Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Shooting day

The day for "Changing Lane" started at about 11 in the morning, when I started cleaning upmy living room and getting some of the props organized for the shoot. I was expecting Rob over at any point in the morning, and most of Lois' newspaper articles and set dressing were in place when I left around noon to go pick Heather up from the train. Once we got back to my place, we talked character until Rob showed up, and then the first order of business was to do our photo shoot to create the props we needed. First up were a few pictures of Lois and Clark, the one we used was posted in a previous entry. Then both Heather and I changed costumes, and we took some pictures as Lois and Superman, photos by James Olsen, that were used as photos around Lois' computer and workdesk. One of the best is posted below. Note the section of pipe in my hands in the upper right corner, standing in for either a building or a helicopter. Our attempt to recreate the classic Chris Reeve/Margot Kidder "You've got me? Who's got you?" sequence from Superman: The Movie.

I really think we hit it out of the park with these photos, all of which appeared completely convincing on set. Rob went off to get the photos developed at Walgreens, and when he and the other actress Nikiya arrived, we moved into the beginning of our shooting day. The actors ran lines while Rob and I set up the lights, camera, mic, etc. There was a tense moment as we realized that the mic wasn't working, but the problem was solved and we could start shooting. Nikiya waited patiently in the kitchen while we shot the first few moments of Lois Lane just around 4pm. The filming then went slowly but efficiently, finishing all of the shots in the apartment around 11pm or so. Then we bundled up the equipment, packed the actors in my car, and went over to Rob's apartment building to shoot the final sequences we needed, using his front door and hallway. We got the last shot a little after midnight, and then we took one more publicity still for use as the film's poster, and then I took both of the girls home for the night. Ultimately, I got home at about 2:30 in the morning, after a very long day.

The shoot was a complete success. I was blessed with very talented and very patient actors for this project, and they were fantastic all day. Many producers have said that casting a project well is the first step toward making it a success. Some will say that accurate casting can make up as much as 90% of the work for a director. Heather and Nikiya were on top of their characters, on top of their lines, on top of everything that we threw at them all day. Nikiya brought a wonderful maturity to Lucy Lane, fulling bringing her to life. Heather gave Lois Lane a sense of reality that wasn't in my script, making the material even better than it reads on the page.

I'm now, as readers know, knee-deep in learning lines for "The Mercy Seat," and I also received my schedule today for the season finale of "Paper Cuts." Lots of things always seem to be due at once, as always, and now I just have to make sure that I'm getting paid for all this work. I've got a nice bit of experience now both as a film actor, a producer, and a stage actor, so I really am looking to use this experience and background to start getting higher profile or higher paying jobs. My schedule looks like it clears up in about a month, so I'll be looking forward to time of my own again.

More stories and pictures from Changing Lane will follow, particularly as I sit down with Rob in front of the computer to cut together the final version of the film. I'm also a huge fan of bonus features on DVDs, and I already have a list of things that I'd like to do after we complete the film for the DVD release. Those things include additional scenes, multiple commentary tracks (featuring both producers and actors), a trailer, and a gallery of images from those photo shoots and the props that were used in the film. More on the bonus features as they develop...

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