Early in A Year Without Rent, I was supposed to work on a film in Seattle that ended up falling apart. These things happen. A lot. But out of the ashes of that failure came two more films--THE SUMMER HOME, a short which shot back in April, and THIS IS OURS, a feature.
This rarely happens. Hell, when they talked to me about it way back when, I only half believed them.
But here we are, in Plain, Washington, shooting that feature film Kris and Lindy talked about on the set of THE SUMMER HOME.
THIS IS OURS takes place primarily in a cabin next to a golf course. It serves a dual purpose, as we're all sleeping in the cabin and it's the primary location for the film, which is exactly what we did on THE SUMMER HOME.
I arrive from Seattle an hour or so after call after getting a ride to my car from Brendon Fogle. It's a whole new team from the last film, with the only constants being Kris, Lindy, and Wonder Russell. Oh, and Falcor. I get the tour of the place, which is much bigger than it looks from the road and pretty easily holds everyone. Next to the cabin is a garage that serves as a holding area for gear. And there's a porch that overlooks a golf course. As far as places to make a movie go, it's a pretty nice one.
I'm on set for the last couple of days, so everything's already in full swing, clicking along. There's some rigging in ceiling to hang lights. Everyone's already exhausted. The usual.
There's always an adjustment period for stuff like this, where I come in as the new person. It takes a bit to actually work myself into the work flow. Even more so on this film, as things seem to going pretty smoothly. There's not a whole lot for me to do just yet. So I help carry some heavy stuff and take some pictures.
We film in the living room for a bit, then Kris, DP Jonathan Houser, and I go down to the golf course while they figure out how to shoot something that's on the schedule for later in the week.
Then, we set the living room for a night scene of a party in which, for some reason, Ernie Joseph and Mark Carr are wearing dresses. I'm not really sure why, but there you have that. It's that kind of film, I guess.
It's also, according to pretty much everyone, one of the most DIY shoots they've been on, due in large part to the ingenuity of one Kit Boyer, who when presented with a partial camera package for the RED, got creative. He made an eyebrow for the matte box with some cardboard, gaff tape, and a soda can.
But he also created something he calls "the plunge". It's, well, I'll let him explain it.
I can honestly say I've never seen that before. Fellow 1st AC's, the bar has been raised.
A side note: I've timed these posts to coincide with the THIS IS OURS Kickstarter campaign. So if you've got some spare change, consider sending it their way.
Filmmaker Lucas McNelly is spending a year on the road, volunteering on indie film projects around the country, documenting the process and the exploring the idea of a mobile creative professional. You can see more from A Year Without Rent at the webpage. His feature-length debut is now available to rent on VOD. Follow him on Twitter: @lmcnelly.