Saturday, December 20, 2008

DAY ONE – “Off To A Light Start,” or “Who Says There’s No Such Thing as 8 Free Lunches?”

Professor Jack himself (a.k.a. our director, Jeff) gives me a Day One wake-up call, and soon afterwards we climb aboard the silver Hyundai and make the first of many long drives together to the soundstage. We will be shooting this movie at a place called Mogul Mind Studios, which is located in the sleepy little town of Glassport, PA. It is a sufficient facility, though not without its problems, the most notable of which being its lack of soundproofing coupled with the fact that it is located right next to the railroad tracks. The noisy trains lumbering past will soon become a daily bane to young Christopher, our sound guy. But more on that in the entries to come.

Speaking of sounds, Jeff blasts various versions of the James Bond theme during our drive to work. As I check the rear view mirror for any sign of Blofeld's henchmen in pursuit, we roll across the bridge into Glassport, a depressed little ghetto replete with boarded up storefronts and long-closed businesses. It looks as though we've driven through a time warp which deposited us somewhere in 1970. The relatively new Rite Aid at the end of the main street feels like an anachronism here. Also of note is that the town's police station, public library, and a thrift store all share the same small building. So, you can check out a book and get booked all in one trip.

Jeff, Steve, and our Director of Photography Dave Cooper spent all day here yesterday hanging the green screen in the studio, so this morning we are set to go. But wait! We seem to be missing one thing... the lead actor. Nathan Hollobaugh, star of our little movie, is sick today. When I spoke with him last night he sounded as though he'd just had a tracheotomy. Pretty cool if you're Tom Waits; not so good if you're supposed to be a 1940s swashbuckling hero. So we gave Nathan the day off to recover, and after some hairy last-minute rescheduling (I had to shave afterwards) we ended up with a pretty light load for our first Monday on the set. Just a short scene between Professor Jack and Stan Maxx in the nightclub, then a few shots of Jack by his lonesome.

At the end of the day, everyone is grateful for the slow and easy start. Plus, with such a small cast and crew onhand for day one, there are plenty of extra lunches left over. I wonder if I should fill up on the extra food tonight, as I foresee several days ahead where I'll be too busy to stop and eat. We've got an intense shoot ahead of us... twelve days to shoot 88 pages. Today we just got our feet wet. Tomorrow we dive into the deep end of the pool.

1. Jeff arrives on the set
2. Grips Chris and Rasul keep Jack's and Stan's seats warm
3. Dapper Stan Maxx, as portrayed by Steve Foland
4. Rachael Ryan, make-up artist, with Steve Tolin, Producer etc.
5. Jeff with a late-night snack, our leftover lunches

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