Sunday, February 1, 2009

DAY TEN - "Nayli Gets Real," or "The Gloves Are Off!"

We're calling today "Penny Day" since we're shooting the rest of Nayli's stuff. The recurring question of the day is whether or not she should have her purse in each scene. Nayli, who has grown quite attached to her character by this point, is ever-willing to assert her take on how things ought to be. "In reality, I would not take my purse up on the roof," she says. Or, "In reality, I would leave my purse on the plane." My favorite is, "In reality, I would turn to the left."

In reality?

"Um, Nayli," Jeff reminds her. "We're making a movie about giant bug creatures set in the 1940s and filled with characters who look and act like cartoons." Oh. Yeah.

Later we shoot the penultimate scene of the movie, in which Penny plants a big kiss on one of the heroes. (Just which hero is the recipient of said kiss will have to remain a secret for now.) I am told by the make-up crew that we have to save the kiss for the last shot of the day, and that we can do it only once. Midian explains that it will take up to twenty minutes to clean off the lipstick between takes. Say what? Midian is an accomplished veteran of horror films, where they do take after take of people getting splattered with blood and guts. But it's gonna take 20 minutes to wipe some Revlon off a guy's chin?

But what do I know? I keep my mouth shut, Nayli keeps hers puckered, and we get the kiss in one take. And while I'm commenting on other departments that I probably have no business commenting on, I think I'll take this opportunity to highlight a few of our cast and crew who have yet to appear (or haven't appeared much) in this blog. As we near the end of principal photography, I feel the need to ensure that everyone involved shows up in the bugblogosphere at least once. And so...

Bill Sewak, our General Adams, gets the Cast Punctuality Award. On each of his shooting days, Bill manages to beat everyone inside the building, even though most of us get here before the doors are unlocked. When those doors open, somehow Bill is already inside waiting for us. Even on the days he isn't required on set, I half-expect to find Bill sitting on the greenroom sofa when I walk in in the morning.

Our Director of Photography, David Cooper, deserves more mention. Dave actually has a daily presence on this blog in that he's the man who's been taking the behind-the-scenes photos posted here for your viewing pleasure. Dave comes to us from the world of still photography. This is actually his very first motion picture, although you'd never know it, as he runs the set like he's an old pro. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of the crew have no idea that Dave's a rookie. There is a series of billboards hanging around Pittsburgh advertising a local attorney, whose motto is "The Gloves Are Off." Accordingly, the ads feature photos of boxing gloves, boxing rings, and other fight-related imagery. And Dave is the man who took those photos. So, whenever things get tense on the set, Jeff will usually turn to Dave and announce, "The Gloves Are Off!" Dave will usually have no comment.

Then there's Matt Torti, our 2nd A.D. and this crew's version of The Shadow. Matt can usually be found tucked away in one of the remote corners of the studio between scenes, but he never fails to suddenly appear out of the darkness at just the moment we need him, slate in hand. He also never fails to catch my eye with an appropriately bemused smirk whenever Ras al Ghul does something inane.

I should also mention our 2nd 2nd, Mia Dreamer. She's doing this for free - she just called Steve Tolin one day and "begged him for a job," and so he gave her an internship. And I must say she's been doing a fine job. I would definitely ask her to work for free again.

Our three-man grip crew also deserves a strong shout-out. The grips are the unsung heroes of any production: they do all the heavy lifting and suffer though much with little reward. And Ras al Ghul has been a particularly good sport since becoming the crew's whipping boy. (Although he does walk headlong into most of the jokes of which he becomes the butt. That is, when he's not walking into a lightstand.) So thanks, Ras, for suffering the slings and arrows of the crew. Thanks, Dennis, for suffering through the dangerous food. And thanks, Chuck, for suffering through Dennis and Ras.

And last but not least, I've got to give a word to Chris Pharris, who isn't even a member of our crew, technically. He's sort of along for the ride, accompanying the film's financier (whose identity I've been asked to keep anonymous) whenever he visits the set. But Chris has never been shy about jumping in and lending a hand. Lately his main job has been to "lock down" the set, which means he stands by the door of the stage and tells everyone outside to be quiet right before we roll cameras. It's the kind of job that fresh-faced film students fall over one another to get on a big Hollywood set. But on this little movie, it's a lot harder to pretend that it's anything more than a b*tch chore. And to Chris's credit, he hasn't b*tched about it once. He's also shooting a behind-the-scenes documentary on the production, although I wonder how much good footage he's been able to get when I'm constantly telling him to put down the damn camera and lock up the set.

1. Nayli has a rare hatless moment
2. The Crew takes a break to review footage
3. Mighty Altopiedi
4. Dennis ponders where to sneak off for lunch today
5. Our crew: Ras, Matt, Dennis, Chuck, Mia, and Chris

No comments: