Friday, April 2, 2010

OBSCURE: Day 1 of Filming

There's 3 of us. Entire cast and crew.

So we were planned to meet around 9:45-10 AM at someone's house to eat breakfast, then get filming. However, we did not get to a house and cooking til about 10:30 say 11. Which was okay, because at this rate unfortunately we weren't going to have time for lunch.

Because of me, we were a bit slow on actually leaving the house. One, I did not have the script ready, nor all the props in one place. We still had to try on costumes, and do makeup, all of which I was kind of in charge of. The concept sketches matched everyone perfectly though, which made me happy since I just drew them the night before at verrry late hours of delirium.

Gah so burnt out. All this spring break I have been in front of the camera every single day either for makeup channel videos and now this. All of which I've been neglecting sleep, food, relaxation and a night's sleep. I can feel the cold coming, and I get chills sometimes. I know it's not good, and I wish more than anything to just relax this break, but I understand that in school, I never have the time or location to film these types of things, so it's a sacrifice I willingly make, however unhealthy it is sometimes.

So anyway!

We spent time at the house getting props together, informing each other on the script, eating grilled cheese, trying on dresses, foofing up everyone's hair, packing on the freaky makeup and going to the shed to select an innocent gardening tool that would become an eerie killer's killing device of choice. The actor that was meant to use it first chose this thing that is for loosening soil and it looks like a hammer/prick, but the other two of us looked at each other and said, "Nahhh." We considered a gardening pitch fork, a saw (but it had a cute orange handle so no), a hammer and garden clippers.
At first I didn't think it looked that scary, but the other two did, and they convinced me. Apparently I do not know what types of tools can kill a person o__o

We also had to choose a knife from the kitchen for the other killer. I hate knives. Hate washing them, hate holding them, hate being around them. Needless to say I am the actor that did it, and I wrote the script. HEH. What people do for film these days. Once again, the other two agreed on a knife that they said looked much more scary than the one I chose xD I went with their choice.

Makeup and hair took awhile and I must say, I was a very frazzled one. I understand now how much easier it is to have set people for costume, for makeup etc. Instead I was script writing, costume designing, applying makeup, dressing myself up (I did some brief acting) and getting the equipment.

For the forest ... it was a bit weird riding the car looking the way we did, buuut oh well. We got there and some people gave us strange looks cause

1. we looked like zombies
2. we looked like we were about to kill/had killed someone
3. we looked like we were going to perform satanic rituals in the forest
4. we looked like we were vandalizing
5. we had weapons
6. we had masks
7. it just looked shady and scary
8. well ... we're teenagers.

SO trekking through the field and being unsure of how private the property was, the beginning was nerve racking and a bit freaky. But the setting was perfect. The place was so untouched that the ground barely had pathways and were layered with stacks of naturally fallen nature and SUPER tall grass. I got terrible rashes on my feet later (I was in slip on sandals) and later and we got mosquito bites ... next time, we wear boots and bug spray and heavier jackets! It was by the lake so it was breezy. I know for a fact all of our immune systems got weaker today. I told you, what people do for film nowadays!

So it was so untouched that the tall trees were creaking like wooden doors, some of them about to fall over. How natural ... and freaky. At first I kept thinking there was a cabin nearby and someone was there. SO PARANOID. Everyone was paranoid at one point. But within an hour or so, we started getting really into what we were doing, and more comfortable with the forest.

Being unrealistic and a stressed fluffball, I wanted to film EVERYTHING that day and get it over with so I dont have to bother them again, drag them out there, get them dressed, have to walk through that itchy field all over again, etc. but we started late and to admit I have been exhausted all week, so we got a lot done, but not everything. I said I could render the story to what footage we did have, but one of the actors assured me they were willing to come back another day when we were more refreshed and prepared. I didn't want to, because I wanted to be done, but I agreed. The sun was still up as late as past 6 PM, but we left around that time.

Annnd I discovered a mosquito bite on my left arm. Argh. THERE WERE SO MANY STRANGE BUGS OUT THERE. Such natural, untouched territory. Reminds me sometimes what land really looks like minus the neighborhoods and stores.

We filmed for at least 2-4 hours. All of us were behind the camera, holding the camera or in front of the camera at one point. 3 person crew! We were slowed a lot though from the cold and the fact that it was very hard to walk in that forest, since there were potholes, high grass, thorns and sharp wood all over the place.

To anyone else, I'm pretty sure we looked like really really really demented teenagers. I'm so glad no one saw o__o and I'm a little unnerved at the thought of going back there. Truly, it's a bit of a scary location. Natural and pretty, but still scary at how lonely and isolated it is.

Sometimes we scared each other when we were the ones holding the camera, filming a killer walking towards the camera, raising a weapon. But we all know each other so well, so better ourselves than anyone else!

One actor said our team balances us out. We have people that worry about safety, an optimistic person and someone in between, I suppose. Yay us!

The walk back to the car was evil. We had a lot of stuff to carry and the field was hard to trek through. The grass was so high!

We were so relieved to reach the car, and a portable sink was around so some of us washed our hands and feet. In the car, we turned up the heater, chilled but happy to be on our way back.

So we drove back to the house and everyone spent some time freshening up and changing back into normal clothes. Thankfully, we had food in the house when we got back so we were able to eat dinner together and watch the first half of The Mummy, on DVD.

I'm positive we're all exhausted but here I am blogging because I don't want to forget the experience and I still need to plan some other video scripts for tomorrow. (not for Obscure, but something else) And ... to be honest, I'm a bit curious on how the footage looks with some test special effects on iMovie. So if I have to sanity, before I sleep I'll do that.

I just wish I had been able to keep everyone warmer, less itchy, more comfortable, less hungry, more in-motion (i wasn't exactly prepared to do all this today) and less paranoid. I'm so thankful at how willing and understanding they are. They're seriously the best people to work with. They could've slept in or been relaxing in the comfort of a home but nope, they chose to come with me, dress freaky and drag themselves out to a freaky forest to film some weird video for a student film contest.

Love them.

Lessons Learned ... or made notice of
- Remember actors need sleep, warmth and food. It's so easy to get caught up in filming as to neglect safety and health

- Visit the setting beforehand

- Stay optimistic, but safe

- Look out for each other

- Ask for other's opinion and consider taking up their idea

- Know when it's time to call it a day

- Mistake footage can have snippets of the best shots during editing

- Unplanned scenes can also do this

- Motions can be manipulated with editing to look a different way
e.g) reverse, connotation

- Take time to do group hugs. So amazing

- Next time, I want to hand the actors a list with all their scenes, times, things they need to know, etc.

- Next time, I want to rehearse the scenes before we get there

- Next time, I want time to talk about the story to the actors

- Next time, I want to have all the props and shot lists ready before the morning of :P

Our group hug in the forest was very needed and I have never been in a more needed, comforting group hug in my life til today.

Gah so tired. I'm out. Thanks for reading!


Edits & Adds

- Since none of us are used to the camera, two of us asked people not to look when we were doing scenes where we walked towards the camera in a freaky manner. Only one of us did not mind. Haha, even the person holding the camera couldn't look sometimes! We're silly like that.

- Licking knives was involved. Me? Licking a knife? Never in a million years did I think.

- Sometimes we had to carry each other because some of us were in sandals and the ground wasn't too good to walk on.

- We're considering filming Day 2 in a similar but different location closer to our school. Cause we're on spring break so we're here, but when it's over we won't be.

-All of us had the do the same "scary walk" where all of us tripping in a hole in the ground, thus breaking our scary face posture. So silly.

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