Day 1 on set
Like the title says–today was day one on the set of my first real short film. (We’re actually using a script this time!)
Above: Our only set photo
I decided to write something that I could film and only cast family members.
Thus was born “Disposing Dwight,” a comedy/thriller about four kids who (accidentally) murder their friend, and set out to hide the body. On the way they run into two hit men and get mixed up in a chase to recover lost treasure. Oh yeah–and the hit men wear fake mustaches and hair extensions.
We’ll be filming for the rest of the week and then probably a few more days in July, and I thought I’d try to keep updating our progress.
So far it’s going well, but hopefully we’ll get better at holding a boom pole as the shoot progresses.
Today we filmed two-and-a-half scenes, and I hope to film another full scene tomorrow (plus finish our incomplete scene from today.)
Updates coming soon, as well as set photos and hopefully a teaser trailer.
Day 2 on set
Today was productive, as well as interesting, since we all could have died while I was setting up lights.
We started the shoot by filming some more of a scene that we didn’t complete yesterday (we still didn’t finish it today.) Then we set up a blue screen on my dad’s car, since none of us actors can actually drive yet.
After some trial and error (and a crapload of tape) we got the screen secured.
We tried to crank the car for some air conditioning since it was a hundred degrees out and I didn’t want my actors to all have heat strokes…but the car wouldn’t start.
It reminded my of something from a horror movie, where the characters are being chased by a killer, and when they get in their brand new car, it all-of-a-sudden doesn’t work.
Anyway, once we finally did get it to crank (you’re supposed to jiggle the steering wheel), we prepared to shoot.
But then the wind blew my lights over.
They’re these nice photography lights I got for Christmas, and I was annoyed that I lost one of them the first time I’d used it. So I went to clean it up, but then “Johnny” saw it, and, realizing that it was one of the swirly-florescent bulbs, informed me that it emitted toxic gas when broken, and mercury was poisoning our lungs at the very second.
Once we took care of the mess (my dad sweeped the glass up since we were all too scared to go outside) we started to shoot.
It took about an hour in all. A lot of buildup (about three hours, I think) for such a brief scene. But overall it was worth it, since I finally got to wear one of those awesome fake mustaches.
Days 3 & 4 on set
Overall the shooting is going well. We’re almost halfway done, and I’m hoping to wrap shooting by the first week in July. The release will hopefully be sometime in September.
I’ve learned a lot about filmmaking over the week. I’ve gone from “Holy crap, I have no clue what I’m doing!” to “Well, off to work.”
We shot part of an interrogation scene and an entire outdoor scene, where the hitmen leave the kids beside the road in the middle of nowhere. Why would they? It’s a long story.
The challenge with the outdoor scene was that we were filming the whole thing in my neighborhood at an empty wooded lot (nobody has bought it yet.) We were restricted in the camera angles we could use, since we couldn’t show any houses in the frame.
Above: pretty much the only angle we could use.
Another issue was the cars. Usually there isn’t much traffic in my neck of the woods, but for some reason, Wednesday was the day everyone decided to go out-and-about. Which meant about every five or so shots were interrupted by cars.
One red truck drove past about three times. On the fourth time, the driver stopped and rolled down his window. We weren’t really in the mood to talk to this guy, since he’d already ruined a great take (and a great take is very rare with the actors I’m working with.)
“Did you buy the lot?” he asked. The heck was he talking about? We’re kids! We can’t buy the lot.
“No,” I answered, “just making a movie.”
“Oh,” he said, and drove off.
I wondered why he’d given us such weird looks when he left.
It wasn’t until later that I realized I’d been wearing my fake mustache the entire time.
He probably thought I was thirty.
Today we shot the remainder of the kitchen scene. It’s the opening scene that’s taken us about three days to shoot. Don’t ask why. It’s not even a long scene– it’s just that dialogue isn’t my actors’ strong point.
Later we filmed a scene down at the nature trail near my neighborhood, where we were yelled at by a creepy guy who was with his dog in his backyard. See, the nature trail is a long concrete path through the woods. There’s a neighborhood nearby, and the backyards of these houses border the trail. There’s also a creek that runs in between the backyards and the trail.
There’s a log that runs across the creek, and when my actor for “Jack” attempted to walk across it, the guy told him to stop.
It wasn’t a big deal– it’s just kind of strange that a total stranger would even care, since the creek isn’t even on his property.
You meet some weirdos in the film industry.
Adjusting our awesome mustaches.
Will is a teen filmmaker and writer.