Sunday, July 30, 2006

Final shoot

**I have come back to this post to add some details about the shoot 8/29/6**

I will re-edit this with more info about the final day of shooting, but I am tired because I got home at noon after shooting since seven and then spent the rest of the day delivering an alpaca baby (see him at my alpaca blog). I'm pooped.

Here are some pictures of the shoot to amuse you while I'm recovering:

**This is David, Shaun and Katie in the "Pam's" apartment (actually Doug Smith and family's house).

**Kerry, Shaun and Katie in the kitchen of Doug's house. They are setting up the sound for the phone/answering machine scene in Pam's apartment. The kitchen appears very briefly in the film.

**Shaun, David, Kerry and Doug's daughter (whose name I never remember) in the "dirty" apartment. Shaun's wife Anne-Marie (our artistic director) and I made the room messy with 90's era magazines, books and stuff. It was fun.

** One shot of the mess poor Ashley has to pick up in the film. The idea was to make it look like Jeff had been sleeping on the couch without making it screamingly obvious that was what he was doing. I really like the shots of the mess that are included in the film. We even had Doug's family skip doing dishes from the night before so that we could include the dirty dishes in the film. We borrowed Doug's boots, too (lower right corner). They were too perfect.

I was supposed to go to Shaun's after lunch to watch the raw footage from the day, but that was when little Willie (the alpaca) decided to arrive, so I joined Shaun later that week to see the footage and his first rough cut of the whole film. I like watching the film, so I hope that means it will be entertaining for other people. :)

That's all for now.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Locations finalized

Katey's place = Ashley's place

We have finalized our locations: Ashley's apartment will be our actor Katey's apartment, and Pam's house is our friend Doug Smith's place. We finalized this the day before we needed to shoot scenes in Ashley's place. (rolls eyes)

Doug's Place = Pam's place

We shot the evening scene at Ashley's apartment on Wednesday.

opening shot on plant in widow

Kerry and David setting up the shot at Ashley's

Shooting on Wednesday went well except that it was wickedly hot in Katey's apartment. Here in Oregon, we can usually count the above-ninety degree days on one hand per summer, but this year it's been warm for a long time. We had to close up the apartment to keep the noise down, and turn on the halogen light, so we were cooking by the time we were done. I felt sorry for Katey who has a curtain of black hair, which I know from experience is hot.

Saturday, we are going to shoot the morning scene at Ashley's and the scene at Pam's place. I am going to miss this shoot because I will be at "Pam's" place setting up the props, etc. with Anne-Marie.

We are nearing the end!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Final week of filming

This is going to be a busy week, although we don't have a very firm schedule yet. I think this kind of scheduling would drive more A-type people crazy, but our crew is really mellow and seems to be fine with it.

Today (Tuesday), we are going to look at a couple of different locations for the apartment shoots this weekend. That's right, last weekend of shooting, and we have yet to decide on locations. Funny, huh?

Anyway, we're going to look at two places today, and, I assume, make a decision. We are probably going to rely on friends' and actor's apartments for Pam and Ashley's places. We have such understanding friends and actors!

Tomorrow (Wednesday) evening, we are probably going to shoot something involving the apartments. The day and shooting schedule are tentative, relying on a number of things, but we need some evening footage.

Finally, on Saturday and/or Sunday, we are filming Ashley in her and Pam's apartments.

Boy, this is a loose schedule. It's a good thing I have basically nothing else going on.

Oh, and I bought two plants as candidates for the opening shot of the film. This shot frames the plant in a morning window, and the shot is repeated later in the film.

In a day or so, I'll have a list of things I need to remember for the final shoot, but I haven't even started one yet. I will begin to worry soon, I suppose. Until then I go blithely along.


Last Saturday, we collected all the actors together to record the answering machine tracks for 5 Cups of Coffee. This took place at my house, which is way out in the country at the end of two miles of gravel road. It is always a challenge for people to get here, even though my husband has the directions down to the odometer click. Two of the actors and our sound guy got lost along the way.

This at least gave me some time to play with the answering machines I bought for a total of $8 at Goodwill. One of them never did work right, even though I downloaded the manual off of the Internet (God bless Google).

Once we finally had everyone assembled, we were able to lay down the tracks. First, we left the greetings which consisted of mostly, "Hi, this is Pam. Leave a message."

Then we left messages. My house has three phone lines, so we were able to attach the machine to one line and call from another. We recorded the whole thing onto Shaun's computer from clicks, whirs, and messages. Actually, we all agreed that the machine sounds were pretty darned cool. You don't get that with voicemail!

