Friday, February 25, 2011

Russian film shoot, Part II

So, it was almost a month ago, but the second day of shooting CTL started with trekking out to the location that had been built. The most fun part was taking all of the equipment through a foot and a half of tightly-packed snow. And by "most fun part," I mean, of course, I'm joking. When we got the location, we learned that the small layer of snow on the ground had turned into a fine coating of ice. So the first step of the day was to take shovels and hammers to the ice so we could shoot the movie without hurting ourselves.

(Christopher works on the ice a little harder than the rest of us.)

The second day involved shooting the hand-to-hand combat that is the center of the film, as well as a final ambush that involved a lot of pretend gunfire. I was looking forward to shooting some blanks from my gun, but then the production team announced they would be adding the gunfire in during post-production. Bummer. But I still got to knife a few soldiers. Score.

The shoot also involved a lot of filming with the German soldiers, so the Russians had a chance to sit around, smoke, and hang out freezing our toes off before we were called over to the set. At least we had donuts to keep us warm. Well, we weren't actually eating the donuts while freezing, but
(The Russian army, slightly relaxed.)

After filming the fight scene, the German scenes, and some scenes of the Russians sneaking through the trees, it came time to film the major scene of dialogue that opens the movie. My costar/scene partner Amanda and I had been running the scene all day, so we were ready for our close-ups. When the scene was up next, the director asked if we wanted to take a minute to look over the scene. We informed him that it wasn't necessary because we had memorize the scene and had been working it all day. He seemed genuinely impressed (and slightly surprised) that we were off-book for the scene, and we went to shoot.

After the first two takes, the director and the script supervisor were very complimentary on the work we were doing. The writer even commented that he liked actors who could take the "not-so-good" words he had written and make them sound great coming out of our mouths. It was great to have the filmmakers praising our work right there on the set while we were filming. We wrapped the scene up, did a few more coverage shots, and then we had to schlep all the equipment back to the cars so we could get back on the road and back to Kurt's house so we could return all our issued army gear.

For two days of moviemaking, it was a lot of fun. I know I've recently come out and said that I'm not interested in continuing my career as an actor - (all the details can be found right here) - but I am all about the short-term, single-day, projects that excite me as a performer. It's not that I'm not interested in acting anymore, it's just that I'm only interested in acting when it is on my terms.


JParis said...

Reminds me of how I feel about my photography now - "I'm only interested...when it is on my terms."

Nick said...

As I keep working, Jeff, I keep re-defining my relationship to acting and performing. More blogs reflecting on that will follow, I imagine, as I keep working those thoughts through.

But the blog isn't going away any time soon!