Thursday, September 4, 2014

Return from the Belly of the Beast

This pic came with it's own caption.

Apologies to you, my readers, for my absence this past month. No, I have not taken up the European tradition of vacationing in August; actually, quite the opposite.

Since the "digital revolution," I have known friends and co-workers who have done Ultra Low films. For myself, I have avoided it. As one of my ADs said recently, "this is a young man's game," and I knew that doing a film under $100K meant lots of interns, lots of training, and impossible days.

I also feared it meant an inferior product, which, at this point in my career, I have no interest in doing just for another line on my resume or a few dollars.

However, I did a budget at $75K back in May, for a guy who had a script and the $75K, the former being the norm, the latter being the definite exception these days.

Additionally, he was the general manager of a nightclub where a majority of the action took place, and the two other locations were his apartment and a friend's apartment. We would be in the nightclub for 9 of the twelve days.

Ironically, one of his choices for DP was a close and dear friend who I had worked with as an operator, but not as DP. Another good friend came on as Gaffer.

Still, 12 days was going to be rough, and we did not have the money for more, nor did we have a budget that would allow OT pay, something I always offer on bigger budgets because it's hard to get even talented non-union folks to do it without it, and I don't believe in insanely long work days if it isn't needed.

I offered no OT, but promised that we would keep the days to 12 hours, with lunch off the clock.

Amazingly, we were able to do that, and finish on time and on budget. We were also on nights most of the shoot (the club has a complete skylight such that we were shooting day for day and night for night).

It involved a lot of training new people mixed in with some very experienced folks, and it was exhausting. Just as I started to not be exhausted, last night was the wrap party, so now, as I write this, recovering from that.  There was no way for me to write any coherent posts.

I will write a blog or two on this shoot starting Saturday, while it is fresh in my head, and then return to the saga of Town Diary. Next post on this shoot, My Brother's Keeper, on Saturday.

In the meantime, cut to the end - the wrap party. Picture of me with my office staff, from left to right, my production manager, production coordinator (and indispensable partner in this film) and APOC.  As I said in my Facebook post, these days, pictures with my staff at wrap parties look like the kids went out drinking and Dad showed up.


Kangas said...

Now you're closer to my wheelhouse. Course most of the time I'm still half what that guy had on his flick...but definitely feeling it as I get older...

JB Bruno said...

Kangas, you probably get this world more than I do. I thought of you when I took the gig!

Posting more on the process - definitely interested in your feedback.