DAY 22 - Monday, APRIL 2,
TOBY GOES HOME FOR
TOBY'S MOM'S HOUSE -- DAY
TOBY'S MOM'S HOUSE -- DAY
EXT. TOBY'S MOM'S HOUSE -- DAY
INT. PATROL CAR - TOBY'S MOM'S HOUSE -- DAY
Io and Lisa share an introspective moment by the prop truck
our day off (singular), this was great material to start the week
with. I dimly recall there being some issue with coffee being ready at
call time and maybe even a small doughnut controversy, but no matter.
Today was a Toby day and that spelled fun for all.
mom's house is one of the wonderful and strange Christmas houses we
found so frequently on the East and West sides of San Antonio. No
matter what the season, the holiday spirit prevails. We never asked
the owners of any of the houses why they still had their holiday
decorations up, but the occupants of Toby's Mom's house volunteered
that they just never got around to taking them down. This seemed like
too simple an answer to a puzzling phenomenon, but the results were
pleasing to me, so I let it be.
plan was to shoot the extensive scene of Toby in handcuffs arguing
with his mom in a single master. Io, Melinda
Renna (who played Toby's Mom) and I rehearsed the scene repeatedly
while Tim installed and tweaked his lights. When Tim was ready, we
banged off eight takes of the master, all hand-held. The Arri BL5 is
not an ideal camera to use for hand-held shots, by the way. It's heavy
as a son of a bitch and poorly balanced. Tim worked mighty hard today.
Satisfied with the material in the masters we shot, we did a small
number of cutaways and singles and moved outside for the scene in
which Francis and Morning come to the door looking for Toby.
Melinda Renna (Toby's mom) and Io Tillett Wright (Toby)
first a word about Melinda Renna. As mentioned in an
earlier journal entry, Susan Jasso, my casting director, often
greeted by me with the question, "Toby, where?" which was
soon modified to "Toby's Mom, where?" after I hired Io. It
was only last week when I finally sat down after wrap one day all
bleary-eyed and reviewed some tapes of Toby's Mom candidates. As tired
as I was, Melinda was the obvious choice. Watching third generation
VHS video tapes is hardly an ideal way to make a casting decision, but
it was the best we could do. And Melinda, like all of the local
actors, turned out to be perfect in the role. She is Latina, which was
not in Mike Jones' original character description for her or Toby, but
fit with my adaptation of the material to San Antonio (65% Latino).
The only real clue that Toby is Hispanic is that he understands and
responds to his mom's Spanish, not uncharacteristic for a teenaged son
of a presumed immigrant. The fact that he is played by a white girl is
neither here nor there.
James stands in with attitude
Bills were their usual excellent selves, making Scene 50/51 one of my
new favorites. But, the late-breaking news that seven out of the eight
takes we shot of Toby and his mom inside the house were no good ruined
my mood. Apparently the camera department made one of their extremely
rare mistakes and mislabeled the film stock we used for the first
seven takes of the master for scene 47. Ouch. I only had one useable
take, then, of a 2 1/2 page scene. It was the last one, though, and
among the best, so I resisted the temptation to ask Tim to relight the
house and shoot some more takes for insurance. That turned out to be
the right instinct, as a review of the dailies revealed. Everything we
needed was there in that final take.
The next disaster of the day, like so many of our
heartbreaks, was only revealed several days later. We once again had a
film magazine with the dreaded gate weave (a problem that causes the
film to stutter as it is exposed, rendering it fuzzy and useless).
Like last time, though, we were spared from complete ruination by the
fact that it was a 400' mag (as opposed to a 1000') which we had used
sporadically throughout the day. The only ruined shots were ones for
which we had other circled takes.
While these recurring technical snafus seemed to
always fall just short of total horror, they were frequent enough, and
bad enough, to keep me and Tim on edge for the last couple of weeks of
the job. An oft repeated mantra as we drove home to Logsville Lodge*
every night was "Never again..."
Kinya, Io and Kay share some love
- Joseph Pierson
*See the Logsville Lodge
journal entry for an explanation of what this is (to be written
© 2001 Cypress
Films, Inc. All rights reserved.