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Sunday, January 9, 2005

Imaginary double feature, Day 7 recap

I’ve been trying to come up with films that would play with Stomp! Shout! Scream! at the ultimate drive-in double feature in my mind. Of course, any vintage beach party movie would set the mood. Or any 1950’s monster movie would work, especially those in the Roger Corman oeuvre. But of the recent, independent, no-budget films that have broken out to gain a wide audience, I think the original El Mariachi, directed by Robert Rodriguez, would work best. I saw and loved his short film, Bedhead, at the Atlanta Film Festival when I first moved to Atlanta in 1991. And I saw El Mariachi at the High Museum with Rodriguez there to introduce the film and take Q & A afterwards. I remember him admitting that the sped up keyboard-playing scene was shot that way because they were running out of film and wanted to get the entire scene shot. It was a combination of necessity and creative decision making and it played perfectly in the final film. It was an exhilarating, inspirational experience. He created a no-budget, silly, action film that was playing at an art museum. Fun. Funny. And artistic. I’m hoping my film can approach that very high standard.

Here’s another daily recap from the shoot.
DAY SEVEN (Tuesday, October 12)
Location: Coquina Beach, Bradenton, Florida

By far the most frustrating day yet.

It’s our first day in Florida, we have some new crew members and nobody really knows what we’re doing or where they should be. We’re all late getting to location and the production cars are there waiting for us. After a few chaotic minutes of finding everyone and everything, Evan and I scout around and determine that using the isolated beach roadside opposite the original location will be best for our day’s work and we start setting up. After a crew call of 2:00 pm, we don’t get our first shot off until 3:45. The 90 degree heat doesn’t help things. I’m just thankful it’s not worse. We have one visit from the local police, but our permits and proof of production insurance is all in place and they leave us alone after 5 minutes. It doesn’t hurt having a police officer from the St. Petersburg Police Department on set with the vintage police car we’ve rented for the day.
We have 12 pages to cover today and limited time with the production cars, so I have to consolidate my shots lists drastically. Instead of being able to get two or three angles of our driving and talking scenes, I can only get one. I also have to cut three scenes in order to get the more important scenes completed. Luckily Ed Sluss, the owner of the Ford Fairlane, is willing to come back the next day, so we can pick up one daytime scene we don’t get shot. We have to wait for it to get dark to shoot our night scenes, but our dinner order doesn’t arrive until we have to get back to work, so nobody really gets a dinner break.

The actor with the longest day is Travis Young (Hector). He has one scene, where he’s walking down a lonely road by himself and the Ford Fairlane passes him, shining it’s headlights on him. He doesn't even have any dialog. We end up shooting it at the very end of our day, about 12:30 that night. We fake the headlights with production lights since the Fairlane had to leave. Travis was on set for over 10 hours and ended up working-- walking down the road four times-- for 20 minutes. At the end of the day, we still got 10 pages of script shot and no major catastrophes.

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