*AZ legislature candidate Blaine Walpole, portrayed by the hilarious Kevin Goss. Photo by Denise Elfenbein.
Principal Photography for “Dead Votes Society” wrapped yesterday afternoon as DP Forrest Sandefer raced against the dying sunlight to catch the last shot of the day.
It has been a hell of a project so far and it was a hell of a day to get it all done. 18 set ups in 7 hours.
There are waaaay too many people who gave so much of their time, effort and amazing abilities to give them all the credit they are due this hot minute. Over 60 people crowded the north steps of Prescott’s historic Courthouse, where politicians from Goldwater thru McCain have played out their political drama. On Sunday, October 28, 2012, we played out our satire of the same high drama
I will say that the cast, Judy Stahl, Dino Palazzi, Kevin Goss, Jody Drake and our herds of extras went above and beyond with their focus, their flexibility and comic characterizations while working in such a public place.
The crew was astounding – from Max Kornhauser’s creative and tireless fight choreography to Forrest‘s on the fly lighting and re-lighting of the shots to pull them off, Chad Castigliano and Matt Montgomery and Deb Gallegos racing from one side of the set to the other getting scrims and lights swung ’round, Cindy Nichols running up and down ladders and keeping the clapboard clacking on time, Penelope Davis – ladies and gentlemen, the amazing Penelope Davis and her crew (Chelsea Stone, Sylvia Boyer, Jasmine Castigliano, Dori Mion, Ginney Bilbray, Andrew Pigeon, Susan Crutcher and Debra Klein Duncan) who turned out such amazing make up designs for our zombies and “normies” with such incredible speed, Phil Hammon and his crew – Nick Stecki and Jerod MacDonald-Evoy – dealing with an ENDLESS stream of motorcycle choppers, dogs and yes, at one point a freaking wandering saxophone player, Cynthia Kitts Sobo keeping the shoot flowing with her assistants Terri New and Kay Pifer, all three of our extra Wranglers – Dan Seaman, Coralie Cole and Cole Lahti for organizing and leading their herds of people through shot after shot, and finally our stalwart, Sean Souva who not only detailed the script continuity with a meticulous eye but came early, stayed late and worked his ass off.
Truly, without our hardworking cast and crew, Angie and I would still be sitting around the breakfast table going, “You know what would be cool?” “What?” “We could make a movie!” “That would be cool!””Yeah.” “What’s on television?”
Thank you all and it’s off to post-production. Viva los Zombies!
Tuesday night on the wonderful patio of El Gato Azul, over a fantastic spread of brews and tapas, the core of our Tech Crew for DVS met for the first time. This would be the Camera Department, the Production Sound Department, the Grip/Electrical Department, the Producer and the Director.
Besides making each other’s acquaintance, we decided on our work flow for the sound (the mic to hard drive course the sound signal will take). And planned a test shot prior to the first day of principal photography, to make sure all these fancy plans will work out when we have actors doing actor-ly things in front of both departments.
Its a pretty solid crew and they give me a lot of confidence. Here’s the roll call:
As we prepare for “Dead Votes Society”s October principal photography, I’m thinking about rehearsals and how to help our actors get ready.
Just today, it occurred to me that while most of them have acted for years with Prescott Center for the Arts, Blue Rose Theatre or other organizations, most of them haven’t done much film work.
One thing we’ll need to work on is this: most films are shot out of sequence. It can be a little strange for an actor who’s used to “starting at the beginning and continuing to the end” on the stage – but film is a different kind of theatre.
Since film has a moving viewpoint, the camera and tripod have to be picked up and moved each time the shot is from a new viewpoint. And, the lights have to change too, so the set is let for that viewpoint. Unless you light it for every viewpoint like a sitcom but . . . brr . . . let’s not think too much about what that would look like.
So, we have to move the camera. Which takes time. Many new film actors may not realize just how “hurry up and wait” a film set can be. You’re ready to move on to the next emotion or the follow up double-take to the joke you just made when . . . “Hold for airplane!” Or, “Can someone tape that cuculoris down? The wind is making the shadow move?” “Who’s got an extra C47?” And that acting moment is on hold.
To minimize the down time and to get through the shoot faster (time is still, sadly, money), the director and the DP will make a shot list and then group the shots by where the camera is shooting from.
So, for example, scene two in DVS has 8 shots. Half of them are a straight ahead “two shots” – meaning its just like a regular news broadcast, a shot of two people sitting behind a news desk.
Since half of the shots are from this angle, we shoot each of them and THEN move the camera and re-do the lighting for the next group of shots. That means the actors will perform minutes 1 thru 2 of the finished scene. Then we stop. Re-slate and they perform minutes 4 thru 6. After we move the camera and re-light the stage, then we get to minute 3 and so on.
It takes some getting used to. But its the only way to shoot a nine minute movie in “just” four days.