January 29, 2013
Today was a great day. We had another very emotional scene to cover, but it was only 4 pages this time and the sky was cooperating. We had a glorious overcast day and a fresh blanket of snow. It was even warm out, or at least what felt like warmth after days of bitter cold, almost 35 degrees!
The day went extremely well. Two of my favorite shots in the film came out of today. You can’t know them now, but if you watch the film with my director’s commentary, I’ll point them out to you. The performances were phenomenal. I made it a point to go over and talk to Emma after every take. Not because I was over compensating for the 26th/27th, because I wanted to. I wanted to be a better director than I had been. Her performance was brilliant and I wanted to be sure that she knew that I felt that way. I wanted to be sure all the actors knew I felt that way about all of their performances. Emma appreciated it. The footage from that day looks gorgeous.
There’s not much else I can say about today without giving anything away. We got a lot done and we did it quickly and efficiently. We were in a rhythm that was really working for us now. We were working as a team.
There’s one behind-the-scenes photo of me and an actor that I so wish I could share from this day, but I can’t; I can’t share too much of anything. That photo will likely make it in the DVD special features or as part of a “For the Fans” section on the website that I want to build for people who purchase a digital download. So, if you’re interested, you should definitely check out the Summit site after the film is released and look out for the opportunity to purchase the film when the time comes.
At around 4pm, we all had to pack up our stuff and move to our final shooting location in North Adams, MA. The second half of the plan to solving the losing-our-picture-house-3-weeks-before-production problem was that I had found a house on Craigslist that was in the process of being flipped for sale, and the owner allowed me to rent it for 4 days. Luckily, John and I had come up with ways to match the interior to the exterior. If you watch the film and really look out the windows at some moments, you can kind of see slight continuity issues, but it’s so incredibly faint that I really think we pulled it off to the point where most people won’t notice unless they’re told (like all of you have now been).
So, we did a company move over to the new house. If you thought 4 bedrooms and a living room was bad for 20 people, try 2 bedrooms and a living room. The bedrooms were bigger, but this time furniture-less (I don’t think I ever mentioned that the old house had 4 full beds and 2 couches, so only a handful of us were actually sleeping on blowup mattresses and/or sleeping bags). We would all be cramped into the two rooms with our mattresses and sleeping bags except for John, Peter, Charlotte and Matt, who all decided to get a motel room 15 minutes away. Matt covered the cost. Emma also decided to get herself a motel room so that she could have a break from everybody. Everyone else agreed to stick it out in this pretty disgusting house that had no hot water or any heat downstairs. This necessitated trips back and forth from the motels for people to shower. Colin even chose to sleep in the living room, the room without any heat, alone by the fireplace. He said he preferred it down there. It’s interesting that everyone agreed to stay there, but it was like all our personal living standards had gone out the window in the last week and a half. If I had brought them to the house first, I doubt we all would have been okay with it. But as luck would have it, because it came after the other more comfortable house that had already worn us down, it seemed doable. Fortunately we only had to be there for 4 days and then it would all be over, but from a production standpoint, we had quite the task ahead of us. We had three days to pull off 1/3rd of the film, all of which required a lot of coverage and lighting. This is where John got to have fun with low-key lighting, replicating the moon coming through windows and fireplace lighting, but it all required a lot more setup time than the previous days outside. What made it more difficult was that John had not seen this house until the 18th, when we briefly dropped by before getting ready for the first day of production at the other house. I found this house last minute and felt that it could work for what we needed and made quick script revisions to reflect the new layout compared to our original picture house. John, on the other hand, had not seen it or had a chance to reassess the shotlist until pretty much today. It was smaller and had fewer rooms than the old house. It required a lot of quick thinking and creativity, especially for the more cramped areas like the bathroom.
We pulled it off, but as usual, a part of me will always see what it could have been if we at least had more time for art direction with the last minute house. Regardless, I was glad we had a shooting location at all because it was a bit “touch and go” there just before production.
That night, I got ready for the following day. We were going to utilize as much of the morning as possible and then jump into the night.