Okay, so the 4-page script was set, the crew was hired, and I had my star. We were ready to shoot it all in one night in January. Simple enough, right? Well, no. We of course had many challenges, as always with a shoot, even if it was only one night. Three things come to mind:
1) The Light: I had the natural challenge of having enough light for an exterior night shoot. This was a low, low, low, low budget shoot. Can’t tell by looking at the trailer or teaser? Neither can I! Awesome, right? You be the judge... link to trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDrQR0FH_Zk To the teaser: http://t.co/pmquOaFaJW (See how I did that? Did you look??) Anyway, we only had a couple of small, bright lights. Unless greatly lit, we could only shoot so far away until we lose our main light. So, in advance we did some scouting and tests, finding the most lit up parts in our area of the city to compensate for that, and it worked!
2) The Weather: Having a one-day exterior shoot, we were stuck with the elements for better or worse. If it rained, this prologue would take place in the rain, if it snowed (which was a real possibility at the time), then this had to take place in the snow… and so on. It was January at the height of the coldest winter we’ve had in NYC in years. I mean FREEZING! The shoot went from something like 6:45pm to 3:15am during a temperature of 17 degrees and wind chill of something much less. It was awful.
The good news was no one complained, including David as Mac, (David Lee McInnis ) who was stuck in his wardrobe that was warm, but quite honestly, not nearly warm enough for what we were in for. We made sure we had a place to go to warm up between takes: a Starbucks, a McDonald’s, small shops still open… hey, that’s the advantage of shooting in a city: there’s always something open, right?! Eh, once you get used to the cold, you forget about it. That’s filmmaking, right? Yeesh, I think I got the chills just thinking about it. So yeah, we got through it like all film crews do. My arm broke off the next day, but I was fine. Kidding.
3) The Wardrobe: This was more leading up to the shoot, but it counts because the final touches were done that night. This was THE night we had David, our actor. And Mac’s wardrobe isn’t just some simple outfit. It required a lot of thought. His outfit is very specific in the script, and because there is no dialogue, I wanted to reveal much of Mac’s character simply by looking at him. I had the complete outfit in my head: a long overcoat, big booming boots, a wooden stake hanging from his leather belt, and long, stringy hair popping out of a concealing, Western influenced hat.
Mac is old. Real old. But I wanted to have him wear modern versions of old. Mac wears a hat because that’s what he grew up doing. He’s also not an antique hat collector, so he doesn’t own anything from the past century. In fact, his character is really always on the move, so he doesn’t collect anything at all. Still, they allow this kind of thing in movies all the time. The truth is if he kept a real hat that old, just touching it would probably make it crumble.
So what did I do? I had about a month to gather things. Did I go to NYC to shop in every thrift and antique store I could find? No way! As youtube sensation Sweet Brown would say, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” So I did the next best thing. I went to Amazon Prime and Ebay! Through those two sites I got it all, even down to an 80’s mullet wig I never even saw in person. When I put it on, I looked like a cheap 80’s rock star wannabe. When we put it on David Lee McInnis (and hair and makeup gave it a trim), he looked like Mac! Was I smart to order stuff I never saw in person or was I lucky? Maybe a bit of both, but because I knew I would have hair/ makeup and wardrobe to help out, it gave me faith I could pull it off. Turns out everything turned out just as I imagined. Orders arriving last minute and making sure it was the proper size, that was much more the luck part! I mean, I got the hat the day before shooting. Yeah, kind of important!!! Anyway, I think the results were awesome.
Next up: Post-production on The Hunter’s Anthology: Prologue and some of the challenges we faced after everything was in the can.
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