DAY 17 - Tuesday, MARCH 27, 2001


Scene #97

Scene #8

Scene #20

Scene #70

Scene #60

Scene #71

The Blue Duck

Today we were supposed to shoot scenes 74 - 77 and more coverage of scene 105/106, the final scene of the film, all of which take place at the restaurant on South Flores. We had already completed scene 75, a cutaway of Jessica sweeping outside the Food Mart and parts of 105/106. We arrived at the restaurant in the pouring rain and saw that it would be completely impossible to match the parts of the scenes we had already shot. The pavement was soaking wet, the windows were completely fogged up and the light was totally wrong. And did I mention that it was pouring? We evidently were going to have to find something else to do for the day.

Organized film productions have cover sets lined up. We had one cover set for the entire shoot; Francis' apartment. It was ideal because it required only one actor, Billy D., and the set was pre-dressed in Paul Ross's house (the Prop Master). We only had a single day's shooting there, however, and I really wanted to save it until the end of the shoot, if possible. The only other cover option for today was the housing project hallways, but that location had not been secured yet. Why, I can't imagine. It's not like a hallway is a tough location to find. At any rate, we assembled department heads and announced the move to Paul's house.

Matt works his magic

While the sets were lit and set dressing was shifted around, Matt (1st camera assistant) tackled the repair of the Arri camera. As you recall, it sort of fell yesterday and the power connection broke. Well, this proved to be a bigger time-eater than the company move. It was no less than four hours from call time when the camera was finally fixed. I want to stress, though, that Matt was by no means the problem. We were lucky to have him. He saved our ass on more than a few occasions when camera-related problems occurred that left everyone else scratching their heads in total befuddlement. But all I could think about was starting a day with four hours lopped off right from the get-go. That ain't right.

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Billy D. looks in the imaginary mirror

The close-up of the blue-tipped bullets

I think I set a personal record today. We shot an entire day's worth of film with only one word of dialogue. And, this being EvenHand, that word was, of course, "shit." I was so pissed when Cherry, our last film, was given an "R" rating by the MPAA. Cherry had three "fucks," two "shits" and NO violence, NO nudity. The sexual references were all arch and mostly innuendo and really not any racier than the double-entendres typical of classic Saturday morning cartoons. The fact that we were given an "R" makes it abundantly clear that the MPAA is a highly political organization. If Cherry had been a studio film, you can bet it would have been given a PG-13, as most ultra-violent sexually depraved studio films are. Anyway, EvenHand is my revenge on the MPAA -- it has seven or eight "fucks" in every scene and some violence, too. If it is ever rated, it will absolutely get an "R." No sex, though, unfortunately. Note to self: include that stuff in another film someday.

Greg scoffs at the duck's key light

Today's trivia fact: When Francis reads a paperback in scene 71 it is a book called The Death of M. Golouja. This is the Serbo-Croatian short story on which Julian Po, our first feature film, was based. Will anyone ever notice? Will anyone ever care? I don't know, but it made me happy and Alan Wade may get a chuckle out of it if he ever decides to watch one of our other films, which he probably won't.

Francis arranges blue-tipped bullets

The most amusing moment of the day (in retrospect) was when we finished the umpteenth scene of Francis moping around his apartment. Always planning ahead, I had already chosen the song I wanted to use for one of the scenes. When we finished the setup I was picturing how it would all come together in post. I told Billy that he was great and that the music would really make the moment. If I had thought about it I would have realized that that was a really dumb thing for a director to say to an actor. His interpretation of my words was something like "you were OK, but that won't matter because the music will make it really good." It didn't come out at all how I meant it, so I apologized for my boorish insensitivity. Then, after virtually every setup for the remainder of the shoot I would say to Billy: "Yeah, that was fine, but you know what's going to make this scene, this moment, really great? The Music!"

Francis reads The Death of M. Golouja

The song in question is "The Creek Between Heaven and Hell" by Jesse Dayton (thanks, Bill S.). And I gotta say, since we've put it in in post, it makes the scene GREAT!

- Joseph Pierson


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