PRODUCTION DAY ONE!

Sunday, Nov 14

Didn’t sleep much last night, but not because of anxiety — just excited and full of ideas.  Finally just got up and organized a few last-minute things.

The Hot Box – Tom's crowded office

Drove deserted Sunday morning streets at dawn to arrive early at our first location, DC&E on Shattuck Avenue downtown, where I met our heroic PA’s Ted Hayden and Sunday Wang (our third PA, Ben Morrow, showed up later with the best of reasons — he had to pick up the food on the way in).  The next few hours were a fast-moving yet unstressed blur as we loaded in, dressed the location, prepped the actors, and set up the first shot — a wide establisher of “Tom” at his desk, seen from out in the hall, with Sunday and Cortney as extras in the foreground since our regular extras hadn’t arrived yet.  First shot at about 10:20 instead of 9 as scheduled, which seemed pretty good to me for Day One.

From there we moved steadily through our scenes.  Don and Micci (and the extras) were great.  The location was everything we had hoped for, with gorgeous sunlight streaming into the conference room for the last scene on our list, where Tom stumbles out of the presentation and runs through the lobby.  Cortney’s improv-class friend Damion stepped up to play the presenter and ad-libbed beautifully; a nice bit of on-the-spot casting.

Lincoln and Greg, having too much fun

We seemed to find our rhythm as a crew pretty quickly.  Of course, it helped that we were so few, but Lincoln, sound recordist Greg Miller, Cortney and the PA’s all threw themselves in to the work with great enthusiasm and professionalism.  We even managed to have fun.  Most importantly, I was able to focus on the actors as Cortney and the others kept everything humming along smoothly.

We got the last take of Tom’s presentation exit just as the light faded — we were about an hour behind schedule, again not too bad — and even got off a quick unscripted scene of him doing some photocopies, an idea of Lincoln’s for a possible setup moment before Tom and Gene’s big scene in his office.  By then the extras were all gone and our PA’s were putting the location back the way it was and wrapping out the equipment.

Don, Josh, and Micci, not having enough

Then we dashed down the block to shoot Tom in his car for scene 25, out in front of the home of our location contact Ken Garkow, the DC&E building manager, who made the whole day possible by arranging permission for us to shoot.  Ken has a pretty sweet commute of a couple hundred yards (for now — he and his wife just bought a house in El Cerrito and will be moving soon).  He’s also been a terrifically kind and encouraging fan of the project since I first approached him about the possibility of shooting in his workplace.

Lincoln and Ted worked some magic with battery-powered LED’s lighting Don in the car and we were done by 6:30.  A great first day.

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