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.