January 25, 2013
Today was the first day where I got just over 5 hours of sleep the night before. I felt good, or at least as good as I could have living in a house with 19 other people and often taking showers devoid of hot water. The almost-fever I had been fighting the past couple of days had cleared up a bit, and I felt confident about the day. This was in large part due to the fact that the sun was really cooperating. We had a nice overcast day. We had this annoyingly large silk to put up, which required some set up time. It also turned out that the rental house had not given us enough sandbags to weigh it down so we often had to utilize whatever bodies were available to stand on it.
But beyond that, the day was smooth. It was cold, but only about 15 degrees, so a nice break from the past two nights of freezing terror.
Today was arguably our most successful day because the lighting was so perfect and we managed to get almost 3 scenes done; about 10 pages. Of course, it took a 14-hour day to do this. An artistic choice I made with the film was that we would get tighter as the film went on, both in shot composition as well as lenses. At first, the characters would be portrayed in a lot of wide shots and two and three-shots. But then as they became more individualized in the film, not just simply a group of friends on a trip, I chose to shoot more singles. This was the first day of shooting where we changed lenses and got tighter. It was wonderful getting to see that footage look so good.
We then had to go up into the woods with two characters to get a scene that was meant to be set just before dusk. We got ¾ of it, but then the lighting became too inconsistent. It was okay though because we still felt accomplished. This particular scene was actually scheduled for a later date in the original schedule. We then headed back to the house where Charlotte and Adnan had been setting up for a night scene at the back of the house. We got it all done, though we did have a minor continuity issue when it snowed during one person’s close-up. It’s a minor issue, but I actually think it works because the one character it’s snowing behind is standing in front of the car headlights. In that sense, snow would be more visible, whereas the others are in the dark and presumably under an awning. The snow ended up looking pretty cool because it helped emphasize the extremity of the weather conditions despite the lack of snow on the ground.
It’s just one of those happy accidents that you sometimes get in film. We wrapped at 8pm, just beating the frigid cold that came later that evening.
We had a really big day ahead. It was the scene that I felt would make or break the film. I was so nervous and excited about it at the same time, though maybe more nervous. I could not sleep at all.