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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

••◊ Neshima Desert Shoot

I keep wanting to come up with another word for this 4 day shoot other than "epic," mostly because we shot on the Red Epic and it seems like there's going to be a bad pun slipping through somewhere throughout this post.  I'll attempt to tread lightly, but no guarantees.  I haven't been watching Carrot Top videos... swear.

The RV shown in my previous post showed up at my house around 9pm on Thursday night and we headed east as shown on the GPS map below.  Although you really have to turn the picture 90 degrees clockwise to make the direction correct.  Obviously Tecate is south, not east.  The phone service cut out just after Julian, making us miss the S2 turn off, creating an additional 30 minute delay in travel time.  What really didn't help is that the S2 sign occurs *after* the actual S2-south turn!  It's easy to get lost in the desert, but now we know why. 

Charlie Glackin, an actor, set builder, and all around good guy was our driver that evening.  When morning came and the actors suddenly realized there wasn't a Starbucks even within desperation distance someone blood-hounded coffee beans in a cabinet of the RV.  Among the mainly cosmopolitan group I'm sure there were thoughts of chugging the beans whole just to get a caffeine fix, however Charlie, ever the frontiersman, found a hammer and went to town smashing the coffee beans.  Where had that hammer been previously?... Dunno.  I don't drink coffee, so I didn't really care.  From the look of the Glad size bags in everyone elses' eyes at that point I don't think they cared either.  It was liquid gold as far as they were concerned.  Shortly thereafter Charlie and I stepped outside the RV for a desert portrait of "Charles the Caffeine Saviour."  

One of our RV mates was Edgar, the production assistant ninja.  When we arrived in San Ysabel at 10:30pm seeking gas I had Edgar stand in front of the local convenience store to get a feel for "downtown" San Ysabel.  The town really consists of Dudley's bakery (which I became fond of as a cyclist in the middle of nowhere), a gas station, and a restaurant.  That's about it.  We had two failed attempts to get gas with a debit card until finally someone stepped forward with a credit card that worked.  Good thing, because there was no attendant on duty that late and we weren't even going to make it to Borrego without gas.

The "Edgar" series of photos below consists of the very start of the shoot, during the shoot, and the last day of the shoot.  I think the progression speaks for itself.  Now I wish I would have got 9 more photos of him and so I could have made a "Days of Edgar" wall calendar.  Oh well, next year maybe.

Blair Paulsen of 4K Ninjas/Alacrity Media is the DP on "Neshima."  I was his camera assistant all weekend.  All I can say is thank goodness pro gear is made as tough as it is.  We were shooting on an Angenieux 16-42 zoom all weekend and, of course, the zoom barrel managed to get a small spec of sand in it causing a cringe-worthy scraping sound upon rotation.  That's just a trip to the lens shop in LA to get it cleaned.  Bad, but not a disaster.  Another notable degradation of gear performance was when the camera was moved but it was still tethered to the directors monitor.  The end connector on the cable snapped off, but that's even easier to fix with a simple cable crimp tool from Fry's. 

What was really awful is when the whole camera took a spill (I wasn't carrying it, just so we're clear).  The camera went face first into the sand, meaning that the matte box took the brunt of the fall.  The matte box mount was bent up, but not beyond usability.  At least the Red camera bodies are pretty tough.  The rest of the camera made it through without noticeable damage and the shoot continued.  From the photos below you can imagine how many other times the camera was put in peril throughout the weekend.  We were extra careful to make sure the camera was locked down everywhere it could be after that incident.

Since Tommy Friedman, the film's director, was acting part of the weekend, Jaden stepped up as director for a large part of the desert shoot.  I managed to snap a few candid photos of him.   It just seemed like a good way to capture memories of this shoot.  A set of production photos isn't complete without photos of the director.

I personally like the photo of him on the rock outcrop in costume.  They weren't filming at the time.  He just climbed up there for whatever reason.  The second to last day of the shoot I saw him drinking a Pepsi and had the odd thought, let's do a Pepsi advertisement using an ancient warrior.  Maybe this could be like the follow on to the Geico caveman ads for car insurance!

Speaking of directors, here's a few photos of Tommy Friedman in costume.  Tommy was just standing there on a little rock outcrop and I knew I had to take a photo of it with the flare.  It was just so perfect.

The worst part of the weekend was the last day of filming where Tommy accidentally fell on a prop ax.  That 3/4" wound in his bicep and the associated look on his face is real.  No special effects added.  The medical team managed to super glue the wound at least partially shut.  Filming continued, but with a little more caution on weapon placement.  Blair got a clear take during the fall, so I'm wondering if it's going to end up in the film... ?

Finally, there was Shoshanna, our lead actress for the weekend.  In one of her scenes she had to quite obviously be tied up.  Shoshanna, ever the method actor, felt that removing the ropes for lunch might create a continuity issue, so she remained bound and had to be fed by Danielle.  Now that's dedication to a role.  As soon as snacks started to show up I would have jettisoned the rope for a granola bar! 

More pictures can been seen on the Neshima Facebook photo page.

1 comment:

miles modine said...

chuck always has been resourceful

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