Day 19: The Last of the Night Shoots

“Half-assed is the new great.”
–Overheard on the set of Bunker Hill

Our last night in Nortonville; and our last chance to finish the climactic gunfight. Depite two failures of the towable generator, we got nearly all of the gunfight in the can, plus another final crowd scene. An actor who had been a vocal critic of the crew, perhaps by way of apology, complimented us on our hustle.

Hustle, at some point, doesn’t enter into it. I’m learning a lot of lessons on this movie, most of them about crew morale. With few exceptions, the people working on this movie want to be working on this movie. They’ve put up with long hours, mosqitoes and Kansas weather.

And they’ll continue to put up with it, with the gallows humor evinced by the above quote. Don’t misunderstand. Everything that has been filmed so far has been great. But it hurts not just budget but crew morale to fail in shooting what’s been scheduled.

Day 18: A Laborious Labor Day

Day Seventeen saw the introduction of a new member to the camera team, Mike K.. Nobody warned us he was coming; but word was the producers felt camera crew had been slowing down the production. While I don’t believe that has been true since the first week (before Tony Grossi came on), I welcomed the help.

At first it didn’t seem to help, since Mike insisted on doing camera reports a new (more standard) way and there was a great deal of confusion about everyone’s new roles. Mike has more experience than the rest of the camera crew added together, but was hired for the traditional low-rung position of loader. But by Day Eighteen, we were again functioning as a well-oiled unit.

Unfortunately for the production as a whole, one of the actors was upset because he had to wait most of the night to shoot a few shots. Part of the reason for this is that the transpo van can only make so many two hour round trips from Lawrence to Nortonville and back; the other reason is that no one knows what exactly is going to be shooting on a given night, or even in the next few minutes. Working with only last-minute storyboards or shot lists, some scenes have been, in my opinion, getting over-covered while other scenes have been under-covered. There are now plans to fly back most of the actors in the spring to pick up missed scenes.