Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Face For All Occasions

Two grueling days on set so far.

Our first day of shooting started at 7am South of Seattle. I was up at 5:30 and picked up our Production Designer just after six. She lives downtown and is generally on my way to every shoot. Plus, we both have loads of costumes and set dressing to lug about, so we're one of the few vehicles allowed at the downtown shoot days where parking is at a premium. My car is stuffed to the brim with helium balloons, clown wigs and shoes, boxes and boxes of file folders for our office scene shoot tonight, ironing board, metal chair, extras dressing, and costumes from other shoot days, which are always handy to have around as extra bits of patching fabric or set dressing. Yesterday we shot a scene in the lead clown's trailer, and bits of his costume and backup costumes I borrowed were stuffed into the cubby holes to help create the atmosphere. In a brilliantly inspired move, our production designer offered the day before's helium balloons for the sad clown long shot. So our poor dejected clown walked down an alley dragging a fistful of deflated balloons which bounced sadly behind him. Beautiful shot - can't wait to see it in post production.

Our first day was our largest extras day. All characters had to be ready for the first shot, which meant a lot of work for me, and lots of calls up from the production staff wondering how long it would take to begin shooting. Extras are lovely, but always have a lot of questions.

Yesterday, only a handful of extras were back for some closeup shots, and costumes were already set from the day before, only requiring touch ups and "last looks" before filming recommenced. I spent ages running around with my camera from the day before checking continuity - as we filmed yesterday the shots on either side of the first day's filming, and had to make sure every lock of the clown wig was flying askew in the right direction. His tailcoat wrinkes if you look at it wrong, and he was wired into a mic pack, so I couldn't take his jacket to iron between takes. Very upset about this as they did a closeup of his tails, but the director made it a character bit, and called it good. Now if only the wrinkles matched continuity I'd be happy. Probably won't show after all, but I went on the record with the behind the scenes camera that I'd wanted to change it but wasn't allowed.

Listening to the character actors talk shop to an adoring crowd of extras was amusing for a while. Hours later I was glad I got to be downstairs on set instead. Sharing stories is one of my favorite parts of the arts. "Talking Shop" makes me crazy. Can't stand the posturing of sentences beginning with "When I worked on so-and so...." The crew had a conversation about that during set up at our exterior shot. Unanimous decision that networking happens naturally through just working, so no need to go out of your way and be simultaniously obseqious and obnoxious.

Wrap last night at 3am. Call today at 2pm. Frantic shuffle to get our SAG actor out of costume before he went into a violation. Call time today latened as a result. Hurrah. Got home around 4 and up at 9:30. Very bright light in my apartment.

Today a minimal cast. Currently washing the costume, and will iron it on location. Most of my clown costume becomes set dressing today. Don't know if I will get to set that up, or our Production Designer.

I'm always happy working on a film set, and even more so with a crew that I've worked with previously. It's a nice chummy business, with loads of time to sit and chat with people. Our makeup designer is doing her first film -and has a fabulous air brush she just bought. I'm patently jealous, as I want a steamer in the worst way as my new job expense.

Off to eat breakfast and take costume out of dryer.