It is Sunday May 1st, 2011 and Razor Days is officially wrapped on principle photography. Right now I'm exhausted, exhilarated and eager. The shoot was such a great experience but this was the first time that a Happy Cloud Pictures production was shot all at once. For those of you who have been on previous HCP shoots you know that we usually shoot a feature over at least a few months. With the exception being Demon Divas and the Lanes of Damnation which was shot over a couple of weekends. But never before have we been able to get out cast and crew for more than a couple of days at a time. How different it is.
It is now Monday May 2nd- I was a bit distracted by the news of Bin Lauden's death. Whew, what a night. Whatever your feelings about the situation you have to admit it was big news.
Back to the blog…
Tuesday April 19th
Mike Watt and I met up with Michael Varrati and Alan Rowe Kelly and brought them back to Razor Days HQ (aka our house). Michael V. (keep up, there are a LOT of Mikes on this shoot!) is a member of the cast, as Nicholas, and also publicist, set shrink, etc. Alan was going to serve as line producer and ended up doing that job as well as costuming, cooking, makeup, hair, den mother and a few other jobs as well. Both guys were invaluable to the set and I cannot thank them enough.
Wednesday April 20th Mike W went to work and Michael V., Alan and I spent the day going over costumes and props we would need, organizing what we had and trying to plan the next couple of weeks. We ran into town and started picking up food and supplies then headed back to HQ to arrange everything. When Mike W. got home we finalized costumes and planned the next day. Only two days in and we were getting a lot done.
Thursday April 21st Mike W. again had to work, but only part of the day. Mike V., Alan and I went out to finish buying food, bought costume pieces and other supplies we needed. Since most of the cast and crew were coming in that day Alan was preparing a nice meal and we wanted to have everything ready for the next day's shoot. After we returned home with a car FULL of purchases and put them away we waited for everyone to arrive. First to show up was cast member Bette Cassatt, who played Rena, and her husband Chris. Chris works for ThinkGeek.com and the two of them, with Shane Peterman the PR manager, arraigned for lots of goodies not only to be used in the movie but also for us to play with on and off set. We met Bette through filmmaker and friend Eric Thornette (Shockheaded) who had been telling us about this wonderful actress for a few years. When we were searching for a Rena, Eric kept telling us to watch the rough cut of his newest movie where Bette starred and also made costumes (and a billion other things!). When we finally watched Eric's movie we immediately thought Bette would make a perfect Rena and got in touch with her right away.
A little while later we got the call that Bart Mastronardi, our cinematographer, David Marancik, playing Leonard and lending a hand, and Debbie Rochon, playing Jessame were close. We jumped into our cars to meet them at So' Journey Farms, the local Bed & Breakfast where they'd be staying for the next 10 days. After introductions to each other and the B&B hosts, Sandra and David, they found their rooms, dropped off their belongings and followed us back to HQ.
We had a wonderful dinner, thanks to Alan, caught up and discussed the production. Mike W and Bart assembled the jib and Bart looked at the new Kino Flow he ordered and had delivered to our place while Bette, Debbie and I tried on costumes and Alan organized them based on day. After chatting and planning for a while The B&B-ers headed to get some needed sleep and Mike W., Alan and I checked last minute details and headed to bed.
Friday April 22nd- FIRST DAY OF PRODUCTION- Alan, Mike W. and I headed to the B&B for a wonderful breakfast provided by Sandra. Most productions are lucky to get anything other than pizza and fast food. This one we had home cooked, fresh from the farm breakfasts nearly every morning. Along with hot coffee and blended OJ we filled up for the day ahead. The nine of us headed to HQ to meet up with effects artist, Scott Conner, and assistant and jewelry-maker extraordinaire Carolyn Hausehaulter. Then the 11 of us took a long trek (about ¼ mile) to our first location, our neighbor Scott and Jennifer Adamson's barn loft which would become Jessame's apartment. Bart and Mike started setting up the first shot while Debbie and I rehearsed. The rest of the cast and crew were being entertained by Jen and her son, Ian. Jen was a wonderful host not only letting us invade her house due to the chilly rain (this chilly rain became its own character by the end of the shoot) but Jen also made a delicious lunch and kept the cast and crew in hot coffee.
Shooting that day was long. Mike and Bart quickly got the hang of working together while Debbie, Bette and I learned to work together and Mike. Mike and I worked with Debbie many times but this was the first time we were able to have her on set for more than a couple of days. It was great to be able to work off of her and really get into my role. Felt so good to trust the rest of the production to everyone else and act. Debbie and I did a couple of scenes and then Bette joined us. Since we had never worked with Bette before we didn't know what to expect. She was diligent about her character and determined to give her best performance. As an actor it was great to be able to work with two actors who were not only great when they were on camera but gave so much when they were off camera as well. My favorite part of the day was a scene that was supposed to be for visual only under voice-overs but Debbie, Bette and I improved a fun little scene that we ended up putting a few lines in.
The day passed and when we wrapped for the evening we went to dinner to relax and eat. Everyone seemed happy with the days shooting and we were all tired so off to bed to get ready for the next day.
Saturday April 22nd – SECOND DAY- After another great breakfast we were joined by Jim Steinhoff at HQ. He brought bagels and lots of help. We spent the morning shooting a scene with Debbie and Jim- which I didn't see since Bette and I were rehearsing our next scene with Michael V.- but I according to all it was great. Then we shot Bette and my scene and another scene with Bette, Debbie and me. As we headed back to the house for lunch/dinner the clouds rolled in. I was nervous since after dinner we were shooing a big outdoor scene with the three of us that included a fight between Debbie and me. Bette worked with us on the choreography and when we had it down we headed to the location (across the street- I love living here!) as it started to drizzle. We waited in the car until a break in the rain and then we rehearse our scene. After a couple of run-throughs the camera rolled (with Bart under a tarp held by David, Scott, Jim, Mike V., Mike W and maybe others) and down came the rain. I don't remember which of us decided that we'd keep going but before we knew it Debbie, Bette and I were doing our big scene in a downpour. The beautifully choreographed fight was scrapped (sorry Bette!) since the footing was awful. Mud and gravel aren't the best if you don't plan on shooting in it. We figured out a variation and continued with the scene. After a while Mike W told us to scrap the script and improvise. That led to much struggling, screaming, tussling and a beautifully haunting shot when Bart followed Bette while Debbie and I fought in the background. Working with those women was so fantastic! The give and take between us for that scene and others felt so good. With Mike W. giving us what he wanted and trusting us to go there and us trusting Bart to get what was needed I was really enjoying the scene. It also felt good to get in out of the rain clean up and have some hot tea.
Another long day but so worth it. Headed to bed to get some rest and prepare for the next day.
Sunday April 23rd –THIRD DAY (Easter) - Another early start and another long day. This was a heavy day for Debbie scene-wise. We did a few smaller scenes and finished with a scene I can't wait to see with her alone in her apartment. While Mike W., Bart and Debbie were shooting the rest of us organized the costumes and started what laundry was needed. By this time I hadn't seen my cell phone for a few days so I did a little hunting to no avail and prepared for the next day.
Monday April 24th – FOURTH DAY – CAVE DAY! – This was the day I was both looking forward to and dreading. Since it is getting late and this is long anyway, I'll end here and tell you all about it tomorrow…