3 Days of The Freeman – Part 1

1Directors Diary

So I am going to try to give an account of the production as best as memory serves.

I will try to avoid spoilers as much as possible. Here goes…

The days before

The days before were filled with calamity, but that seems to be how it always is with films that are low budget. When I started ramping up the production I knew the script was overly ambitious, even in its form at the time it contained a lot of difficult and time consuming scenes.  5 pages of indie film per day is certainly doable, the problem is this film is nothing like your typical indie. It’s basically a 15 minute action movie interspersed with some dialog. When Bernhard (who is a great writer) found himself with the time available to work on the script I asked him to take over.  I was balancing an insane work and family schedule.  Bernhard however also had aspirations for a great action movie so the script continued to move out of the realms of what was possible and into crazy, awesome action movie.

2It had already been quite a battle for me getting everything ready for the production.  Script, props, costumes, actors. Until the shoot was close the active number of people working on the film was only a few.  In the last month or so before the production started the numbers of people involved started to grow and so did my aspirations for it. And so it continued to grow.

4It dawned on me while I was trying to get the LAFD fire permit about 1 hour before the they closed on New Years Eve, that this project was no longer a small episodic crowd funded by some loyal fans. It had become something more.

After a long delay and attempts at production in June and September, we finally settled on the first few days of the new year to get principal photography out of the way.

3As we crewed up, new people came on board the cast and crew grew to 30.

Producer, Director, Cinematographer, 2 Camera Operators, AC, Gaffer, Key Grip, Sound, Production Designer, Weapon Master, Makeup, Costumer, Practical FX, Script Supervisor, VFX Supervisor, Documentarian, Production Assistant and a cast of more than 10.

So as I tried to fill in the fire permit forms on my phone, while driving across LA to meet with the actors for the first time, the realization that it was happening suddenly hit.  With finalization of the location the production suddenly became real. I held the phone in one hand and my credit card in the other and hit send on the $250 Commerce City permit and $501 fee to the LAFD.  It was a go!  One last day before 3 of the most important days of my life.

Somehow we had all the other people involved at this stage thinking this was gonna somehow be possible.  A crazy script, with numerous costumes and weapons, significant makeup, blood and dirt effects, full sized headcrab monster costumes, dust, wind, smoke, compressed air explosions, a guy wearing a full body HEV suit, not to mention an insane menu of digital effects (I mean it, it is insane).  To top it off, make it happen in a live, functioning LA power station. You get the idea. What the hell were we thinking.

Next up Day One…

 

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Posted on January 11, 2015 in Behind the Scenes, Journal, Pre-production

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