: One Segment Down...Part 2

Alex was nice enough to come out at 5:30pm Saturday to redo her audio. We also recreated the entire scene without dialogue--so I have a foley'd track I can use when I use any wild audio. If you had the time, you should do this for every scene you shoot--not just because it will save you during your actual edit, but it will make doing an M and E(Music and Effects) track for foreign super simple.

Good news was we got Zig back--he's production manager, but also a jack of all trades. Anything I need, he can get done. Takes a lot of weight off of me.

We hightail it to the woods. Some of our creatures are already there making themselves up. Matt, who plays Smiling Jack is also there. I like people who show up early.

I think this pic is far enough it doesn't give much away

Zig and I stack my dolly up with as much stuff as we can fit, and I drag this dolly through the woods. Matt goes with us so we can leave him at the location with the equipment, and go back for more.

The dolly works like shit. Too many roots, uneven ground, then like 100 feet of uphill sand at the end. The cart flips sideways twice, making us reload it. 

By the time I get to the location I am DRENCHED in sweat. Zig and I go back and get another load, do it again. I drag it again, cuz frankly Zig isn't a big guy and this thing is heavy.

At the end of THAT run, I feel like I'm having a heart attack. 

The thing is, I'm a pretty immature guy. I wear a hat all the time--and have since I was like 20--but the thing is, it hides that I'm actually losing my hair now. So it's these things that make people think I'm in my late 30's. I am not. I am going to be 47 this year, and as much as I kid myself that it's not THAT old, it is. Especially when you do ZERO exercise other than when you're shooting a movie.

We hustle back again to get the last of the stuff and see who else has showed up. Most of our monsters have, but they're going to wait until my brother arrives with the Midnight Clown, who's getting painted, and they'll all come as a group.

Me, Josh, and Zig head into the woods with the last of the stuff and it's at this point that I realize I have made a huge mistake--I am wearing my prescription sunglasses, and I have forgotten my regular glasses. It's getting pitch black, especially in the woods. You see, my wife's truck broke down while I was waiting for Zig to get to my house, so I had to run her to a friend's house to get another car, which made me slightly late. I got flustered, forgot my glasses.

And she's not answering my call now--I was hoping she could bring my glass to the location.

In desperation I call my parents--they're out to dinner, but say they'll do it. Will take them over an hour to go to their house, get our spare key, then go to my house and back to the location.

AH! So many unclear pictures! 
It's like I'm trying not to show anything.

We start setting up lights, trying to light a bonfire, while Mark is finishing up the makeup on everybody now that they've all walked the trail to join us.

The fire does not want to blaze. Maybe it's wet from the storm the day before, but spoiler alert--we didn't get a good fire all goddamn night. Gonna be some digital fire improvement I think. Fix it in post, right?

I shoot some little things--the fact that I can't see so well isn't a deal breaker right away, because I can see fine up close without my glasses. So I can get focus on the monitor no problem. Luckily I don't have to do it too long--my dad shows up with the glasses, and my brother walks the trail to get them 
from him. (we're so deep in the woods that there's no way you'd be able to just walk in and find us)

My plan--and my shot list--is to get all of the shots featuring the creatures done first so we can release them earlier than the expected 3am finish time. 

There are complications with lighting--normally you want to shoot all the shots facing each direction at once--that way you only have to move the lights a minimal number of times.

And then there are FX changes that should be happening, but we can't do them yet because I haven't shot the close ups on the person yet. I run around getting what I need on the shots. At least, hopefully. 

We try to get some cools still too--another FREE FILMMAKER TIP--get them. You need them. Stills captured from video don't look as good, so don't think you're just going to use those. Webs and magazines can tell, trust me.

The way I'm shooting--popping in and out of the scene to shoot what's needed--is very disorienting for the actors. It makes it hard for them to build up the emotions they need. Like, if we had time for a wide master then I would have done it. That way the actors play it through once, then when you ask them to jump to a specific spot then they can.

But so much FX happen during the scene that we can really only shoot about 40% of it.

Rob Tongue in the new costume he made

Much of the night is a blur. The good news is that it's relatively cool--much better than we could have hoped for. There are none of the massive insect and spider attacks. Plenty of daddy longlegs, but they're not a big deal.

At some point we let some of the monsters go. My buddy Rob Tongue stayed, along with Matt and Fred(The Midnight Clown). We got some cool stills with them whenever we had to prep FX or break for something else.

Things start running late. The main creature-guy(I'm being vague on purpose) had his mask on for a long time, and he's hot and wants a cigarette(and probably a water because he's sealed in that thing). So I try to get everything with him shot, then tell him to take a break. Shoot more stuff. Move lights. Change batteries. (Sometimes a light has run down, and I have to go find it in the darkness in order to replace the batteries)

I keep checking the time because we're past 3am now. I know we gotta finish, and we have a bunch of FX at the end, plus some gunfire. (I do practical gunfire--no matter how much work you put in on After Effects, muzzle flash and recoil just NEVER looks right).

We finish Alex's stuff and let her go. She was a trooper, We keep shooting.

Looking down at the shooting script and going:
"But it was only like 30 total shots..."

Finally I call it. It's like 4:15am. We have to truck all this shit out of the woods, and I really don't want to make multiple trips. Mike took Mark, Fred and the main creature guy out when they were done, and they haven't returned. We try to compact everything together and figure out how to get it out in one trip.

Josh is like--just keep putting bags on me. He ends up carrying like 6 bags of shit, plus some other stuff. We stack the dolly, and Matt volunteers to drag it out. Zig and I grab the rest, and we awkwardly carry it out. Mike and Fred meet us halfway and take some stuff off us.

By the time Zig and I are on the road it's like 5am. I get home, dump footage and audio, then back it up and plug in batteries--it's after 6am when I'm done.

Then to bed. 

Hard to sleep because I know I have a lot of work to do, because come Thursday the main production starts, and that's 5 days straight. (Well, one night, then 4 days in the heat and humidity)

And still have a lot of little things to do--find/organize the props, go to the woods one final time to double check the sites with how I think I'm going to shoot, try to pre-viz the shoot in my mind so I can see what I may be forgetting.

Gonna be a stressful couple of days...

The Midnight Clown says 
"No, You Can't Have An In-Focus Picture Of Me."

We left this at the site so anybody walking by would think there's been a murder in the woods.


  1. I have to say I'm really enjoying reading these ongoing shooting posts of your Kevin, even if it does sound a bit like Hell on Earth actually trying to make it work. ;)

  2. Oh, you got no idea of what's coming...the wrap...was...TOUGH...