When Shit hits the fan – 9-25

This is Michael, who plays Leo and is a very fine actor.

Alright, I’ve been meaning to write about this but it bothers me to relive the events. Let me do a chronological series of a my week of unfortunate events:

Friday 9/25: I’m all set to film on Tuesday the following week. We will be shooting the climatic scene that involves a gunshot on a trail near where my parents live. I learn that building an air powered “squib” device is within the realm of possibility for me – so that I can make the gunshot look real.

Saturday 9/26: I arrive home genuinely pleased with my life, my financial standing, and my preparedness for filming on Tuesday. I run through a speed bump within my apartment complex. My engine stalls. I push the truck into a parking spot as my neighbors drive by. My girlfriend takes the wheel and drives it into a parking spot.

Sunday 9/27: After a restless day of youtube research, I decide the new squeal coming from my truck is likely a worn-out serpetine belt or loose pulley. I remove the belt and change out the pulley. Problem is not resolved. I take pay for an uber for a 90 minute trip to pick up my Mom’s truck, who is on vacation, so that I can still film on Tuesday.

Monday: The parts for the airpowered squib arrive. They are almost perfect, but the CO2 canister requires a valve with an OD less than 1/8th of an inch. I spend $300 at walmart for chairs, an easy up, and a table to make the actors more comfortable shooting under the hot sun on Tuesday.

Tuesday: I travel to Home Depot and Lowes in search of the necessary piece to complete my squib contraption. They do not have the piece, and we begin filming late. The easy shoot on my balcony takes longer than expected. We reach the hiking trail for the outdoor shoot at noon, rather than 8 am like I anticipated. My dad sees my mom’s truck as we’re unloaded items. He comes outside and yells for the entire neighborhood to hear. He thinks, incorrectly, that I’m blocking the one lane service road. He yells for my actor and production assistant to hear “You’re not a fucking movie producer!”. I don’t care whether I am or not, but I was not happy with how unprofessional it made me seem. We experience grave and never ending overheating issues with my camera. So bad, that I decide to film using the kit lens (because of zoom features) and allow my crew member/work partner/friend to frame the scene. We condense the climatic scene to 2 pages rather than 4 due to overheating issues.

Wednesday: The footage from the outdoor sequence looks terrible. The kit lens produces pixelated images. My friend apparently doesn’t understand the difference between a close-up and a wide shot. I hate it.

Beautiful image. Ugly pixels.

Thursday: My friend is convicted for a DUI he received a year ago. Our employer finds out and he is no longer my work partner (but still my friend).

Friday: I discover the squeel in my truck comes from the crankshaft part of my engine. The truck is totaled. A week later I resolve to have it towed to a mechanic, where I will put over half of my savings for the year into replacing the engine.

That brings me to today. I have purchased the replacement part for the squib, am waiting for my truck to run again, and plan to film this Tuesday, and again next Monday. I am going to attempt to persuade my lead actor to return to re-film the climatic sequence. I am happy with a lot of the film I do have, and editing is coming along nicely.

I should post here more, and do want to. I’m not very good nor smart at promoting my work. For some reason I’m more comfortable telling you all the problems with the production than all the things I’m excited about. But let’s keep this post archived for something to remember, if only for myself, about the struggles that come with completing any project, and what we learn from those struggles.

I should post again more regularly. Maybe come out with a trailer for episode 4 (it should run 15 minutes). I’ll try to be more positive in the future, but it will be nice when I have more positive things to share.

May the Lord have mercy on my 2008 Toyota Tacoma and heal it promptly.

5 thoughts on “When Shit hits the fan – 9-25

  1. I liked the story but did not like it at the same time…because fuck…. life likes to throw curve balls at us at the most inconvenient times dont’t they. BTW tell your Dad, you a are a Movie Producer and an Executive Producer since your are fronting the money, and Director, and the Editor and Cinematographer and an Actor. Fact…. You should see some of M. Night Shyamalan’s early work ,, rough but he doggedly got through it. Vin Diesel was early on a DIY self produced movie guy until he really broke into the industry.. Throw as much shit as you can at the wall and never stop throwing it… you will get better, and better , but you will still bitch about other problems but the good kind , like editing deadlines for a big budget film (that YOU are not putting up the money for ) 🙂 , the Rewards will find you eventually, and to quote Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, all your wildest dreams will come true.. 🙂

  2. Sorry you had such problems. I’m sure you’re going to end up fine. You have a great attitude and keep on going without letting anything stop you.

  3. Pingback: Final Scene – 10-19-20 | Thomas M. Watt

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