So there is no doubt about it, the last day seemed like it was the easiest shooting day. We only have 3 short scenes in two locations. We did have to drive but both locations were easy to park. In fact we didn't even need sound. And one of the locations we needed to have almost no crew so we could film quickly so we didn't use a PA. This is how it went, Day 1; complicated travel, locations and timing. Day 2; basically one location but a lot of filming to get through. Then we had 2 days off to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done and know that we only have a little bit left. The last day was just me, the director and cinematographer. But here is the part that made this day the easiest for everyone but me; Day 3 we filmed the majority of the stunts. Everything that I had been working for, taking classes, preparing, training and getting stronger for, was all on Day 3. So yes, I celebrated the success of the first 2 days but I was very aware of what was left to do. And ok, I admit it, NERVOUS! Well, here is the great part, I did it! In fact, we added things! I was so ready, that I was able to keep going and get every shot that we could possibly allot into the given time in the location. I couldn't possibly have been more excited! There you have it, 3 days of filming and they all went by smoothly and without a hitch. I am so proud to say that Stunt Mom has finished filming.
What lies ahead is editing and a music score to complete the actual film. On my end (as a Producer) I need to submit the title to IMDB, finish post production paper work with SAG, tend to the fundraising campaign and manage the budget, and put together my list of film festivals to submit the film. I will continue to keep you posted on that process and our progress. But the good news is...we are close!
We filmed Stunt Mom in 3 days! If I weren't also starring in it, I'm sure I could have blogged each night and let you all in on the fun details as they unfolded. But as the star of Stunt Mom, I had to take care of myself physically as well. So let me start with Day 1! We began with the busiest and fullest day! Three locations, two of them were outside. Specific times that we had to be in certain places and actors meeting us half way through the day. All my work as a Producer was showing up right there. I had never met the PA that I had hired. I had never met the Sound person that my Director had hired. We all had to convene on my friend's apartment. A friend that was doing me a big favor. I will start by saying that no one was sick, or had to bow out at the last minute. The weather was sunny with blue skies, wow, just like I had in the script. The only snafu was that the DP couldn't find a parking spot. But guess what, my husband was there and was able to take the car to park so that Steven, the DP, could unload his equipment and get to work. We shot 3 scenes in that location and man, my crew blew me away. Amelia, the PA that I hired on the phone, who I had never met, stepped into the first shot as BG and then ran the slate, took set photos and held lighting, most of which she did without being taught what to do. She was so set savvy that she made it look easy. She helped the day run so smoothly! We walked to our second location and poor Maryclare had the hardest job running sound on one of the noisiest corners in Brooklyn. And then we had to travel by car and subway to our third location, The Brooklyn Zoo! This place is AMAZING! My whole crew and other cast member turned into kids in the adult jungle gym of this parkour space. This last scene we shot was one of the most complicated and we only had two hours. Well, we made it there on time. We got use of the space, just as planned and we completed the scene from all angles in the allotted two hours! So what I'm getting at here is that everything went exactly the way that it was supposed to go! Yep, it was that great! Day 2 was less complicated in terms of travel and specific timing but we had to shoot twice as many scenes. So it could have been so easy to get off schedule. But we didn't get off schedule. Actually, the Director, Shannon Morrall was so good that she said we were behind schedule when we sat down to dinner at 5:10 (instead of 5:00) To me, that was pretty stellar! By the way, Shannon Morrall is a natural director, she has such an incredible eye, a confident and playful demeanor, an ability to get things out of actors and always stayed calm and in charge. I am so lucky to have got her at this point in her career because she will be very successful! More than half the scenes on Day 2 were outside shots and the weather was clear once again. Mind you, there were thunderstorms the day before and the day after shooting! This just makes me believe that this Short Film was meant to be. I know that I'm not giving you much detail about scenes or locations and that is because I want the Film to come as a fun surprise. I don't want to reveal too much so that you can enjoy it more the first time you see it! There is a Day 3 of filming to tell you about as well, but I'm going to save that for tomorrow's post, I'm tired and there is still lots of work to do. I'll tell you all about that as well. Thanks for tuning in, I'm so excited to share the finished product with everyone!
