Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day Two of Rehearsal on An Affair

Today was another day of messy creative work. I mean that in the best way - we continued to slog through the script, playing with the emotions and the blocking, figuring out what was working and what felt false. I love it. Every moment is bliss. Matt and Cora are so completely committed to their roles - they're as determined as I am to get it right. There is joy to me in working with other committed artists.

And there, too, is DP Taylor Rudd wandering around us, snapping gorgeous still frames that will serve as ideas for he and I to consider shots. What I love about this is that we're creating the film around the characters and the blocking - not the other way around. I have too often worked where I storyboard my intention for a scene and then try to fit the actors into that (or adjust on the fly based on what the actors do that was different than my original ideas).

But I've always known that the proper way to do what I do on a character-based film is to let the actors create the scene, and then find the shots that tell the story from what we decide is natural and effective.

We are just building up a good head of steam - we got through all of the set-bound material today - and now I have to have a minor medical procedure on Wednesday morning that will put me out of commission for the day. I had planned on four solid days of rehearsal, and I am losing maybe a half-day, maybe the entire day, which angers me. But there's nothing I can do about it. I had to schedule this before the film so that I can physically endure the shoot...

Monday, May 30, 2011

First Rehearsal

Today marked the first full rehearsal for An Affair. Actually, the day started with me showing the set to the two leads, and I was pleased that they were pleased by it. They seemed to really feel like the old motel feel we captured there.

We spent the first few hours just talking through some notes they had. I tend to be very collaborative once we reach this stage of production - the film can only be improved if the actors are fully engaged like this. Interestingly, they wanted to cut almost all of the final additions I made in the last rewrite (almost all of which were in response to several notes I received along the way).

After we talked through the changes, we began to work on getting a scene on its feet. By that I mean that the actors get up and start acting things out; we start working through the blocking, trying to make everything feel natural and motivated. Taylor Rudd, our Director of Photography, was on hand to observe. As we set the blocking, Taylor and I need to figure out what the shots will be. So it's an interesting dance of trying to make sure the acting is where it needs to be, that everything is coming across, while also trying to see if the blocking we've come up with presents any interesting shot possibilities.

Taylor had his Digital SLR and was snapping photos as we worked through the scenes. This was terrific - it allowed me to focus on the actors, and then he would just quietly walk up to me and show me a shot while they were performing. I can already tell he has a terrific eye. He was already finding interesting ways to see the scenes.

It was a full day, and then I took the actors to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. That may sound a little déclassé, but lead actor Matt Brumlow grew up on Chick-Fil-A and really misses it now that he lives in Chicago. So we've been planning to surprise him with the world's best chicken sandwich since I knew he was coming to town.

Tomorrow morning: production meeting at 8am, then on to the set again for continued rehearsal.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Finally, an update on An Affair

I have been completely overwhelmed by the various professional and personal responsibilities in my life, which has left me little energy for blogging. Nevertheless, I'm forcing myself to write tonight to mark the start of my new film, An Affair.

Rehearsals begin tomorrow with the two excellent lead actors, Matthew Brumlow and Cora Vander Broek. I have never had the opportunity to spend time in extended rehearsal with actors on my projects, so I am looking forward to unpacking the script tomorrow with them without the pressure of the cameras and crew.

You might recall that this film is the one for which I was raising funds back in the fall on Kickstarter. Though that campaign did not reach its goal, many people who made pledges did honor them, and we raised an additional $6,200 for the film (if you're still looking to give, I'm not turning down late donations!).

I spent much of today wandering a store with the actors, trying to find just the right look for each of them. It was harder than I thought it would be! Things that I thought would look great didn't fit Cora's frame as I imagined they would, so we went through many different iterations and ideas. Finally, we found an outfit that I thought completely worked for her character.

So - Monday morning. Coffee and discussion of the script with the actors while sitting in the set constructed for the film. I am trying to cherish the moment - this is what I've been waiting for.