After a year of pre-production we finally went into production full force on August 5th. And on August 31st we wrapped up that portion of the shoot. We now have about ninety percent of the movie in the can, with the final three (possibly four) shoot days to be scheduled for (hopefully) early October. All of our interiors have been shot (minus a basement scene we'll pick-up in a half day soon), leaving us with just exteriors (probably two nights) and a brief driving scene.
Creepy sound guy Gabe Culkin takes on some light duty.
It was a great month and it confirmed the work we went into planning the shoot really paid off. Because of some unforeseen scheduling issues we ended up working with five (yes, five!) directors of photography. This is not an ideal way to shoot a film but, because we had scheduled our shoot so well, we were able to integrate in all of those different personalities and work-styles and keep on schedule. And every one of those five guys was great to work with and the three that really came in last minute really worked their asses off to match the look we'd established in the early going with Christian Hansen, a look that was first implemented by Jacob Rosen (Jacob has shot most of the movie and his stuff is amazing). Those two gentleman got us off to a great start and allowed us to establish an efficient set workflow. Because of that Griff Johnston was able to step in for a night and get the job done. Rylan Morris Scherer came in for a few days and gave us some gorgeous moonlight footage. And Phillip Harvey stepped in at the very last minute to shoot the last couple of days at our principal location and he knocked it out of the park. Again, this is not the ideal way to shoot a movie, but we rolled with it and made it work. It's a credit to those five guys that the footage we have looks so great (and consistent!).
Interns, grips, gaffers, and ACs: Evan Elwell, Todd Michael Johnson, and Myles Basterrechea.
The amazing efficiency we maintained would have been impossible without our amazing interns from Seattle Central Community College. Evan Elwell, Todd Michael Johnson, Myles Basterrechea, and Gabe Culkin worked their butts off non-stop to make sure lights were positioned, candles were lit, scenes got slated, and duvetyne (the stuff we hang outside of windows to make it look like it's night outside when it's actually noon and 80 degrees)got hung. You guys are awesome.
We also had one intern from the Art Institute of Seattle, Sam Shideler.
Sam Shideler in a rare moment where he actually got to sit down.
Sam does everything and without him it's likely we would have drowned in duvetyne. Besides working with us (hanging duvetyne, doing construction, repairing beds, stepping in as assistant director) he's also in school and he writes and directs his own web series, The Dirty Do-Gooders. He also plays ukelele and sings like an angel. Frak!
Our assistant directors, Jared Hagen and Nate Souza, made sure everyone kept on schedule and even found time to hang clothes pins (C-47s) from the most unlikely of places. Jared traveled up from Arizona to work with us for a few weeks and Nate came up from Portland. They made the shoot efficient AND fun. Jared also started creating Reunion sequels (there are 24 of them now planned) in his A.D. notebook (Nate also helped with the sequels). Nate also wrote a little backstory for the mop featured in the movie. And taught us all new things to do with scalpels. Love you guys.
Nate Souza enjoying a snack.
Jared Hagen tells me what he thinks of the last take.
And what can I say about our cast? They were amazing. Fun, talented, hard-working, and up for anything. They were bruised, scraped, and more. And they never complained. You'll be seeing tons of pictures of them so I'm not including pictures of all of them here (or this blog will be way too long!). But, huge thanks to Brian Sutherland, Alison Monda, Jesse Keeter, Bjorn Whitney, Megan Lacki, David Nail, Tessa Marie Archer, and Jordin Buttenob.
D.P. Jacob Rosen frames a shot, Brian Sutherland tries to remember his lines, and Alison Monda swallows a bug.
One of the biggest challenges for a no-budget movie is feeding cast and crew. A huge thank you to my wonderful wife, Jennifer Coons Bell, for buying and preparing meals for our rowdy bunch. Jennifer arrived an hour before everyone else to make sure coffee was brewed and food was set out when everyone else arrived. And while we were off shooting she was busy preparing lunch and afternoon snacks. She's amazing. I love you!
Breakfast is served...wait, are those Pop Tarts?! Yay!
And finally, a special thank you to our producer, Matt Ralston. A movie requires a producer. They put all of the pieces into place to make sure the movie happens. Matt went above and beyond the call of duty, putting his blood, sweat, and yes, I'm sure a few tears, into making Reunion a success. We first discussed making this movie a couple of years ago and there's no one else I would have wanted to take this long journey with. Matt, you are amazing.
Matt Ralston hanging out.
It's been an amazing ride so far. I cannot overstate how grateful I am to have had the chance to work with all of these amazing people. It's absolutely the best cast and crew I could have asked for. Thank you everyone!
And now, a couple of uncorrected, straight from the camera (compressed h.264) stills from our last day at our principal location.
Jesse Keeter in Reunion. (shot by Phillip Harvey)
Brian Sutherland in Reunion. (shot by Phillip Harvey)
Be seeing you...