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Rated PG-13 for frank language

Commentaries >> About filming :: Pre Production :: Meet OUR Lara

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Shooting Day 13 -- Saturday, June 18th 2005

For all two people that actually read my directors logs, (and for those that do, you deserve a cookie or something for reading all of 'em, and those that wanna catch up, yes they are written for everyday that we shoot) I would like to take a personal moment to touch upon a few things that have not only affected our movie, but could very well affect any one else's.....hell, I have seen worse on the Hollywood flicks.

Usually when one makes low budget stuff, be it fan film or other, you make them with people you know, a.k.a, your homies, friends, girlfriends, parents, any other hapless person you can throw in front of the camera or behind it, to help achieve something that resembles a movie.

It doesn't matter if you're making the best romantic parody comedy ever, or a tense film about 'Star Wars', what matters is, hey, you're not just talking about it, you're PARTICIPATING, you're doing things on you're own and you and your peeps are coming together to make it with you.

But remember this true believers, it IS only a movie. At the end of the day you're not curing cancer (thank you Sean Rourke), you're making flicks, things that entertain.

And be it your first time through, or your twentieth, always remember that as much hard work that goes into it, it's the new friendships that you've made during it and the important ones you bring into it that matter. The view above the desert

Now on to the shooting day.

The past few weeks we've been very busy. We have day jobs and the hardest part of doing this flick by far is schedules.

No one is getting paid and thus we try to get everyone's schedules to line up in a nice row, like ducks or something.

For the last few weeks, Val and DC have been practicing fight choreography to whoop each others ass with the talented Ron Yuan. Ron is a master of this shit and I told him what I wanted and let him go to work, and the man sure knows what he's doing.

In fact what I love about all the fight choreographers from Keith to Eric and Andy to Ron, is that they all deliver a distinct fighting style to the flick.

And I'm all about diversity, so I love it.

Those guys deserve mad props, but THAT is for the next shooting day, which will be HUGE I tell you, f @#%ing HUGE.

So Val meets up with me and we drive out to her moms to stay the night and get up real early like to get some aerial shots of the our desert location.

Dan flys the plane This location is roughly 250 miles each way, so it takes all day to get to and back if you drive.

Dan-o the man-o, is gonna be our pilot today, since he is part of Val's family, that's how we got him and what a fantastic guy he is.

I've always thought the world of Dan and Tina (Val's momma) and I've heard Dan regale me with countless pilot stories but I've never seen the man-o in action. It's awesome.

So we have a plane ready to go at 3:30 a.m. from the tiny airport, cause it takes about an hour and a half to fly out there.

But it all depends on the weather. If there are too many clouds (June gloom) we can't go, cause we would crash into the mountains, which is not good.

I know art imitates life sometimes, but I sure as hell didn't want to recreate Lara's origin THAT much.

So we all get some sleep about midnight, a few short hours later I get up to check the out side....clouds.....

No dice.

Val leaves about 3 hours later to drive the jeep out there and we will meet up with her later.

I think I got 40 minutes sleep total.

Dan and I arrive at the airport about 9-ish, he checks the place over and we get in the "tiny puddle jumper". The thing is cool, but no bigger than a cigar box, but it's perfect for what we need: aerial shots, and lots of 'em.

Dan wants to get above the clouds to see how bad it is, if they break up we can fly out toward Blythe, CA. If not, then we have to land till we can. Since we are on a time schedule and don't want to leave Val all alone out there, I hope we can go now.

At Blythe airport The reason Val isn't flying with us is that she also wants to scout the desert for another location for the desert explosion shooting day while we are out there. So we need a 4wheel jeep to get over the off road rocky terrain, which she is driving out to there.

Dan and I are soon airborne and I get a few shots.

We land and meet Val at the airport. Val and I pose for a pic. We go to eat. She programs the GPS so we can find the other location we want to scout which is deep in the desert mountains.

When I mean desert, I don't mean sand and s@#t, although sand is out there. I mean rocky, dirty hot, dry terrain. 100 degree heat, without humidity.

We make it out there after a few twists and turns but have to hike the rest of the way. Since we're not quite sure where it is, we end up second guessing the route and go UP a mountain and over a hill, by this time fairly exhausted. The good news, I'm a TAN Irish kid now. The bad news, we only got within 1.3 miles of it.

So we never got to scout it out. It's not easy to find what we need out here. Val has made many trips before, just for scouting. We will find it next time and more than likely shoot there cause I did love the lay of the land.

Tired, sun stroked, and running out of time we make it back to the jeep and drive the 40 minutes back to the airport.

Once there I don't feel like shooting anything. I'm worn out, we have what seems like no time, and I wanna get this right so why not fly back another day.

Val's not having it, being the headstrong producer she is, she pushes me to get what we need now.

It sinks in that there may not be a later and that I just need to get hydrated. My throat was so dry I could've made the Sahara desert look like an oasis, my skin was burning and I had zero energy.

F@#% it man, gotta take risks. Plus Val will stop pushing me if I do it now. Gotta make the producer happy :) Filming from the plane

I get up and declare that a Gatorade has my name on it when we get back.

We hike out to the plane and after minor adjustments take off.

Then wind is much stronger than when we arrived and is threatening to push us all over the place, including down into the mountains. Dan and Val and I talk via headset the best way to approach these gargantuan things.

The airplane window only opens about a quarter of the way, in order to get shots I NEED, I have to put the camera out first, then grab it with both arms, and then contortion myself half out the window and hold it there.

Hanging out the plane The winds are 112-115 miles an hour and they would wrench the camera from my hands if I wasn't careful. This means I have to bandage the strap around my arm and just hold on and pray as I shoot.

So I'm 2000 feet above mountains, hanging half out a plane window, wind whipping INTO my eyes and face at sincere speeds, TRYING to shoot what I can, holding on the camera, afraid at any moment I won't be able to hold on anymore, my muscles will tire and I will drop it.

Dan had to idle the plane and hold the stick steady manually with both arms because of the wind, but we did it.

We got some great shots and every now and again I would have to come back in to rest, thinking that was the last shot cause my body couldn't take any more of the intense pressure on my arms and face. I knew Dan was getting tired trying to hold the plane steady.

Ice cream sandwich time But I kept going out for a few more takes JUST to be sure. Afterwards we paid Dan with ice cream sandwiches......cheap if you can get 'em.

Number one, don't try this s@#t. Ever. Please. Be careful. I've done this for 13 years and I'm doing this crazy stuff cause I am crazy.

Don't be like me. Use stock footage. We couldn't though because in our case it wouldn't match.

Sam Raimi would've had robots built to fly this amazing camera plane where he would monitor it from the safety of the ground, drinking his soda and getting a massage from the Swedish Bikini Team, all while telling Tobey Maguire he's a pansy.

Us? We would love to call Tobey a pansy, but we don't have the luxury to get aerial shots like that. We have to do it ourselves, but not alone, together. With amazing people like Dan and Tina in our corners, Keith and Tracy, Eric and Andy, Dave Leuck, Albert and Cindy, Austin and Rocky, DC and Ron, Jenn and Lydia, Vlad, the Todd(s), Javier, Bex, Lucas, Mark, Sean Rourke, Gary... The list goes on.

So, now we gear up till next time which will be probably one of the biggest shooting days.

Lara? She gets to shoot her guns.

Shit blows up.

People die.

And she faces off toe-to-toe against Chen.

It's gonna be bitchin'.

Me? I'm gonna be like a kid with a sugar high on Christmas filming it.

You? You can read all about it and hopefully see it soon.

Until then, keep the camera's rolling. Nick

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