Day 3 Is Done and I Got My Gray Skies!

Today was the third day of production on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? and despite a late start and a shorthanded crew, things went extremely well.  We shot all exteriors and got excellent footage.  Overall, I would say it was our best day so far.  And the weather cooperated!

The first shots we captured were of Danny and Diana departing their home in their car and arriving at and entering the inn.  As I posted before, both locations in the same house.  My first day shooting exteriors, my car’s film debut and my first time driving in a film.  We got terrific shots of all the car stuff.  There’s one I particularly like with the car parked in front of the inn.  Diana is seen through the passenger side window, while Danny leans down to open her door.  Reflected in one side of the window is the inn, on the other side, Danny’s face.  It’s a really creative and beautiful shot and credit for it has to go to my DP.  Very well done.

We planned to shoot the Kreskys departing their home in the back entrance to our location property.  It didn’t look that nice though.  The house next door had beautiful pillars and looked really nice.  The owner of that home very graciously allowed us to get the shots of the car exiting his driveway.  Very nice.

I felt even more on top of things as a director than I did previously, despite the fact that I also had to act.  I felt much happier with my performance as well.  We shot the final scene where Danny and Diana argue and then make up.  It looked beautiful!  There were still nicely colored leaves on the trees, my sky was gray and it was all hazy and romantic.  The light was so beautiful, I almost cried!

I did pay a price for my gray skies.  It was cold!  I was in a mock turtleneck with sleeves rolled up and no jacket.  Just what the script called for.  It was cold  but I tried to tough it out, even when my co-star wrapped herself in a sound blanket between takes.  And she was wearing a jacket!  I told everyone how I was like the players on my favorite football team, the Giants, when they played in the 2007 NFC Championship game in Green Bay and it was forty below and they were in short sleeves.   The cold did get to me eventually and I took my script supervisor’s advice when she insisted I use a sound blanket as well.

Lots of fun too.  For the first time, we had a few forgotten and blown lines by both of us, which is always funny.  The crew also got a big kick of of my failed attempts to charge down a steep, stone staircase into the argument.  Much tougher than I thought it would be.  You know how you when you watch the outtakes of a film, it looks like they’re having so much fun?  Let me tell you, we do!

I also shot my first onscreen kiss and I was much more nervous than I would have anticipated.  I’ve done stage kisses before and normally never get nervous while performing, but I was tense all day.  My co-writer and co-star noticed it when I was talking non-stop.  As she well knows, I chatter at top speed when I’m nervous.  When we broke for lunch, I realized I was uptight about the kiss.  The problem is I am really attracted to my co-star and have been for a long time.  We’re just friends and I’m fine with that, but I can’t help but feel what I feel and it’s taking me some time to get over her.

I spent some time alone during lunch getting myself together.  When we were set up to shoot the scene with the kiss, my co-star, realizing what was happening, teased me about it.  That actually helped relax me, and after a few takes, I settled in and did the scene pretty well I thought.  It’s an authentic looking fight and love scene if I do say so myself and now I feel really good about it.  I even finally confessed to my friend and colleague how attractive I find her.  It was good to finally get that out of me and now I can relax and enjoy our friendship.

Good day for food too.  We have typical low budget indie meals, cold cuts and stuff.  But the owner of the house made us a big pot of lentil ham soup that was delicious!  Very pleasant surprise on a cold day.  After the shoot, I took my DP, 1st AD and Script Supervisor out to dinner and we had a great time.

We wrap tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to another great day and getting production done so we can move on to post and a finished film.  I will miss the shooting part of it though.  Making a movie is hard work but it is so much fun!

Gray Skies Part 2

My favorite sky over the beauty of autumn leaves.

In an earlier post, I discussed how I prefer gray skies in films and in life.  In just six days we resume production on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  Weather permitting, all the shooting will be exteriors and that includes the climatic final scene.  There is a hurricane that is supposed to move through our area early next week.  We should see quite a bit of rain.  It’s supposed to be gone well before we shoot on Friday.  I certainly hope so.  But, I so badly want it to leave the overcast behind.

I went into this in a fair amount of detail in the other post.  However, I went for a long walk this morning and took a good look at my surroundings.  I snapped some photos with my cell camera.  I’m in another one of my melancholy moods.  Not depressed at all, and honestly, I’m in really good spirits overall.  I’m very pleased with the way the movie is going and excited to get back to it.  I’ve also started a feature screenplay with my writing partner.  We’re off to a great start and I am very excited about that project as well.  My future abounds with possibilities.  It’s just the contrast between what’s happening in my movie, to what happens in my life.

As I looked through the haze at the warmly colored leaves under the gray expanse of clouds, I thought more about why this atmospheric condition affects me the way it does.  Why do I associate love and romance with what other people would consider dreary weather?

More beautiful foliage under a melancholy sky.

Fall for me, has always been a melancholy time of year.  Summer is my favorite season and seeing it end makes me feel a little sad.  As a child, summer was a season of freedom, and although I loved learning, the return of school was a loss of that freedom.  So autumn has always made me a little blue.  Over the last decade or so, I’ve grown to really appreciate the beauty of the changing leaves and even enjoy the brisk cooler weather that fall brings.  Also the anticipation of the start of the holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving.  Still, though, the sadness lingers.

I was originally planning to shoot ISN’T IT ROMANTIC?  in the summer.  For financial and logistical reasons, that wasn’t possible.  I’m glad it worked out that way because I’m much more satisfied with the story taking place against the backdrop of fall.  Today, I dug further into my thoughts and feelings and came up with more reasons for why I like overcast days.

What do people think of when they hear the words “love” and “romance”?  For many, I suppose it’s reasonable to say they would think of a spouse or significant other, the person they love.  Others might think of traditional symbols, hearts, flowers, candlelight, moonlight.  I’m sure weather wise,  most people think of the warmth of the sun, blue skies and clear nights, traditionally happy conditions.

I can’t think of a significant other when I hear those words because I don’t have one.  I’ve never been married and I haven’t had a girlfriend in a long, long time.  To be perfectly honest, it’s unlikely that I ever will again.  So for me, romance is an abstract concept.  Actually more than abstract, it’s fictional.  It only exists in literature, plays and films.  Only in my dreams.  That’s what gray, hazy and overcast days do.  They impart a dreamlike quality to everything.  That’s why I need that in my film.  It’s pure fantasy, a dream.  I need it to look that way because what happens in the movie is so implausible.  It could never happen in real life.

It’s such an important part of why I do what I do.  I’ve always had little fantasies.  We all do.  I just need to play them out someplace.  That’s why I write and why I’ve started making films.  I have all this stuff inside of me, things that I feel uncomfortable sharing.  I have to get them out.  If I put them on the screen, it won’t change my life, but at least I can do something positive with them.  Entertain people and maybe make a slight difference in somebody’s life.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.  No rain on November 2, but please give me my gray sky.