Thursday, July 8, 2010

The In-Between

“Monsters in the Woods” is the 1st split schedule production I’ve tackled. We shot the opening sequence of the movie last week in Malibu, partially to test some fx work, to get a feel for the location and to get what could have been a difficult sequence out of the way. The main shoot is split between the last weeks of August and September to accommodate our name actors and the Big Bear location. The final leg of the shoot is still unscheduled but will take place on a sound stage somewhere in the city. This schedule leaves huge 2 to 3 week gaps in production. I’ve never had breaks this long in shooting. It’s more than a little odd, but it does have its advantages.

The breaks in-between do allow for adjustments to both the script and the shoot based on how the previous chuck of filming goes. For example, the opening sequence is now in the can and mostly edited. Before we even shoot the adjoining sequence I know exactly how the 1st part turned out. This particular scene is the “movie within a movie” that was always conceived as being bad, but after editing it, I there’s a level of camp to the tone, that’s even stronger than I had anticipated. I’m now able to monopolize on that tone in the next scene. I’ve now written one of the best gags of the flick involving one of the crew’s reactions to the scene. It takes what was working and brings it up a level.

Usually once a production ramps up, I have no time to breathe. It’s a 24/7 complete emersion. It can be a really intoxicating, exhilarating, exhausting experience. But like a drug, there is a crash after and on a stop and go project like this one, I have to ride this rollercoaster over and over. During most shoots, I’m in the zone, completely focused on the work. Nothing else exists. I usually take the time off my day job, and for a few weeks, I’m living my dream. I’m making movies, nothing else. Then as production ends and I go back to my day job there is a crash, usually followed by feelings of melancholy. So on Monsters, I have to live out this cycle not once, but four times. It can really take a toll personally as I go through the anxiety of prep and shooting and then the down of it all being over again and again.

Aw, listen to the guy who gets the opportunity to make movies whine about it.


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