busy busy busy

took friday off from the Doody to prepare for the Broken People shoot for Kyle Puccia. had a great, long rehearsal with the two incredible actors who played the leads: Murisa Harba and Charlie Capen. they were amazing in rehearsal and even better on set over the weekend … but i’m getting a little ahead of myself.

the first shoot day began for me and denny loading his friend’s truck up with all our gear. it was actually a completely lucky thing that denny’s friend had to head out of town for the weekend, because that basically gave us another truck that it turned out we sorely needed. anyway, we loaded the truck up with all the gear and headed out to North Hollywood. the first location was this cool condo owned by Kyle’s friend, Lio. denny and i were a tiny bit late, but the only people who beat us were Kendall, a new production designer i hadn’t yet met named James and an amazing AD – whose name i actually can’t mention for certain union-related reasons.

within moments everybody else arrived and we got to work. James and Kyle and several others got the place set up, and Denny and my nephew Joseph Cruz set up the dolly and this cool Losmandy traveler porta- jib. Kendall ran back to the apt for the monitor (eek!) and i started working with the actors and just helped out wherever else i could. the thing that was kind of frightening me the most was that due to certain scheduling difficulties we ended up having to shoot all the most emotionally difficult scenes at the very beginning of the first day of shooting! i knew this before we even rehearsed though, so i forewarned Murisa who didn’t really seem concerned, but that didn’t really do anything to manage my own anxiety.

about ten or so minutes before Denny and the rest were ready for talent on set, i grabbed the whole crew’s attention and let them all know that we’d need to keep the set quiet, reverent and respectful of the performers – especially due to the difficulty of that very first shot.

regardless of my precautions though, my anxieties weren’t going away and continued right up until the moment that i called ‘Action’ and Murisa started to get to work – not even because i doubted Murisa’s talent and dedication, but because of the intense difficulty of the performance we needed. not only did we need her to be in extremely heightened emotional state, but she also needed to have a very specific moment when the dolly was at just the right distance and then another as the dolly move was complete. i know technically sound actors – actors that can hit a moment with a single rehearsal and hit it every single time – and i know emotionally deep actors – actors with emotional facility that would make you weep or jump for joy, but actors with both … ? that is really rare.

but when i called ‘Action’ on that first take, tears immediately started to well up in Murisa’s eyes as she continued writing a letter. then Denny started to dolly in. at just the right moment – the exact distance that the dolly needed to be for her first specific moment, Murisa was suddenly filled with doubt – through the tears. then she shook it off and clearly made some decision and continued to write. then just as the dolly was coming to a stop, she signed the letter with determination and put it in the envelope. first shot, first take and all my anxieties vanished. it was far from perfect – both on the production side as well as the performance, but one thing was instantly clear to me – we could pull this off.

the rest of the weekend was honestly a bit of a blur – 12 hours the first day despite a crazy, violent thunderstorm in the evening – which made packing up at the end of the night a very interesting endeavor – and then 15 hours the second. it had its ups and downs too, but everybody pulled it together and i was very pleased with the result.

we do need to still work out getting some other footage – we need to locate a very high-speed camera to capture some ultra-slow-mo shots of mirrors and pottery and whatnot shattering – but otherwise post-production begins now and we’ll see how it will all work out together, but the fact that Kyle’s song “Message” was placed in last night’s Pretty Little Liars seems to me like a very good sign.

more later and as soon as we’re done, we’ll post the actual video itself.

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