PRODUCTION JOURNAL


DAY 10 - FRIDAY  MARCH 16, 2001

THE DAMN GENNY


INT. PATROL CAR - ABANDONED NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT
Scene #55 pt.

INT. PATROL CAR - ABANDONED STREET -- NIGHT
Scene #2

INT. PATROL CAR - ABANDONED STREET -- NIGHT
Scene #57

EXT. ABANDONED STREET -- NIGHT
Scene #56

EXT. ABANDONED STREET -- NIGHT
Scene #58



Francis takes a walk

Today was another day planned with military precision, a necessity since we had a very limited lighting package. For a big night shoot, which this proved to be, it was essential that Tim creatively marshal his resources. The approach that Tim and I settled on as the most efficient was to shoot all of the shots that looked East first, all of the Westward shots second, then all of the shots in and around the patrol car last. In the event that it got late and the sun started to rise, we could get away with filming tight coverage inside the car where a wide street shot would be impossible. And if it got really late, we could return another day to finish the coverage in and around the car; there was considerably less lighting involved.

Altogether, there were fifteen separate shots, some of which were specific to scene 2, and some of which were only for scenes 55 - 58. For the first time, I sat down and did my own primitive version of a lined script. A lined script breaks down the specific parts of the scene to be covered by each individual shot. This is how a script supervisor knows when there is a shot missing, or a part of a scene that has not been adequately covered.

The Carol scene begins in the middle of the action in scene 2, then reprises, starting at the beginning in scene 55. The second time around, we see different parts of the scene and see some of the same parts in different ways. In short, it was essential that I be really well organized going in to the day (or night, as it were). Here's a page of the shot list to give you a sense of how my brain works:

As frightening as that may be, it worked for me and Tim. With my scrawling and noodling out of the way, all I had to do for the next couple of hours was chat with the actors, remind the location manager again to take care of the ten thousand barking dogs, pop M&Ms at the craft services table and smoke more cigarettes. Tim would spend the time sending electricians up in the air on condor cranes with big ass lights.


Morning grabs Francis

Things seemed to be going pretty well, when suddenly, about 1 1/2 hours into the night, all the lights went out. It was (you guessed it) the damn genny. It just died and no one could get it going again. If we were in New York or Dallas or Los Angeles, we would have simply made a phone call and had a replacement within the hour. But, we were in San Antonio and the nearest replacement was in Austin. And it was 8 PM. We were, apparently, completely fucked.


The patrol car & crew

A few frantic phone calls revealed that a replacement generator was indeed available in Austin, but it would be at least two hours before we had it on set. Fernando and Tim and I agreed to break for an early lunch and hope the new genny arrived before dawn.

Well, it finally did arrive, but we lost at least half a day's work, which effectively added an entire night to the schedule. Whether we were planning on filming for one or ten hours, it took the same amount of time to prepare the lighting: at least two hours. So, between the mismarked film stock (day before yesterday) and the busted generator, we had added 1+ days to an already tight schedule. Not good.

At least when the gunshots started no one on the crew got hit. The neighborhood was largely abandoned, but apparently not that safe.

- Joseph Pierson
 


Carol's pick-up truck


              



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