After a week of shooting 45 minutes away in the town of Nortonville, we came back closer to home base the last few days. We shot more scenes in the cellar at 9th Street Studios and a bunker scene at Oldfather Studios. Yesterday, we drove a few miles outside of town to shoot at Free State Farm, or RP Bar Ranch, or The Victorian Verandah. It’s a beautiful spread just outside Lawrence with a bed and breakfast (The Victorian Veranda), acres of farmland and a huge barn that became the setting for several scenes with the McClain brothers.
The McClain brothers are the villains of the piece, and are played by actors Kevin Geer and Blake Robbins, two of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet off-screen, but deliciously evil when in character. The shoot has lately been bedeviled by rain, and yesterday was no exception. We ended up shooting the first scene, which involves a villain expiring from a gut wound in the barn just as Blake Robbins’ character Delmar rides in, both with rain and without. Thankfully the adage ‘If you don’t like the weather in Kansas, wait five minutes’ held true enough that we finally had all the angles sans rain.
1st AC Mark Yeazel has been sick, so the new 2nd AC Tony Grossi and I have had to step up. We’ve trained several PAs over the last few days how to clap a slate. Luckily, most people find that task to be fun and the other crew members have been supportive rather than mean when it gets botched. There is some actual art to clapping the slate, but it’s nothing that can’t be mastered in a day. Maybe I’ll write up everything I know about it one day as a brochure to hand to PAs as they step on set.
Since, with Mark gone, I’m the only one who knows how to load the BL magazines, I’ve been stuck with the thankless task of loading. I don’t actually mind. Yesterday I had a couple of load-ins that went so smoothly, I was suspicious I had forgotten something. The thousand-foot BL mags were not well-designed, in my opinion, to be loaded by human beings. But it’s true that it does get easier to cut along sprockets blind and drop a thousand foot roll down without crimping the threaded end.
Partly because the rain keeps messing with the schedule, we’ve been yo-yoing between night and day shoots. Today’s shoot is a night interior. I got to sleep in; that was nice. I’ll be staying up very late tonight; that won’t be nice. Ah, the joys of filmmaking.