TITLE OVER BLACK:
"The end of a picture is always the end of a life."
The beginning of prep, March 2011. I am so sick that I have no voice in our first production meeting.
My first AD Mary Reynolds brings tea with honey but it doesn't help much. A voice can't heal if it doesn't rest. There is no rest during prep. One of the crew suggests I sound like Tom Waits after a bender with Bukowski. Good one. By the end of week two, my nasty cold has jump-cut into a nasty flu. Through congested eyes, I see an amazing crew and cast is coming together. I communicate with DOP Christopher Ball using a book of images I've been compiling for the past months. And charades. Acting out the shots in tiny rooms of the Roy Building.
Lucky that this is a physical film.
The consensus is that we can't make this movie with the money we have.
True to the subject matter, it's going to be a fight all the way. Against time, money, weather, available locations, available crew, scheduling, rehearsals, the unions, flu season. Pretty much everything.
When there's a great team like this? Never tell us the odds.
Hello from Halifax
Mid-Shoot. Glen has bruised and likely broken ribs from the fight scenes. He keeps going. The Red Camera keeps freezing mid-shot during waterfront exteriors. We keep going. Amanda is so cold she probably wishes she could crawl into a taun-taun and be airmailed back to LA. She keeps going. The material is so emotionally draining. My girlfriend says I wake up shouting 'CUT! Bullshit. Let's go back and do it again.' She's concerned I'm talking about our sex life. Gary Levert cries after the the Russian Roulette scene. Many in the crew cry during Amanda's withdrawal scene. We keep going. Everyone worries about the "Motorcycle through the Door" gag. Everyone, from Props to Transport to Stunts has a solution for it. Together, we all pull it off in two takes. And keep going. Amazingly, we are getting it done, on time and budget. Glen and Amanda are killing this. The supporting cast is delivering just as well. Everyone, from craft to the grips to the producers, are complicit in making that happen.
But scary Day 10 is coming up. We'll be shooting the ending in just one day, a combination of wide exterior shots and major dramatic interior scenes. A 10-page day.
AND a blizzard is forecast. Heading our way. And we have zero cover.
Day 4: The Coldest Night of the Year
I've never done a 'making of' blog before. I hope this will be entertaining and revealing somehow, and enhance your enjoyment of the film. So I wonder what should I tell about next?
The time we shot in the very real and recently-operational crackhouse at Primose/Pinecrest, and how the people and the kids in the hood responded?
The time several crew and I were almost arrested by the RCMP because a bloodstained Glen Gould decided to wander on a smoke break between takes?
How I hid one of craft's excellent fajitas in my car when I was too wired to eat it during subs, then forgot about it until the smell overwhelmed two months later? (Thanks Rose, and sorry).
There are so many stories. Filmmaking isn't glamorous. This was very hard work all the way. But what a great bunch to play with, and damned if I don't miss everyone just talking about it. I'll tell you about some of them in future posts.
Let me know what you'd like to hear about.
Or maybe I'll just surprise you. I do like my twists.
Best wishes, chat soon-