Monday, May 6, 2013

The Making of Predatory Moon - Part One

After over six months of preparation, the cameras finally started rolling on principle photography on April 25th, 2013. Being the director and all, I figured I'd share some of the highlights on how the production is going whenever I get some time off from the crazy shooting schedule.

First of all, I will be using trems like "our film" and "we" rather than "my film" and "I", because quite frankly, this is very much a collaborative medium and everyone on the main cast and crew have been pouring their hearts into the production. So this baby has lots of Mommies and Daddies and I'm not about to take full ownership of that just because I have the writer/director position.

ONE WEEK BEFORE SHOOTING...

We really had very little to do. By this miraculous process known as planning carefully, we had all the props and wardrobe obtained, schedule made, locations locked down, equipment secured, menus planned, and pretty much everything else that could possibly be done ahead of time completed. All that was left was to sit back and ponder the possibilities of what else we could do to add production value to the film. Then our sound mixer fell victim to a hit-n-run collision. (Note: Car Calamity #1)

48 HOURS BEFORE SHOOTING...

The phone call that every director in the world has nightmares about came in. One of the lead actors had to drop out due to circumstances beyond his control. But fortunately for us, my husband was both a seasoned actor who could play the role in a pinch and had wide open availability for the next six weeks. Yay us!

DAY ONE.

I'll admit, I was very nervous about shooting the sex scenes in this film. Gore and horror are a cake-walk for me, but sex... yeah, zero experience on what to expect on those types of sets. I knew enough to have a "closed set". But our actors and the crew bonded very well and very fast, so "closed set" soon came to mean "Keep the cats off the set." And the two on-screen lovebirds? You'd think they'd been dating for years instead of having just met 18 hours earlier. So what I thought would be one of our hardest days has been the easiest day so far. Well, except when one of the actors managed to run over a large coquina rock and get his car stuck on location, spraying the camera operator with a blast of sand during attempts to get it un-stuck. (Car calamity #2)

Our phrase of the day was "Nipple Continuity".

DAY TWO.

First day of exterior long conversation shots. You know that thing on the news about the sequester causing a dramatic cut in air traffic controllers? Well, none of us had watched the news in a while so we were completely unprepared for the six private planes literally circling overhead on our set as we tried to record dialog sound. At least the crew was able to take it all in stride, and at one point two of the actors broke out into doing their scene in the style of a Spanish soap opera.

The phrase of the day was "Fucking planes!"

DAY THREE.

Werewolf attack day. Shooting mostly without sound, so there was little concern about the heavy air traffic. We did manage to knock the stunt puppet's teeth out, but otherwise a very trouble-free day on set. And bloody.

The phrase of the day was: "Ommm Nom Nom Nom Nom"

DAY FOUR.

Our AD arrived late on set after having a car accident in the parking lot of the hotel. (Car calamity #3) Shortly after we begin shooting, our sound equipment begins to crap out on us... continuously. After several hours of trouble-shooting, sound is operating fine and the camera goes crazy... then the dry-erase pen for the slate starts even starts erasing itself. So we decided that whoever was responsible for operating the malfunctioning piece of equipment would be blamed for everything until the next thing broke down. I believe that everyone on crew had their turn at being the center of all blame.

The phrase of the day was "Scapegoat".

LOCATION MOVE PRODUCTION MEETING...

We moved the entire production from Ormond Beach to New Port Richey, Florida and most of the key crew moved into a beautiful house that we've rented for a month as a "crew house".

On the day before we were scheduled to start shooting at the new location, we held a big crew meeting so everyone could walk through the location. Everything went fine until some people left...and our Key Wardrobe got into a car accident on the highway. (Yes, that would be car calamity #4)

DAY FIVE.

First day shooting an actor who is under the age of 18. Everyone on this usually-raunchy crew was incredibly well-behaved while the young man was on set. Unfortunately, the local wildlife in the woods wanted to see what was going on, particularly the arachnids. We could hardly set up a shot without one dropping into frame.

The word for the day: "SPIDERS!!!!!"

DAY SIX.

Second day in the woods. This time the arachnids sent a far more worrisome species to represent them on set. I think only a couple people managed to get through the entire day without pulling at least one of the little blood-suckers off of them.

The phrase of the day: "Is that a TICK????!!!"

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