Do you remember that Disney commercial where the little boy says, "I'm too excited to sleep"? Yeah, it's kind of like that. So today, let's see, I did the grocery shopping for crew snacks and the on screen meal. Made a couple last minute changes there as well. Good news is that the last minute change made my day easier. Then I bought the last prop, a hula hoop! I really love hula hoops! Then I finished all the necessary signs. Then I got to prepping the food. I made these super yummy mashed potatoes with the skins still on. I love potatoes! Ok, just a little more. Now, I know I told you that I had all my wardrobe figured out, but really it was everything except the last scene. Well, that was a doozie! And when I finally figured out the last scene, it ended up using the shirt from the first scene so I had to make more adjustments. That's how it goes. I'm a bit undecided on my shirt for the first scene but we aren't filming that tomorrow. Wardrobe, props, snacks, makeup, waivers, shooting schedules and band aids are all packed up. Tomorrow we have three locations and my team, cast and crew included, is ready! As for me, "I'm too excited to sleep!"
Yesterday, as exhaustion set in I realized that I needed to take a break from everything. Most of the day I rested. Oh, except for one thing, I hired that last member of the crew. Yep, that happened on the day off. I posted for the position, sent emails, and made calls until I found the right person. So now the crew is set. Amelia Spitler is our Production Assistant and she is excited to be a part of this! Wow! That feels so cool when someone is excited to be a part of this film and this process. My whole team is like that! It's awesome! And even though I was completely exhausted last night it was easier to fall asleep knowing that position was filled.
Today has been non stop, confirming locations and travel, posting on social media, and securing the official SAG-AFTRA Signatory Status, woohoo! And even more! I'm creating those last props, making signs and finishing last touches. Oh, and I finally finished choosing all of Stunt Mom's wardrobe. Lots of sporty outfits and bright colors (pictured below). I even thought that I could sneak in a run while taking the kids out for a bike ride. Turns out that Tony can ride his bike a lot faster than I can run. But at least it was a great workout!
I meant to start this blog over a month ago! There is so much involved in this process and I think that it is so interesting! I wanted to share that with people, everything that is involved, from the writing, to the search of a director and crew, to planning on how to produce it, finding locations, casting actors, deciphering schedules, making a budget, paper work, oh and of course preparing myself to be playing the lead role. It is unbelievable how many moving parts there are that need to come together. And the funny thing is, that honestly I don't know what it is going to look like when it's done. It's all just in my head. How crazy is that? It's this idea, this concept, I can picture it, I can write it, I can explain it, but can we make it what I'm picturing? Or does it have to be what I'm picturing to be good, or great, or amazing? That is one reason why I definitely didn't want to Direct it myself. Quite a few people told me that I should but they hadn't read the script. And the interesting thing is that even though I wrote this film and I can picture it, I don't know how to bring you those pictures. When I hired Shannon to Direct, I was blown away by the ideas that she had. I had never thought of doing "that scene like that." You don't realize what a Director, that really knows what they are doing, can bring to a film. And then I even thought, ok so Shannon shows up with a camera and we film this. And she said well, I have a camera but if you want this to look good we will need, "this" kind of camera, "this" kind of lens, "this" type of equipment to get "that shot." OH! So then we hired a Cinematographer, also known as a Director of Photography, with his own equipment to figure out the best way to get the shots to look the way we want with the equipment that he has. The funny thing is, the very same script that I wrote could be "Produced" incredibly differently. I don't think I completely understood what a Producer even was until I became one. There are so many possibilities! I think it would be harder for a writer to hand over their work to someone else to Produce than to Direct. Although I will also say that, for me, Producing has been the hardest part, the most tedious part, and the only part that has caused me stress. Locations and scheduling were the hardest. My favorite part has been the training, although it sure would have been nice to have a Personal Trainer and Stunt Coordinator, but that pretty much would have doubled the budget. I've had a lot of fun figuring stuff out on my own, pushing myself past where I thought I could go and of course, asking for help along the way. After we film, I will continue to train, get stronger and learn new things because if Stunt Mom is successful, who knows what could come next!
