“I’m not a big fan of soups and the like as a meal,” I said.
The director of photography (DP) and I were talking back at our Airbnb while getting ready for Day 2 of Assassinaut, pondering what would be served for lunch at midday. The first day had served us up a bowl of tasty chili, but I’ve always been more of a sandwich or hunk of meat guy.
“Yeah it’s better to have something hearty. Like less liquid and more meat. More like a stew”
“Stew not soup,” I summed up, then offered, “that’s what the crew shirts for this movie should say.”
We laughed, then decided this was our new phrase for when the other was slacking: taking too long to set up the camera? “Stew not soup.” Is the shot mediocre and needs some tweaking? “Stew not soup.” Forget to level the camera even though it looks good enough? “Stew not soup.”
It means don’t settle for anything mildly satisfying (soup) when you can have it fulfill you (stew).
Day 2 was definitely a stew day – not just at lunch where we shared cake for the director’s birthday, but on all elements of the process from the acting to the cinematography to the hustle of crew.
I particularly want to give props to the camera department. My 2nd Assistant Camera (AC) busted his ass and it showed at the end of the day when he was covered in sweat while I had only a light misting (turns out sitting on an apple box next to the camera most of the day doesn’t expend much energy).
Our Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) also did a commendable job. She was diligent about pulling stills and keeping our footage backed up. It’s nice to know that even with the long takes we shot throughout the day that getting behind on data dumps isn’t going to be a frequent issue, if at all.
Both served up a healthy serving of stew that kept me warm and fuzzy inside.
We’re off filming today (Friday), but back into it tomorrow (Saturday) then off again the next day (Sunday) before heading into a 5-days on, weekends off schedule.
This week feels like a warm-up round for what’s bound to be a shoot that ramps up in intensity as we travel to increasingly remote locations that double as alien ecosystems. It’s going to be hot, humid, and we’re going to be schlepping gear fairly long distances.
I’m hoping the energy of myself and team keeps up with plenty of stew – not soup – giving us the juice.
The Day 2 Wrap Out
• While I wish we had them for day 1 in the giant warehouse, we finally got walkies and it’s amazing how much more efficient they can make you.
• I’ve never dissected a frog before (or anything, really). So add that to the list of “Things I’ve Never Done but Filmed and Watched Happen Through a Monitor.”
• In other animals news, we also filmed some “chicken beauty shots.”
• Today was our first moving shot on a slider. The stop was a 5.6/8 split, so even though I got marks, the depth-of-field was so big I probably could’ve guessed within 10 feet and still been in focus.
• Learned a neat trick from my 2nd AC today to avoid forgetting which take you’re on: as you’re settling before “action” is called, swipe through the number on the slate with your finger like this:
There’s been many times I’ve been caught up between takes and have trouble remembering if I’d already written the number for the next take or if it was a holdover from the last one.
• One of the actor’s had a line reading that wasn’t supposed to be funny, but came out hilariously weird. I immediately began laughing silently (you know where your shoulders bounce up and down), then laughed harder when I saw the DP also laughing, and then panicked thinking, “Oh don’t let talent know you’re laughing at them.” So after we cut, I tried to pretend I had to cough, but it was mixed with uncontrollable laughter – but I don’t think my cover was blown.
• The summer heat combined with many exterior locations on this shoot has me especially sensitive to black shading on our RED Epic Dragon. This “Black Shading for Dummies” guide has proved to be an invaluable reference.
• Key grip “Magic” Mike had a great Dad joke today after I called him out for checking his wrist for the time without wearing a watch: “Yeah it’s the new Apple iWatch – the invisible watch.”
• It feels appropriate that we’re filming a space movie with the RED Dragon since, after every take when we cut, the fan turns on at a velocity that feels like it’s launching itself into orbit
• It’s never too late to introduce yourself to crew. I’m still meeting people and it’s important to do so on a long shoot like this.
• The acting we filmed today was top notch. On top of that, the director was beaming at video village during several takes. This is what they mean by “movie magic.” I’m hungry for more.