It was yet another busy weekend for the Razorwalkers…I seem to say that a lot. Editing on Friday night and then shooting on Saturday and Sunday in Biglerville, PA.
During the week I received an invitation to meet Darrin and go to Dan Hall’s house and do some editing. This was a first for me and I jumped at the chance to see how it’s done. We ended up working on a scene that was shot the previous weekend that I hadn’t been able to attend. It was a scene shot at the N.E.W. A-Ville Inn in Arendtsville, PA. We arrived around seven and Dan led us down to his office and we loaded up the video and started looking through it all. By now you know that we shoot scenes from several angles and so there was plenty of video to look at. Editing is an interesting process. It’s not enough to have written a quality script and then film the scenes…you have to take all of that material and put it into a form that tells the story that you’re trying to tell.
It takes a lot of time and thought to decide how to cut a scene together from all of that video and make it a cohesive narrative. There is the actors’ dialog to consider, as well as cutaway shots, wide angles and closeups. You hope that the finished scene conveys what you’re trying to say and that it’s comfortable for the audience to watch. Fortunately, Darrin had an image in his mind of how it should look, but that evolves even as the editing is in progress. Dan is excellent; he knows how to use the software so well that every time Darrin had an idea or a suggestion, Dan was able to quickly put it together so that the work didn’t get bogged down and the creativity was able to flow freely. Still, working on that one scene took several hours and before we knew it, it was close to eleven and we had to go home and rest up for the next days work, which was set to begin at ten in the morning in Biglerville, PA, at the Fire Department there. Jeff Leinbach coordinated that location and they were kind enough to let us film in their kitchen.
We arrived just before ten on Saturday, and the doors were already open for us. The days scene featured Jeff, Hillary Styer, Alan Brown and Chris McDermott. Alan and Chris were filming their first scenes in the movie and they play Kob’s ghostly, evil henchmen. Hillary plays Lila, Jenny’s nanny, who were both murdered on the same evening, 20 years earlier. Actually, I believe this was Hillary’s first day also. At this point, it’s hard to remember what we’ve already shot and who has been on camera…it’s mostly a blur.
We set up our equipment and started laying out the days shoot. We have a new member of the crew; Eric Acosta, who is a videographer. He started with us on the previous weekend and since I wasn’t there, I met Eric for the first time at this shoot. He’s very nice and has a lot experience, which is great. I look forward to working with him and learning more about filming. We now have two Nikon cameras to film with, so Eric used one camera and Darrin and I took turns filming with the other. This is really nice since it allows us to get twice the footage in the same amount of time. It also allows us to film two actors at once, capturing their individual performances in one take, instead of having to reset and readjust our lighting to film them separately.
After everything was set up and the actors were in their wardrobes and makeup, this time handled by Kat, we were ready to start filming. I won’t get into the actual details of the scenes, but I will say that what makes these scenes interesting is that while Jeff’s character was going about his business in the kitchen, the ghosts would appear, acting their nightly ritual in the background. Thus, the trick was to shoot Jeff and then reset with the ghosts suddenly being there.
Having seen the editing process the night before, it made me think about how these scenes would be edited later to give the proper effect. It also gave me new insights into how to actually shoot a scene, knowing what we’d need when time comes to cut it together. The more you know… And now Darrin and I can talk about these things while we’re shooting. It’s a very satisfying experience. Some of you will be happy to know that the Cheese Curls have found their way into this scene too!
After several hours of shooting, we left most of our equipment set up for the next day since we’d be right back at this location again, and made the drive back home to get ready for day number two at the Fire Hall.
It felt a bit like deja vu the next morning when we found ourselves there again. It was nice that the equipment was already setup and we were able to save some time. Day two featured the same cast, minus Jeff, and with the addition of Diana Abrecht (Reese) and this time, Darrin (Desalvo) would be in the scenes. Even though Jeff had finished his scenes the day before, he still showed up to help out as part of the crew, and he even supplied some props for both days. It’s great having him on set because he’s a big help and he’s very entertaining, though if you tell him that, he gets a bit self conscious! Regardless, he was still as entertaining as ever, and provided some off camera support by catching Desalvos dropped weapon.
Diana and Hillary had a nice scene together. It was great to watch them work – they’re both very good and they care so much about giving a real performance. Once again, these scenes featured Darrin and Diana’s characters entering the kitchen and being surprised by the sudden appearance of our ghosts. This time was different though, since Desalvo and Reese had entered the “Doorway” and were now capable of interacting with the ghosts. When I say interacting, what I really mean is being attacked by them. Desalvos interaction was a bit more extreme, and ended with him flying over a table. No special effects there. I imagine Darrin felt that this morning! That was also the end of our poor sandwich, which had endured two days of filming and had become the object of our pity, and for some, our scorn.
So after a long two days, and after Darrin had been bloodied and battered, our weekend shooting had not quite come to an end. After breaking down and packing up our gear, Darrin, Kat, Jeff and I went back the the A-Ville to shoot a few pickup shots for the scene we had filmed there. And with that finished, we wrapped. The schedule appears to be coming along nicely right now and I see that I will be back in my Kob gear in a couple of weeks. It’s always nice to get back in front of the camera after spending so much time behind it, but the behind the scenes work never really ends. Soon you’ll see some of our old friends once again, and they will be joined by at least one new face that you haven’t met yet. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself… In the mean time, I’m looking forward to more editing and possibly shooting some scenes outdoors, which will also be new for me. As always, you’ll see it all here…
Thanks as always to Kat for managing to take pictures for me in the middle of everything else she does!
Thanks also to Dan for his kindness and hospitality in allowing me to come over and see where the magic happens.
Visit the N.E.W. A-Ville Inn! http://www.newavilleinn.com