First Three Production Days! 11/19/2011
These past two weeks have been extremely busy! On Thursday, November 10th, I started production on LIFE, CYCLES.! On Thursday we filmed Amy's first two scenes; Amy getting a phone call from Joe & then an exterior apartment scene where Amy was running to her car. It was a lot of fun shooting those two scenes & they turned out just the way I imagined them in the script! I had a FANTASTIC & large crew that evening! This was the first production I've had where we used an external monitor and a sound mixer. The external monitor was nice because I didn't have to hover over Tim's shoulder for every take. It was very helpful because I could be clear across the room to approve each composition! Both scenes were fun to do! We used Devin's bedroom for the phone call scene. The night before the shoot, Devin and I rearranged his bedroom.... moved his bed, the wall decor and the lamps to make it look more like Amy's room. Thank you for letting me film at your apartment, Dev!
I wanted minimal lighting in the bedroom so we lit the room with only one Arri light and used a blue gel to create a moonlight effect in the room. I only wanted Amy to be illuminated by the cellphone screen and we were successfully able to do that by Devin holding a second iPhone between the bedside table and the bed. It took a lot of syncing for the two cellphones to light up at the same time, but they were able to make it work! It looks awesome :)
The second scene was the exterior of Devin's apartment. We rented two 2K Fresnel lights from Cinequipt (a local equipment rental facility). We used one light to mimic moonlight and one to mimic an orange streetlight. We also rented an extra 25' of track from them that allowed us to have a 35'+ tracking shot of her running to her car! Tim, Devin and Derek did a fantastic job getting that to work! :) Thanks guys! Lisa (Amy) did a knock out job in both scenes! She is a very talent actress and I love having her on set!
On Friday we had our first production day at Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute in Minneapolis. We shot the pool scene, which is the scene at the end of the film prior to the footage of the real Joe Stone hand cycling in Montana. First off, I want to say how amazing it has been filming at Sister Kenny and Abbott Northwestern. The public relations manager for Allina, Gloria, has been extremely helpful and supportive in my pursuit of making this film. She has been working with me for the past few months and I am so thankful for her dedication to this project! We were able to film in the pool under the supervision of Todd (A SKRI therapist). I am very thankful that he was able to be with us that day as well. He stayed overtime for four hours so that we could film in his facility and he let us use any equipment we wanted for the scene. Thanks Todd!
Friday took quite a bit of rehearsal and setup, but was well worth it in the end! Tim has been a mastermind behind the camera. He was successfully able to get a shot that I really wanted that tracked down the length of the pool as Joe and the therapist entered down the ramp. Tim found a way to mount the camera to the base of the track and then he made a smooth motion down the length of the pool. Again, the footage turned out great! On Friday, the actors were JP and Lisa, Brad (a therapist) and then the real Joe Stone and two other extras in the pool. Brad was the perfect therapist! Lisa was able to get him very last minute (the night before) and he was just perfect for the part! Thanks for jumping on board on such short notice! The two other extras are my producers for the Superior Dream documentary I am editing. Thanks guys for being a part of my film! :) Also, It was really nice to have Joe Stone there because he was able to work with JP and myself on all of his actions. I like to call Joe my "choreographer" and "consultant" because Joe and Amy have been very helpful in directing my lead actors. Could not thank them enough for being so supportive & willing to share every detail of their story with me.
After the production on Friday my parents and brother brought "sloppy joes" :) to the hospital. We all enjoyed the delicious meal & then wrapped for the evening. Thanks fam for feeding my cast & crew!
On Saturday we were supposed to film in a hospital room, but due to schedule conflicts we had to post-pone. It was probably for the best because everyone was exhausted.
On the following Tuesday, we had a fresh start and we were ready for more! We had our second production day at Sister Kenny. This time we got to the hospital in record time and then filmed 3 scenes, in 3 locations, in 7 hours! By this time, we had a good rhythm down and everyone knew their responsibilities. Very impressive work cast & crew!
Right before we went upstairs to start setting up for the first scene, Gloria told me she had bad news about the schedule. Last minute she found out that two of the locations were occupied until 7:00pm, which caused me to rearrange the entire schedule. I was able to rearrange the schedule pretty quickly and give all of the actors and extras a notice about their new call times. Everything worked out great & we shot the scenes in a different order. We shot the bed transfer scene first. This was one of the scenes I was most excited about & again, it turned out just the way I imagined it! I'm so glad Tim was able to see all the locations prior to filming.. it really allowed us to prepare for each scene.
The night before, JP and I went over to Joe and Amy's house where they made us a scrumptious dinner & then Joe and JP were able to practice bed transfers. It was very beneficial for them to rehearse this because he had an awesome performance on set the next day! I have to say that all of my actors have been very dedicated to their roles. I could not ask for better actors. They really get to know the people they are portraying and relate to their every emotion. I am so thrilled and impressed with their talent!
It has been great to have so many friends and family involved with my film. My brother was able to act in this scene as well as a nurse observing the bed transfer. He is getting his Masters in Nursing so it was cool to have him be a part of this.
The second scene we did that day was a conversation between Amy and her friend Sarah. The scene takes place a few weeks into Joe's coma when Amy is visiting him. This was a very emotional scene and the girls did a really good job! Again, I was very impressed. My crew did an excellent job dressing & lighting the set. My Art Director, Katherine, did a really good job making Amy look tired and worn out.
The last scene of the night was a group therapy session on vehicle modification. Again, Brad was the therapist and I had Joe and his friend Steve as extras. Steve is another player on Joe's quad rugby team & it was great to have him in this scene. As you may have already noticed, I am trying to have the real Joe Stone in as many scenes as possible. I'm hoping viewers will sort of pick up on it because I think it will be special to have him as an extra throughout the film. :) This was the first scene where JP wore Joe's TLSO brace. It looked great & he didn't complain once - What a trooper!
So that was our first three production days! Every scene was rewarding and really fun to produce!
Thank you to the cast & crew and family/friends/extras for your dedication and hard work! I get to work with an incredible group of talented people and I appreciate every one of you!!
Keep an eye out for production stills from the first three days. Soon to be added to the 'Production Stills' page this week!
On Tuesday we hope to film our first set of scenes in the ICU! Crossing fingers that there is a room available for us!
Here is my journal where I can reflect on the creative process in the development and production of my senior film.