There’s always something reinvigorating when the production of a creative project is in full swing. The pre-production phase gets lots of ideas flowing, but when it’s in “real time” and the ideas are able to flow out into the work, then the project as a whole gains another spark of motivation.
“Ale Obsession” started in idea form back in November of 2012, then script form, then casting / auditioning, then assembling the crew, and now we’re filming. Scheduling into filming / scheduling into filming / and more scheduling into filming! Footage has been gathering, gigabytes have been occupied, and specific scenes are slowly coming into “wrap ups!” In not giving in too much of a reveal to the story, the following are a few production notes:
DAY 1 – MATTY & ARA
Internal thought from the beginning – “let’s just film and see what happens.” The Director, Jonald Reyes, worked with the film crew (Sean Mogridge & Brett Hartle) to get a better perspective of blocking for shot selection, lighting, and keeping in elements for what’s needed within the scene. As this is your typical low budget indie film, we utilized one of the actors’ apartments (much like other scenes) and knowing that, had to prepare for smaller spacing and internal lighting issues. Also, something emphasized from the beginning of the process was how important sound would be, so the handy film crew was able to provide the right equipment in recording. With that, it was actually very helpful that we were in close proximities then.
The actors for this evening were actually the co-writers of the short (Julie Chereson & Bryna Berezowska), which made character motivation already preconceived by each of them. Although character background was set, the content of the scene needed the set-up & weight Directed by Jonald. Each person’s role added important factors to the production as a whole and Day 1 was a great indication of how the rest of the process would be like.
Thanks to Alex & Bella for the veggie chilli & use of the space.
DAY 2 – HALLWAY & PARTY
We must thank Chris, Allison, Jason, & Liz for their time in playing party extras. We all know how difficult it can be to drink and eat for 3 to 4 hours (yes, that was sarcasm). But really, the production crew would like to thank them for their patience and helping us create the right scene by standing/moving in places during the shoot.
We also want to give additional thanks to Chris & Allison in helping with the location as it definitely helped set-up the scene in the right context. Party scenes can truly test a film crew when you have to play to the amount of people by ear. In addition to the noted film crew, what made this process have an easier flow was the added personnel of Mr. Jon Colomb as sound tech/boom operator. His added services made the filming unit, as a whole, stronger & more professional.
2 scenes were filmed back to back. There was one short scene to be captured within the hallway, but in not overestimating or taking a “short/simple scene” for granted, the crew made sure to capture enough takes of Bryna (Ara) exiting the party. We wanted to film this first and have it recorded now before possibly forgetting to capture later.
The party scene was a different obstacle as the spacing was actually larger. More spacing & people give thoughts to sound & lighting. Angles were easier to pull off, but in keeping fashion to the look of the production, we wanted to make sure the right “feelings” were being captured. Its quite interesting when a lens is the tool that captures the vibe of an actor and churnes it into feelings we want to make come out of the audience. Aesthetics has played as much of an additional role to the creativity of shot selection.
Natural work from Alexis Meuche & Alex Berezowska as “beer nerds.” Sometimes the ease of acting comes from playing yourself but the difficulty can be just as the same (with what is self?). A guage had to be set by Jonald for how much emotion needed to be conveyed by Bryna, Alex, & Alexis. With a darker/serious tone to this short film, sometimes its really just a matter of subtlety.
DAY 3 – MATTY & GREG / CHET
Thanks to Joe & Julie on the use of their apartment as location. The banana bread in the end made the film’s crew work that more gratifying to accomplish.
We came across an outside element that was not expected, which was the beast known as their heater. In keeping clean with sound, we needed to close their windows which made the apartment grow toasty. However, during the progression of the shoot, the heater began to “talk” to us with its clanks and hisses which made us take multiple breaks to let the noise pass.
After awhile, Jon muffled the sound a bit with coats over the heater. We were able to get what we needed within the time frame that we set.
A lot of the scenes that we’ve filmed to this time have had elements of seriousness, but more dramatic awkward or internal frustration beats. The Matty & Greg scene was, in all honesty, just a straight up fight waiting to happen. Joe Gennaro and Julie were great at letting the weight and intensity of the scene gradually rise at a fast pace while keeping it organic. Jonald played with the exercise of silence as tension. And in a method approach of thinking, the physical temperature rise may have subliminally helped.
2 filming notes – 1. cats keep following us and 2. Brett has no shame.
Afterwards, filming the Chet scene was basic yet just as the previous note re: Joe & Julie, Jose Molina was just as good at letting his intensity & anger grow quick yet natural.
We need to thank the kindness of the wait staff and management at “the restaurant” we filmed at. Their ease at letting us do our quick interview-style scene helped us out immensely. Just a simple backdrop with no noticeable images of what city or establishment we were in. Totally neutral. (Something to keep in mind for you young indie filmmakers when playing with copyrights or location selections.) In a way, the setting also assisted in having Jose deliver his anger in a stern, grounded way vs. a loud rage (due to real costumers there eating), which keeps it in the constricting vibe of the film as a whole.
Jon was great at ensuring our sound was obtained while staying clear of the background music playing at the restaurant speakers.
There’s more to come as filming continues.
Thanks to everyone involved in this project. And stay tuned to the Mental Notion website/Facebook page for details along the way.