|Shooting Day 12 -- Stardate: Never throw the Holy Hand Grenade past the count of 3..... (actual shooting date Saturday, April 2nd, 2005)
Hello again. Yup, it's shooting day 12 now. Yup, I still got up at 7-ish to run errands before filming, picking up lights with Keith, etc.
Keith and Tracy pack up and go over to Val's to get ready. I shower and wait for Nathan and Todd (Todd is gonna be my first A.D. today, and trust me, I needed one. He also kicked much first A.D. butt and really saved me a few times)
Today, by far is going to be a tough day. This is the day that has the most going on. So Todd and Nathan show up and Todd and I go over shot ideas and the scene itself. Originally, I wanted to film it in order. Which can be easier and certainly helps. But it's a rare thing, because movies are shot out of order and scenes sometimes too.
We drive over to city hall in Culver City and wait for everyone else to show up. G4 is gonna be there today and Jose and Matt from G4 are already there. They are waiting on their sound guy Mike and Brendan Moran - the host and producer of their show.
I'm just waiting for everyone else. Matt, Liza and Evie show up. Matt asks me when I think we may be done with all this? I tell him maybe 8:30 or so. He grimaces. "When you first told me this, you told me 4-5 hours." "Yeah, but that was awhile ago, and it's gotten a bit bigger since then. S@#t dude, I'm sorry I didn't get back to you about it, what's going on?" "Well" he says, "Evie has to leave tonight for Vegas."
Evie smiles and gives me a 'Sorry' look. Matt says, "Yeah and we picked her up so we're her ride back home."
I call Todd over, "Todd, (explain situation here) what can we do?"
"Well, you don't HAVE to film it in order, you can just get insert shots of Matt , Liza and Evie and release them earlier."
Why didn't I think of this. I agree, but I really wanted to shoot in order. Soon after wards, EVERYONE shows up and by everyone I mean 25 people. Which is more than I thought, on paper that doesn't seem like a lot. But in person, it is.
I've been making movies for years. Since I was kid, making flicks with my buddies, all kinds of flicks. I've worked with bigger crews in film school, but the actors in the scenes were few. I saw everyone here and thought to myself.
"The director sets the tone, if I'm nervous or not together on this, everyone else will be too. I need to step up today and become Nick Murphy, semi-pro director, people are gonna be turning to me here now, if I f@#k this up, the whole day goes to crap."
We loaded some peeps up in the 15 person transport van and others followed in their cars. We got to set and DC, Todd, Brian and I started unloading our car and everyone was standing outside getting ready to go in to Albert's.
By now, it's nearly 4:00 and we still haven't gotten the first shot off.
We go inside and I go back out to pick up my back pack and make sure I got everything. G4 dudes were here, the biggest cast in one scene was here. I took a deep breath and said a small prayer to God and the film gods (who are in affiliation with God) and went inside, getting into director mode.
The girls were great to work with, I gave them all direction and they nailed it. Jenn had one line, and it was quite funny a few times, the crew got a kick out of it cause she had to say it so much. Liza really played a great bartender, she was great with her role and Alyssa was a really funny pouty girl, and really delivered. There is this funny moment where we made Matt the pimp guard of Chen's layer (he played Chen's right hand man in the flick) and he had the beautiful and classy Evie on one side of him and the cute as button Lydia on the other side, both vying for his attention in the scene. It was very funny to shoot. After we wrapped Matt in that scene, I said, "Thanks Matt."
"No, Thank YOU." he said.
He later told me he was glad he got to play a hard ass in this flick, because he's usually the innocent guy. I told him in my next film, he's a wuss.
Natalia stepped up too, she's a really funny friend of mine who wants to direct and has made some funny movies. She filmed the behind-the-scenes video for us, so for the first time we have actual behind-the-scenes, uh, scenes. Instead of me filming them from my camera.
