Today is the one year anniversary of what was the last day of principal photography for Summit. We ended up wrapping just after 6am on February 2, 2013.
The very last shot of production
During the past 2 weeks, the anniversary of production, I decided that I would write a kind of director's journal reflecting on the experience of making my first feature. I had planned to write about each day on set, from my perspective, and share each post on its pertaining day's anniversary. But I ended up writing more than I expected and sharing more about how I felt than I originally intended. It turned out to be quite a cathartic experience and I ended up chronicling 15 days in over 35 single spaced pages. So I've decided that I will still share it but not as daily blog posts, as originally intended; rather as one concise story, "Shooting Summit," that I will release as a PDF for download on the Summit and CongestedCat sites at a later date. I hope that it will be helpful to other no-budget filmmakers making their first features, and maybe act as a “you're not alone” piece for other filmmakers who have first feature 'horror stories' of their own. I also hope it offers an interesting look behind the scenes for fans anticipating the film and all the people that first supported us when we began pre-production and crowd funded the film in 2012.
The 16 days spent in Massachusetts making the film were the most stressful & exhausting but also most rewarding & productive days of my life. I cannot be more grateful to those who supported the film in pre-production, but especially to my crew & cast who stood by the project in the worst of conditions and helped me turn a dream into reality. I could not have done it without you. Thank you all again.
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As an update on the progress of the film as a whole, there were a few exteriors of the car driving on snowy roads that we never got because of time constraints and the loss of snow at the tail end of production. So, John (my DP), Peter (1st AC), Andrew (I'll call him a PA but he wore a hell of a lot of important hats on set), and I drove back up to Canaan, NY last Saturday (January 25th) to get those shots. It was freezing and brought back some of the trying memories of the year before. Our bodies remembered this cold; it all came rushing back. It was pretty brutal. However, it was still a successful and fun day, full of unexpected surprises; just like last year.
We had run-ins with the local police twice, though surprisingly not when we climbed up on a billboard to get this shot.
One of the run-ins involved getting pulled over on the Taconic Parkway. The police officers were doing this good cop, bad cop routine but eventually decided not to give us a ticket. As it turns out, one of them has a son who wants to be a filmmaker, and the good cop spent a lot of time asking about cameras and editing software. Then he asked for my business card, and wished us luck.
The day felt a little bitter sweet because it was exactly the kind of day I wish we had everyday last year; overcast and snowy. The new footage ultimately works really well for filling in the moments that I want in the film but also accentuates, in my eyes, what we could have had but did not for certain scenes last year. Regardless though, I am grateful that we managed to have snow on the ground for all exterior scenes of the film and that, in the end, everything did work out.
I'm so proud of the film and the fact that we managed to make it on nothing but a shoestring and a dream. I'm excited that it is in its final stage, which includes color correction, sound mixing and scoring; and I cannot wait to share it with you. Unfortunately, we have a long road of festival submissions and replies ahead of us, which will likely include many rejections but hopefully some great acceptances. In the meantime, we've got our official teaser premiering in less than 2 weeks, a new website coming in April, some fun behind the scenes videos with the cast coming in May, and before you know it, the film will be fully accessible to you.
Thank you again for all your support in the making of this film!