Saturday, August 22, 2009

My First Time Shooting a Film!

Days ago, I spoke of my experience writing the first draft of my and my friends' production, The Departure. Last Thursday, we actually started filming the short zombie flick. Exhausting. Consuming. Difficult. Exhilarating. Puzzling. Absorbing. Exciting. Educational. Inspirational! These words and more fail to describe the experience had making this film.

I'll tell of my times in chronological order, starting from Tuesday, the day I went over to my friend Ben's house to start Pre-Productive work on The Departure.


Senior Orientation. Blah! I got up early, got dressed properly, and went to school for the first time in months for Orientation. It went by smoothly. I met up with old friends and my brilliant English teacher, still sarcasm and friendly as he was last time. After Orientation and year book photos, I rode with Ben to his house so we could work on the script. We didn't have an actress for our written role yet, so we picked up a friend of Ben's named Emily. She read the script, thought it was funny, but was weirded out by the actions of her character. She wasn't sure she wanted to do it anymore. Soon, though, we were assisted by our college-bound former classmate and somewhat trained thespian named Brendan. He read through the script, loved what he saw, but wanted more. In fact, he suggested using the hidden thematics to make the film more character-based (as opposed to the largely plot and irony driven stuff we had) and dramatic. Shakespearian, even. Cool by me. It's all about the film, not me.

To compensate for our loss of an actress (Emily left some time earlier), we went to visit Becky, a friend of Ben's that I believe he likes, to try to persuade to be in the role. She couldn't: too much work to do. Defeated, we stayed at the beanery, wondering who we could get to play the female and going over dialogue scene. Much talk of Quentin Tarantino, David Mamet, and why and how people talk. We got some good stuff before leaving to get some food. When Brendan left, Ben and I went over the draft together one more time before I had to go home. I promised to write something for the next day and that I'd spend the night to get the film done.


I got up at 7:30am and managed to get two scenes written. That was it. My stepfather picked today of all days to wash the carpet upstairs in my room and the computer room. This took about four hours. To compensate, I started making an outline with index cards.

At four o'clock, I was picked up by Ben's mother and taken to his house. His friend Ian was there to play the role of the first zombie. We discussed our plan: we would stay up all night working on the new script in longhand, making it more dramatic, Shakespearian, and, most importantly, better. After getting Chinese food and Monster energy drinks, we went back to eat. However, we didn't start writing right away. Ben had to leave to meet up with an old friend who was a girl, so he didn't want us to go with him (he meant well, though, so I don't blame him). Ian and I rode bikes, too small and uncustomed, into Downtown Royal Oak. We also stopped by our friend Rob's house for a brief visit.

Once we got home, we got set to start working. Or, at least, I was writing while they stayed up and looked at stuff online. Occasionally (too often), I'd stop and check out what they were doing instead of writing. (Note to self: write about "sacrificing do's and don't's") Upon finishing the outline index cards, I began to write the new script in longhand on a legal pad. This sort of writing practice took about ten hours, from ten at night to ten in the morning (with about two hours of sleeping in between).

I am very, very tired, and will continue writing later today.

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