The guards looked pissed off. My buddy Nathan didn't even look like the Nathan I know and my roommate Tom looked scary too. Ed and Brian (Brian drove up from San Diego for this) kicked ass as well. In fact there is this scene where Vlad and Brian advance on Keith and Gary to disarm them. Well, Keith kicks their ass and takes them both down. (THANKS VLAD AND BRIAN, my hats off to you sirs)
Brian had to fall a lot on the hard floor and he really put his all into it.
Later he calls me over and lets me know that he woke up really sick, and has been hiding it all day, but he feels like he's gonna throw up and wanted to know how much longer I needed him. I felt bad, I had no idea the dude was sick AND drove up here while sitting in traffic for 5 hours. I told him one more angle and he's wrapped.
The world needs more dedicated people like you sir.
We break for dinner/lunch and G4 interviews me. This is my first national t.v. interview. I was a bit nervous and thought my responses came off second rate. I was totally still in the mood of directing still. But it was still a very exciting time and I was very proud of my cast and crew, G4 was impressed too. Brendan told me that this turned out a lot better than he thought it would and the segment for 'Attack of the Show' will air this Thursday. (We will also have the segment online too.)
Poor Tracy. She thought we were gonna film in order first. There is this part where she is on the grand piano while the talented Albert (whose place we were filming at) played the ivories. It's a great shot, but Tracy was in costume the whole time. And since she will be playing dual roles she had to wear a wig and different makeup.
She sat in costume ALL day. It was 8:00 p.m. and we still hadn't gotten to her shot yet. So I moved priorities over to do her scene. She nailed it, I watched the footage today and she looks damn good.
It's a funny scene too, thanks for being such a trooper Tracy !!!
So by now, I've lost most of my cast and the transportation van is back to take people back to their cars in Culver City. But we aren't done yet and still have more to film. G4 already left and so I dismiss Lydia, Jenn and Vlad, Natalia, and Alyssa.
This leaves us with a smaller cast and crew, but we push on.
Now it's time to film some more stand off John Woo style action. This is a really intense scene, but the problem is our energy is fading fast and our game wasn't quite on like it was earlier in the day.
We know how important this scene is and all vocally agree that we need to really dig deep and bring the energy back to the scene. Keith points out that most of the people have left and it's hard to work off no one there.
So Tom and Nathan step back into guard positions and Tracy sits where the babes use to be and we work off that.
We shoot the scene and I direct Keith and Gary to stellar performances. Watching the footage today made me realize how these guys over the last two days have given me the dedicated and fantastic characters I needed. I bow down to them, they were amazing and really add another layer to this movie.
Now we are winding down the scene, the last thing we need to film is Chen (DC). DC has been bringing great ideas to the set all day, really owning Chen and making him his own. He's very much an actors actor and goes above and beyond who I've seen as Chen.
(For those that are curious, Chen has NOT been filmed until today, so those teaser trailers that have bad guys in 'em, none of those dudes are Chen.)
I mean, here was a guy, who literarily two days ago, got this role and blew everyone away with his performance. I look forward to finishing this movie with him and working with him in the future.
In fact, let me just say this, to everyone involved, to all the people from across the world who are supporting us: I wish I could find the words to say thank you, but I can't. Because thank you seems too over used.
My whole life feels like it's being led to this moment, to step up and make something creative like this. What started out as a simple idea while driving in my car one day has turned into something more. An experience I don't want to end, memories I will always keep sacred, and friends I will have for a life time.
My life has been enriched by everyone of you, and this movie has never been about something arbitrary like money, it's about heart and passion for movies. My life has never been easy and each one of you have given me something to reach for, I don't want to let you down. I want to make something you too will remember and be proud of. I want the fans to actually BE a part of this experience.
You have made my dreams come true. It's funny, my whole life I thought that making big Hollywood movies was my dream. But now I know, that I'm already living my dream. To direct movies. That's all I've ever wanted. And it's because of all of you amazing people, I have that chance.
I will never have something like this again.