Tomorrow, come Hell or high water, I will shoot my short film “Stull.” High water, both literal and figurative, has already come. My plan of posting daily updates fell by the wayside pretty quickly, since it started raining when I arrived and didn’t stop. Most of the crew are contingent on this being a one-day shoot. The forecast tomorrow calls for no rain, may the National Weather Service be merciful.
The figurative high water has been lapping at the production the whole way. Trusting in the mantra “It Will All Work Out” it has all worked out… for now. But there were some close calls and sleepless nights along the way.
The latest was when The Gilbert Group, the place from which we are renting a generator, required a special kind of insurance. I found this out yesterday and the generator could only be picked up by the DP today. So some frantic phone calls to everyone in the Hollywood Directory later, I’m shelling out $225 to pay $125 to rent a generator. The DP calls me from the Gilbert Group at 5pm. “The insurance isn’t here.” I call the insurance. “We just faxed it.” I call back the DP. “We just got it.” Phew.
The last couple days have been like that. Just when something seemed settled, it threatened to come undone. Like the generator, I thought our location had been squared away weeks ago. For a while it was touch and go. I went out and looked at every stone wall and building in northeast Kansas, it seems like. None were as perfect, so I was relieved when the original location came through.
Then there were mini-crises with finding a sound-man, a gaffer, an evil-looking Sheriff, a Sheriff’s uniform, breakaway bottles and the money to pay for it all.
Dollars, dollars, dollars. Every day I go over budget by a couple hundred more. The one thing I’ve learned is what I guess big Hollywood productions knew all along: No problem is so great that you can’t throw money at it and make it go away. As Metallica said, “Sad but true.”
Even so, I’ve assembled a great crew who are working for free or cheap and I intend to do right by them. I’m going to do my best to make this a movie everyone can be proud of, and I’ll be returning the favor by helping out their projects however I can. There is an exciting filmmaking community here in Northeast Kansas that I’m proud to be a part of, even if I spend most of my days in Los Angeles.
Tonight, I’ll have a nice quiet dinner with my family, away from the frantic phone calls and constant worry. And then I’ll rush back to my laptop, to make tomorrow’s shot list as detailed and organized as possible so it can all go flying out the window when the next challenge arises.