DAY 20 - Friday  MARCH 30, 2001


Scene #2 pt.

Scene #56 pt.

Scene #57 pt.

Scene #58 pt.

Francis (Bill Dawes) and Morning (Bill Sage) at the scene of the accident

With a strong sense of deja vu, we returned to the intersection of Vine and Bargas for a reprise of the Carol scene. Upon arrival, all my barking dog anxiety immediately returned, prompting another conversation with Larry Sanchez (Location Manager) about the state of our doggie biscuit supply.

We succeeded in completing all the coverage looking West on our first night, which left all of the East-facing shots and all the shots in and around the patrol car for tonight. Eminently doable, barring unforseen technical problems or strafing from unhappy neighbors. If our generator hadn't self-destructed on the first night tonight's work wouldn't have been necessary. For a description of our first fun-packed visit to this location, see THE DAMN GENNY journal entry.

One of the most interesting aspects of this night's work was knowing we would have to exactly match the action from several shots that we had filmed on the earlier night here. I came prepared; we had a videocassette player and the dailies tapes from the first night. In the course of reviewing the tapes, one continuity error immediately became apparent. Francis is meant to inspect the wreck of Carol's truck, shining his Maglite on it. When we filmed him running to Carol, however, Billy D. dropped his Maglite on the ground and left it there (a natural response). There could be no faking it -- it is clearly visible rolling around on the tarmac in every take. On the one hand, I was very pleased to be discovering the problem on location, as opposed to in the editing room weeks later. On the other hand, what the hell could we do about it? After a Bill/Bill/Joseph powwow, we arrived at the answer: Morning attempts to calm Francis down by handing Francis his Maglite and suggesting he go look at the truck. This was coverage we hadn't shot yet, so it should work fine when we cut it all together (note from post: it did).

Joseph in the patrol car 

Tonight was also the night that featured the debut of the bloody napkin. Early in the scene, and their conversation, Carol coughs, spraying Francis. He wipes his face with a napkin only to notice later that it has streaks of blood on it. Getting the streaks just right was difficult and of paramount importance to this detail-obsessed director. I had been speaking to Paul Ross (Props) and Thomas Espy (Set Decorator) for several days about the napkin. I asked that they have plenty of fake blood, a big supply of paper napkins and a rubber ball. The rubber ball was to use as a surrogate face. I demonstrated how they could dot the ball with blood and then wipe the napkin across it, thereby creating a pattern of bloody streaks. As Tim and I worked on other parts of the scene, they would periodically approach me with new variations on the bloody napkin. Each time I would offer my critical appraisal and send them back to try again. Finally, toward the end of the night, they brought me the perfect napkin.

Thomas and Paul share The Triumph of the Bloody Napkin with Billy D.

Tonight we also finally got to film Carol's coverage. As I mentioned in the "Carol" journal entry, I was quite taken with her audition. Her performance in the scene lived up to that promise: spacey without seeming like she was stoned.

Kelley Saunders as Carol

In today's "What went wrong" category, the sound tapes from tonight's work inexplicably disappeared somewhere between the set and the lab. On a night with some five pages of dialogue, this is a disaster of major proportions. While it is theoretically possible for the actors to come to the studio and loop (re-record) all their dialogue, this is a huge pain in the ass and it never sounds as good as the original. Fortunately, Alan Green backed up most of his DAT tapes to minidisk during production. The only time he failed to do this was when we were in a hurry to roll and he didn't have a chance to start up the minidisk recorder. Unfortunately, this happened more than a few times during the night. The scene was so well covered, though, that we ended up with enough takes with good sound to cut it all together without a problem. Good save, Alan.

And on top of that, the generator behaved all night long and there were no random neighborhood gunshots whatsoever! Nice.

- Joseph Pierson

Night of the Living Continuity & 1st AD


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