DAY 26 - Friday, APRIL 6,
"MORNING! HE'S GOT
PATROL CAR - COMMERCIAL STREET -- DUSK
COMMERCIAL STREET - ICE CREAM -- DUSK
EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET - ICE CREAM ALLEY -- DUSK
EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET - ICE CREAM -- DUSK
EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET - DWI SIGN -- NIGHT
day. Wow. The first thought that comes to mind as I reflect back on
the last five weeks is that every day was so incredibly FULL. All
the textures, sounds, people and places are as distinct as if I were
still there. I only hope that in attempting to capture the essence
of each day I have not entirely bored you.
Cream scene, like the filming of the burnt
house, was planned to be shot at dusk and completed within a
period of about one hour, total. The burnt house scene had no
dialogue to speak of, just some relatively easy blocking and smoke
effects. The Ice Cream scene involved seven separate shots, about a
page and a half of dialogue and two pretty serious arrest sequences,
one of which ends with Mather attacking Francis with a huge hunting
knife, then stealing his gun. Pretty challenging, but by this point
in the schedule, I knew we could pull it off.
was 2 PM, but we weren't planning on shooting until 5 or so, which
left plenty of time for the actor playing Mather, the Bills and I to
rehearse the scene while Tim and I discussed the precise camera
angles. Meanwhile, the Art Dept. began the laborious process of
removing the giant logs surrounding the abandoned gas station that
was our set. They were pinned to the ground with steel rod driven
into the tarmac and proved to be next to impossible to remove. With
some artistic use of the hydraulic lift-gate on the back of the Art
Dept. swing truck they managed to remove the logs, one by one.
shot was a wide-angle establishing shot from across the street,
requiring that all personnel and equipment be broomed from the Happy
gas station. That one only took a few minutes to set up and shoot.
Next was a shot from the rear of the patrol car as Francis and
Morning wait for the dispatcher to report back on the status of the
pick-up truck they have pulled over. After lining up the shot with
his viewfinder, Tim pulled me aside. He said he could get a much
better shot if the rear window were removed and what did I think of
that? I immediately caught his drift: this was the last day and
perhaps we could get away with a little, um, modification to one of
the otherwise pristine patrol cars. If the window just popped out,
as it should, a glazier would have no trouble putting it back. I
immediately gave the go-ahead to the careful removal of the rear
window of #733. I left to go meet with the Bills in the Billmobile
as the grips started prying at the weather-stripping.
The glass all swept up
my surprise when I returned to find a huge pile of Chicklet-sized
pieces of broken glass. Apparently, after a heroic effort to remove
the window intact, someone gave it that extra tug in frustration and
it shattered into a million pieces. Once Tim got the camera set up,
however, it was clear that the removal of the glass was worth
it. Fernando would have to calculate the cost of replacement and
fill me in later.
went really well. I bounced back and forth from Morning's (Bill
Sage) side of the truck, where he grapples with Gary (Will
Staten) to Francis' (Bill Dawes) side and his confrontation with
Mather. Both pairs of actors worked together to choreograph an
extremely real arrest sequence with some very physical grappling.
SAPD Officer Richard Hodge showed up on set to watch and, as usual,
proved an invaluable presence with tips on how a real cop would get
the job done. His son also made it into the film as one of the kids
buying ice cream from the truck in the background.
light gradually faded, we powered through four camera angles to
cover the action sequence. We only had time for two takes of each
shot, but the actors were pumped up and getting into the frantic
pace. After each take I uncuffed Gary and sometimes Mather, made
sure the knife Mather swings at Francis was back in the truck and
that all participants were dusted off enough so that we could go
the most absurd moment of the night was when the craft services lady
wandered onto the set with a plate of chips and dip. A truly nice
thought, but her timing was not great as we were frantically
fighting the light.
few shots of the sequence were completed in near darkness, which
made for a pretty great visual effect as a second patrol car
approaches and all the flashing lights flare the camera. Tim didn't
have time to gel the cherry lights or headlights, which ended up
being one of those cool accidents. After five weeks of uncool
accidents, I was pretty happy.
sun finally slipped below the horizon the crew packed up for the
move to our final location. Alan Green, the sound guy, and I stayed
behind to record some police radio effects. Hodge kindly lent us his
radio and I sat in the patrol car listening as Alan recorded random
calls. It was mostly pretty mundane stuff -- except for a carjacking
in progress. Weird. Bits of almost all of it, including the
carjacking, ended up in the film as
random radio noise for that added verite texture.
shot of the film was on the intersection of Cherry Street and
Commerce, a drive-by of Francis and Morning with Winston in the back
seat. It all went smoothly -- until the car accident.
one of the SAPD cops was in the street holding traffic for us when
we heard a screeching of tires. We all turned just in time to see a
car careen into another car that Frank had stopped on Cherry. The
second car slammed into the first, causing it to hurtle 30 feet into
the intersection. Frank barely jumped out of the way in time.
out the guy was completely wasted, freely admitting to drinking
about a gallon of beer. He was hauled away in an ambulance and we
sat around waiting while the SAPD and fire department cleaned up the
mess. Fortunately, no one else was hurt.
point, our patrol car was in the intersection with the lights
flashing along with the SAPD patrol car and an ambulance, both
strobing away. The real cops were milling around and Billy D. and
Bill Sage, in their San Lovisa uniforms, were checking out the scene
as well. Finally, one of the real cops asked them to move their
vehicle. It was one of those moments where you wonder what it all
eventually restored and we commenced filming our final shot. After a
few takes I turned to Tim and we agreed that we were done. I was all
ready to call a wrap, when Matt, the 1st AC, called me over to the
camera. He said there was a hair in the gate and asked me to take a
look. As I peered at the camera he shined his minimag into the
aperture and there was a little cartoon of a rabbit. I laughed and
we were done.
- Joseph Pierson
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Films, Inc. All rights reserved.