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Our Real First Day of Filming

July 1, 2012

Turns out that the star player in Sympathy Pains is not an awesome DP (thanks, Mike!), a great set designer (Kim Risi and friends!),  stellar cast (Chris, Courtney, FE, and Dahren who all give their “A” game for “F” game pay), or a great crew (who were working at peak efficiency), but actually a portable air conditioner. It’s just out of frame here – off of camera left. I got a couple of funny looks when I put that into the budget, but no one’s laughing after not sweating through every shot today!

And what a perfect picture of me, nose buried in my script, pretending to interact with my cast. :) I think they might tell you differently, but that’s always my opinion of myself as a director.

But seriously, we have an awesome cast and crew – today went as well as any proper first day could go. A couple of “getting to know you” moments, but mostly, we sailed through it and got some awesome footage! Again, my cast and crew rock.

We also cut a couple of lines on set – I love when the performances work better than the words, and you can get rid of some of my crappy writing to let the actors do their thing and their actions do the talking. That’s only possible with people who are great at their craft – have I mentioned that I LOVE my cast! Kat’s sick of me gushing about how much I love my actors, and so I’m going to put it out to the internet – I LOVE MY CAST! They make my job so easy, and make my lousy writing SO MUCH better!

And another great “what’s this scene about” moment: we were able to cut on set a complete reverse shot that would have meant moving the camera to the opposite side of the room, which also includes moving every single light, and adjusting the set design to dress the opposite angle. We realized that the shot we were doing was about our female lead –  it was from her point-of-view, and expressed her view of the scene. But the scene’s not about her. It’s about Danny, our lead guy and his temptation, and that Stephanie sees that. It’s not about her opinion about it (that’s obvious from her shot), and we don’t need to see it through her eyes, because it’s not her scene. I tell my students regularly to think about who this scene is about and let that direct the shots, and we were able to cut a LONG reset for a shot that was not necessary for what the scene is ultimately about.

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