So, we filmed for two days at the end of May: the 28th and the 29th. It was at my house and I was the director, as well as the person who wrote both of the scripts.
Here is a recap from my point of view.
Thursday started bright and early as I attempted to find a work around for “the camera problem.” Said problem was the fact that our camera would only stream, and it would only stream to computers running XP. Every computer in my house runs Vista, save my desktop. That would be fine and dandy except, as you know, streaming requires constantly being tethered to the computer in question, which was impossible without a gigantic USB cable (that we didn’t have).
As we found an old laptop and installed XP on it, things seemed okay… Until I looked outside and noticed it was raining. Greaaaat.
Anyway, that laptop finished installing XP… And then would not run Windows Movie Maker (our only choice for a program to capture the streamed the video), because it didn’t have a sound card. Which it did. But apparently the laptop decided it didn’t at the most inopportune time.
So, I went with the only viable option – the longest USB cord I could find, connected to my desktop. Sure, I’d compromise some of my shots and the master bedroom shots would be, well, impossibly… But it was a solution.
Nobody showed up on time (surprise surprise), but the first people rolled in at 8:15 and they started showing up soon enough after that.
Kelly came to the rescue about the XP ordeal. After a quick trip, she brought her laptop, in all of its XP glory. While that occurred, we held some brief meetings, made some blood, and began to put up the shutters. People went into makeup… We began to feel like a real production! The actors went through some script readings.
The first shot of the day was Act 2, Scene 1 AKA the kitchen scene (or, the scene in which botulism beans exploded). It started incredibly late, around 11 AM, and directly preceded lunch. Also, for those of you who weren’t there… They’re called botulism beans because it was a can of beans that exploded. A dented can of beans.
After Act 2, Scene 1 (which took quite a while, because we had to settle in and work out angles and so forth), we moved to Act 1 Scene 1 (the first scene, duh). This one took a long while, because we had to do some practices, and then we had to get the fire working. On one shot, it didn’t burn. Another was the large fire, where someone laughed, ruining the beautiful shot… And, finally, the tiny flame (which is what we used).
Act 1, Scene 1 suffered because of how long it took to get through it. I only had it from one angle and in one take, so it was hard to make it look, well, professional (or, rather, less amateur). But… We move forward.
Act 3, Scene 1 was next on the docket. This one went well, and in only two takes. I would have preferred to do a few more focusing on some characters, but time constraints stopped that one cold.
We didn’t finish episode one on day one (which was worrying), but we did take some establishments during that time.
After we finished those scenes, Tony managed to show up and we worked on the show intro. As they made paper airplanes and worked out the mechanics of the flying (oooh, this is spoilers), I took what I realized was my first chance to sit during the day (I hadn’t even bothered during lunch). My feet hurt.
After all of this, we took down some of the shutters and cleaned them of the blood (since we didn’t need any more establishments). People began to go home and, well, I was pretty much ready to collapse. I looked through a few of the dailies and left it at that, trying to focus on, well, something else.
Some Highlights of Day One
Day two rolled around quickly, and I woke up late (I think I forgot to set my alarm). About ten minutes after I woke up, Tony arrived, on time, at 8:00 sharp (no, seriously, the doorbell rang as our clock changed from 7:59 to 8… it was amazing). We hung out and waited for a while as people began to show up.
Now, to be honest, at this point I didn’t feel like episode two was going to happen. I was seriously drained and, for whatever reason, I just felt like if I didn’t mention the show, we just wouldn’t film. I was tired and not particularly up to it… At least, until people began to arrive. We started filming a lot earlier (10:15 or so, which was on schedule). I got back into it, thanks mainly because I was tasked with making sure we got it done.
We start our filming with the tease of the show. It was about two takes of the entire scene, one close up take, and an insert… And done! It was really quick. Around this time, Francisco sent me a text message saying he could come, so we eagerly awaited that.
It gets a bit fuzzy around this point, actually. I know we filmed Act 1, Scene 1; Act 2, Scene 1; and Act 2, Scene 2 (from episode 1). Francisco showed up before all of that, too, I think. I believe it went in that order. I remember we filmed an insert, too, which goes with Act 1, Scene 1. It’s actually pretty funny.
I’ll expand on what happened when filming those scenes when I can actually discuss, well, what went on IN those scenes… As for the scene from episode one, it was the bedroom scene. There’s a great outtake that’s actually corrupted on my computer, but I think it took something like two or three takes. It was pretty smooth.
After those scenes, we moved into the garage for Act 3, Scene 1, which took a LONG time for reasons I’ll go into later. At the same time, I’m quite proud of it, because it’s got some great comedy, some nice improvisation, and a Tony appearance I’ll have to creatively edit around (bonus trivia: Tony’s also in my one close up take of the tease, which pretty much cost me that shot). In fact, Tony’s in a lot of shots. It’s pretty funny.
Finally, we took care of the remaining scenes, which took place in the master bedroom (a total of three). One was probably the simplest scene in the entire two day process, but took approximately 7,000 takes.
After the filming, we did an extra scene or two for the opening (involving zombies! …spoilers again). We finished of the shutters and cleaned up… Then did some green screen stuff. But that’s another story. In fact, it’s one that may not be told. The editing story is long, arduous, and sort of sad. Maybe I’ll write about it.
Anyway, that’s pretty much what happened with two incredibly long days of filming. The first episode is doing well (200+ views at the time of writing), and two is in post-production (about 1/3 through my first pass in editing). Thanks for reading, and keep watching!
P.S. I started this entry on June the 7th. Took me long enough, eh?