Memory Box

“Memory Box” is Sahar’s last big school production and I wanted to do everything that I could to make sure that it went off as well as possible for her.  As such, once she gave me her character descriptions and needs for casting, I was able to round up all of the actors that she needed.  In terms of casting this was not as difficult as “Grief Stricken”.  However, it did present some problems because she was looking for several actors in the thirty to forty age range and as most people in the business know, it is difficult at the best of times to find male actors compared to female actors and the older the cast is the more difficult it is to find appropriate actors for that age range.

Once we cast all of the actors Sahar and I spent an entire day finding appropriate costumes to fit those actors.  The issue was we were short on time and Sahar was looking for costumes that fit the time period of the shoot: the 1960s.  Goodwill used to be a great source for period costume designs but in the last five years they have stopped carrying clothing that was more period appropriate.  I may only assume that this is because they are trying to make shopping there more appealing by only stocking clothing that is more current with the times to increase sales.  Frankly, that is only conjecture but I have noticed a change in what clothing they stock.

As a result of the Goodwill situation, we drove all over Bloomington to varying thrift stores but did manage to get costumes for the entire cast.  All but one, Sahar needed a robe and pajamas for the father sooooo while she and Brian started setting up the location to film.  I literally ran two blocks to Salvation Army to pick out an outfit for her.  I had to do this because I had all of the equipment in the van and they were unloading the van.  While out, Sahar called and asked me to pick up Champaign for the New Years party scene.

I should explain, the first shoots that we did were all based around memories of the main character.  Sahar’s idea was to shoot each memory in different media (3D, 8mm film, and digital) so that the memories would have different feels and looks.  She also wanted to shoot on 8mm so that we could later project the images on a screen and have the main character interact with them on the screen.  We thus had the 3d and 8mm as the memories and the digital as the present, where the main character tried to interact with her memories.

This meant that we were shooting each sequence with three different passes for each type of film.  The 8mm was shot as if the main character’s Uncle Frank were manning a old 8mm camera.  The 3D were shot as straight memories and the digital utilized a shallow depth of field to create the claustrophobic feel of the main character desperately trying to grasp and retain her memories.

One other thing that made this shoot difficult was that Sahar needed for me to track down a functioning 1960s car.  I was fortunate in that one of the other nontraditional students in my Motion Picture Production class is part of a classic car club and after speaking with him, I was able to work out details with him so that we had a car that fit the look that she needed.  Okay, so car secure but that was only one part to the problem.  The second part included carefully shooting the car sequence with the car driving away in a way that we framed out all the other cars on the street so that we did not have any modern cars in the shot.  We had to shoot the sequence at least six times for varying reasons.

All and all the shoot was very rewarding due to all the challenges that it presented that we needed to work around to make everything come together.  I am always the optimist and although I never really know how it will all work out, I have done enough productions to know that it always works out.  In fact, anyone who has ever worked with me could quote me on saying, “it always works out”.  Frankly, that is part of what I love about this job, seeing how all the pieces do come together and helping make that possible.

We still have one more shoot for this production on the 17th and I look forward to working with everyone again.

Cheers-

Russell

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