One kinda weird thing was that I had to direct my mother, Mij Bradley, who is playing, oddly enough, the mother. My mother is very expressive and dramatic, even though she's never done much on stage. However, we had to wean her from landing on her lines and projecting like a stage actress. And, like I said, it's weird directing your mother.

Everything came out sounding great, and Shaun has lots to work with when he pieces this together. Somehow we are going to use the recordings during the shoot this weekend so that Katey (Ashley) has something to react to during the scenes.

We also watched the first edits that Shaun has put together. It's very exciting to see all my little characters brought to life in such an ultra-cool way. I like this script-writing thing!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An answering machine

Much of the plot development of the script for 5 Cups relies on the answering machines. I thought I had two answering machines. I can only find one that doesn't look like it was made last week (the aesthetic of the film is circa 1988-93 or so, so the wireless phone/answering machine combo in my kitchen isn't going to cut it). My mother thinks she has one in her house, but she can't remember. If worst comes to worst, I'm going to Goodwill on a quest to find a 15 year old working answering machine.

Film is such a funny business.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day One in the Can!

Our first day of shooting was on Saturday, July 15, at Rick's Cafe in Monmouth, OR, for the "Big Scene." This is the only scene where all three actors participate, plus we had to coordinate our poet, musician and extras. On top of that, the cafe was open for business that day, so we had to deal with customers as well. In short, it was our most complicated shoot, so we decided to get it out of the way first.

All of the pieces came together really well except for the lead actor incident (see previous posting). Because we had to re-cast Jeff, I met the actors at 11:30 instead of 12 noon, which was our original meeting time, so that we could rehearse will all three of them, and let Nick in on all of the blocking and camera work.

(Did I mention how grateful we are to Nick for stepping in at the last minute? Well, we are.)

One amusing aspect to this whole thing is that the character Jeff has to be very nasty to Pam. First, Nick is a very mellow guy and was having trouble channeling any meanness. Also, he is newly engaged to Meghan, who plays the part of Pam.I was a little worried for the first couple of takes, but he found some anger somewhere and by take six, we had it!

After the 2 1/2 hour shoot, we went back to Shaun's place to look at the footage. It all looked great. We have some 20 minutes of footage to choose from for the 3 minute scene. Shaun was very pleased.

All in all, a good day.

This week Shaun and David and Katey are going to shoot some of the exteriors for the film. I can't make these shoots, but there is very little character development, etc. that I am concerned about in these shots, so I am not worried.

This weekend we are going to record the answering machine tape. I think that's a good task for a weekend that promises to be in the 100's.

That's all for now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


David Doelinger, our cameraman, said to me on Tuesday that a film shoot had to have at least one thing go wrong to be considered a "real" film shoot. So, we are now legit.

He made this comment as I was driving him home from our first rehearsal with our actors. Or, what was supposed to be our first rehearsal. It ended up being a run-through with our two female leads, Meghan and Katey, and our poet, Ty. Our leading man, the one with all the lines and the one who needed the rehearsals the most, never showed. After waiting around 45 minutes and calling his place twice, we "volunteered" Ty to read the part of Jeff and we worked with some camera blocking and fine-tuned the acting.

The male actor called me two hours later and explained that he had forgotten the rehearsal and had gone to work instead. I agreed to let him continue in the role if he showed up for our Friday rehearsal (one day before the shoot). This rehearsal was originally conceived to be the run-through with the poet and the actors since this scene has poetry being read behind the dialogue.

The male actor didn't show up for that rehearsal either, although he did give me 1 1/2 hour's notice this time via e-mail. He was not able to take that time off of work. As far as was concerned, that was a good enough excuse for the first missed rehearsal, but it was the last straw for the second. I called the understudy, Nick. His bio is now on the 5 Cup's official blog, also found on the left.

Nick read the part during the female character's audition, and we liked his performance then. However, he wasn't as available as our original choice, and didn't want to commit to a part he might have to back out of. He very graciously agreed to help us out of this situation by coming in at the last minute to step in to the part of Jeff. He wasn't able to come to the Friday rehearsal, either, so I read Jeff's part as we coordinated with Ty, the poet (who is awesome, but more on that later).

Of course, this is ironic because the character Jeff is always late and missing important meetings with Pam and Ashley. I said it once during the first rehearsal, we all chuckled, and then we moved on.

Not to generalize, but...