It was a night of tremendous fun at the sold out Chicago Premiere of Kartemquin’s Typeface. Spirits were high and excitement was buzzing at the Gene Siskel Film Center as guests had the opportunity to mix and mingle with Typeface producer and director Justine Nagan, as well as some of those featured in the film.
After such a fun time on weekend 1 on the set of Karolyn Szot’s Message Received, I was stoked to return for another dose of movie making magic. On the agenda for the second weekend? Blood! Car Crash! Cops! Uh, exchange students!
I was lucky to get a couple of hours off Saturday morning as only a bare bones crew was needed to shoot our two actresses, Emily Marso and Blake-Briana McKay, driving. Just a couple of shots and a simple scene. Easy as pie, right? Well…
The story I heard when I arrived on set? A very concerned passerby had called the cops that morning thinking that the two wrecked cars we had on set was the scene of a real accident. Oh well, at least that means a big thumbs up for prod design well-done. ;)
Another challenge that filming a car crash scene brings is the ridiculous number of people who deliberately slow down to get a better glimpse of your set as they’re driving by. Maybe it was to see if there was a famous actor in the vicinity. Maybe it was to get numbers to buy the American version of 4D. Maybe it was to gawk at the awesome blood effects Karolyn did for our actors. Either way, our crew definitely learned more about directing two-way traffic in one lane. It also helped that we had two actors in cop uniforms on set. I’m not sure what it was, but people tended to drive past faster when it’s a cop signaling them to move. Or so they thought! ;)
When it was time to set up for our beautiful crane shot, it was all hands on deck. Like a life-sized balance scale, we had to figure out the exact number of sandbags to hang on one side to counter the weight of our camera on the other. It was almost like watching a team challenge on Survivor. “Take one more bag off,” one would say. “No, you just have to move one closer to the center!” another would reason. The team eventually emerged triumphant! And our crane shot went as smooth as silk.
Shooting outdoors often means racing against time, especially when you’re dependent on sunlight. Good thing our crew heads had their act together. We completed our shots with time to spare and made some new friends with the many deer roaming the woods near us. I’d say our day was a success! :)
If you thought the shoot so far has been packed with plenty of adventure, wait until you hear about the happenings on our final day of shoot. That story to come soon.