Green Screen Shoot @ Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Day 1 October 21
Scene 4: Francis in the Somnambulist Tent
Everyone’s excited and nervous for the first day of shooting. We load Noé’s futon in Matt’s truck and set off early to prep for the 6p call. After unloading @ Filmmakers, Matt & I set out to get snacks & pizza to feed the cast & crew. ETC first-year Noah Alzayer & our D.P. Brad Grimm are already setting up when we return. The green floor is laid & I make a spot for craft services when our lead actor Adam Reilly arrives.
For the coffin we covered the TV stand with green cloth. Chengfu in green is the arm emerging from the coffin. Noah stood in for the Somnambulist when it corners Francis and shows him the tragic imminent future.
While Michael & Chengfu concentrate on lighting and keeping things green, I take notes on camera lens aperture as well its height from the ground & distance to the actor.
Shooting pretty much straight through, we finished an hour ahead of schedule, ~11pm.
Day 2 October 22
Scene 3: Francis & Jane enter Caligari’s Tent
2nd day of shooting there was an initial costume emergency, as I had forgotten to tell our Dr. Caligari – Jeff Monahan – to bring a white button-down shirt! In triage-mode, I take Matt’s truck and go with Adam to the CMU costume shop, which turns out to be closed. On our drive back to Filmmakers, Adam spots his costume design friend Megan Spatz & we stop her, pleading our case. Megan’s totally amenable & I call Matt to see if we need anything else, but it looks like we’re covered, so we thank Megan as she gets out of the car. As we start driving again, Matt calls needing black flats for Sallie. We turn around & catch up with Megan & head back to the costume shop. Megan was a superstar, coming through in every way, including awesome gauze which proved essential in our shoot a few days later. Now that we have a nice selection of white shirts & black shoes, we’re ready to shoot. There are more people in the studio today: all 3 actors, first-year Anisha Deshmane, Brad’s friend Nate Robinson, who volunteered as key grip for the rest of the shoot, ETC alum Jeff Balmert, and Matt’s friend Jon Cortinovis.
Scene 8: Francis in Caligari’s Office
The only scene that has dialogue, we use a boom mike. Adam tries his line a number of ways, ranging from holding back to full out emotion; he ends up playing somewhere in the middle. Today is the only day for Jeff, so we take pictures and thank him for all his wonderful work playing the infamous Caligari.
Day 3 October 23
Scene 7: The Chase
The chase scene has many different shots, including some dutch angle (right picture). Kp and first-year MZ volunteer to help out today and prove to be good grips following Nate’s lead. Sallie’s shoes are a bit big so she tried running barefoot as well. We finish a bit over ~1am, but everyone is a terrific sport.
Day 4 October 25
Somnambulist Mo-Cap Shoot
While originally we had ETC alumna Laura Lantz be our mo-cap actor, upon further deliberation Matt thought it ultimately best to use our lead actors to also be the mo-cap actors in various turns, since the Somnambulist is a figment of Francis’ imagination and is a projection of both Francis and Jane at different points in the story. At 5p Sallie Eskins arrives prepared with black tights, bodysuit and hair-tie. Sallie plays the Somnambulist in the chase scene which requires running and being tackled to the ground; what sofa and seat cushions we have are brought in to soften her fall.
I order pizza and it arrives minutes before Adam. As Adam’s early, we have some pizza before I take him around the ETC. As Adam’s from Orlando, FL, and worked as Tigger for a few weeks in Disney World, he immediately hits it off with Mk and we chat in her office until it’s time for his turn in the Organic Motion stage. We head back to the project room and together with Sallie we visit Pei, where his work on the Cintiq yields oohs and aahs and Adam tries Action in Motion’s hack and slash Kinect game.
Around 9pm Adam changes into his black tights for his mo-cap shoot. The mo-cap animation’s a bit jittery, and Adam tries a number of different ways of moving as the Somnambulist for the bedroom and chase scenes. We finish as projected at 12am.
Day 5 October 26
Green Screen Shoot @ Pittsburgh Filmmakers
Scene 1: Francis & Jane entering the Carnival
Final day of shooting, Pei comes to help. Everyone’s a bit tired, but morale is still good. The first task at hand is to get the fan to blow the fake newspaper away from Adam’s leg. After some finagling, we get a few good takes; the shot actually calls for a newspaper blowing towards Francis’ leg, but the shot will be reversed in editing, as Matt made the good point that it’s much easier to blow away than towards the leg. After the shoot I realize to my consternation that Sallie’s hair, which I’ve kept carefully combed and behind her shoulders, is inconsistent with her hair on Day 2, which was in front. What saves the continuity is that Day 2 were all interior shots & Day 5 are exterior shots, phew!
Scene 2: Walking through the Carnival
We mix red Kool Aid with Karo corn syrup and a bit of Hershey’s syrup for the blood and after the initial shots of just walking through the carnival, we dress up the desk with additional props from the café downstairs as well as jewelry and bling from Kan & Mk. Adam is careful about avoiding blood on the doll, supporting it largely with his fingers only.
Scene 6: Jane’s Bedroom
Noé’s futon is finally brought out for the iconic scene. I befriend Dave down in the café and get hummus wraps for the cast & crew, a healthy change from the pizza & hero sandwiches of the weekend. All the light-colored fabric were used for the linens then Megan’s amazing gauze to make the romantic canopy. By this scene we’re in overtime, and Sallie’s happy to be lying down comfortably. Matt shoots the scene two ways: Jane asleep & Jane sad. The fan provides a bit of billow to the canopy, taking into account the Somnambulist entering through the open window. Brad calls this “the money shot”, and indeed he is right. After a few more pick-up shots, it’s a wrap!!
The Cast & Crew
IT’S A WRAP!