This is so much fun! I'm having so much fun! Today I worked with an actor in the film on a fight scene. Why is it so fun to fake fight? I get such a rush from it! I have this big guy, Vance Barton, such an awesome actor and stuntman, throwing punches, taking punches and just playing with possibilities. It is so great! When I say that I genuinely enjoy the process of creating, that honestly goes for every aspect of it. From writing a melody, delivering a line, writing a story to choreographing a fight, that process of creating is truly amazing. My body is sore from head to toe but strangely feels younger and stronger at the same time. A general workout is not the same as a workout for a purpose, for an endgame. The physical aspect of this role has been challenging but also completely invigorating! After my rehearsal with Vance I went on to complete some more Producer tasks, purchasing the last of wardrobe, make-up and almost the last of props, but with my endorphins pumping it all felt fun!
So there is this amazing gym called the Brooklyn Zoo that I really love. I have been taking classes there and attending open gym sessions as part of my training for Stunt Mom. Tonight was amazing! I started with a tumbling class where I did things that logically I shouldn't be able to do. Then I stayed for an open gym session to practice everything necessary for the film shoot next week. Well, I think the part that is the coolest is the confidence that I have gained since this all began. The open gym session is primarily men. And tonight it started with all men...and me. And the vast majority of the people there are younger than I am. So it is completely safe to say that I was the only MOM in the room. I'm watching men flipping, twisting, jumping to heights that seem impossible. The gym is filled with these young athletic men...and me. But I have been working and I am getting stronger and I am STUNT MOM. So I took my space, I got in the line, I asked for the floor and I did my thing. And I did it well. I am a mom! I have exhibited strength in the face of pain that those men will never know so I will not be intimidated by the fact that I can't do what they can do. I can do what I can do! And everyday, I can do more because I keep working with confidence in myself!
There is so much involved in making a film. And it is such a wonderful feeling at the end of a day when you have accomplished something big and can say, "I hired someone!" or "I built the website" or in my case, "I did that really cool stunt that I was nervous about!" Those days that you can point to the big thing that you accomplished are really great! But everyday can't be one of those days. There are so many little things that need to happen. The little annoying and seemingly inconsequential things that hold the whole film together. Yep, today was one of those days! I spent the entire day being pulled in 20 different directions and never really got to the end of any particular thing. I ordered some props, but not all of them. I designated some wardrobe, but not every scene. I did some sit-ups, but not a full workout. I tried to hire a PA, but the guy wasn't available. I made a few annoying calls that didn't amount to much. And I created a really beautiful Thank You page on this website for all of the amazing people who have already contributed to the film, ok, that one is kind of awesome! Wow! So now that I look at it, I actually accomplished a lot today. I sure am glad that I decided to write it all down because now I feel great! Oh, and by the way, we start filming next week!
This is my team! The amazing Director, Shannon Morrall and the amazing Cinematographer, Steven Napolitan. We had a Production meeting this morning where story meets vision. My script, Shannon's storyboard, Steven's knowledge of equipment and space. Trying to plan as much as possible so we are ready when we are on set. This was the first time the two of them met and they worked so well together it was obviously meant to be. We are all on the same page and we all want to have a lot of fun in the process.
After the meeting, there were still more Producer jobs for me, I submitted all my paperwork to SAG to make this thing official and professional. Then I launched the fundraising campaign. I am overwhelmed by how much support I have already received on the first day!
With only a couple of weeks to go before filming, my split personality of being the producer and the lead actress are at odd with each other. Not to mention the 24/7 job of mom. So yesterday, the family went out kayaking. This was supposed to be a relaxing time out on the bay but the current and winds made it more than a workout than I had bargained for. My arms were tired by the time I got the kayak back to shore but there isn't a kayaking scene in Stunt Mom so I still had to work. While my hubby took the kids to pick up some seafood I snuck in a quick climb of the rock wall. Making it to the top of that 35 foot wall feels amazing! I tend to squeal with excitement when I reach it! I'm so glad that I was able to sneak that right in the middle of a very full family day!