Today I wrapped principal photography on my upcoming short film Exulto. This was really threading the needle, as it was a one-man production. Image is incredibly tough, as is sound, but many of the shots came out pretty decent. Image quality from that little Canon surprised me.
I couldn’t get what I needed guerrilla style at the Quick E Mart, and so I instead made it a green screen shot. It’s a key shot, and with a 10 ft. green screen stretched across my patio I had all the time in the world to correct and adjust until the sequence surprises and jumps off the screen. I just couldn’t have done that loitering outside a convenience store, and I did try.
The film’s key turning points I saved for last-ish, and I filmed those at my house. It was important to take enough time to get them right. It does take time to get comfortable in front of the camera, and many experiments need to work out of the system before the right formula presents itself.
I did write a script, but it changed all the time while shooting. Sometimes I found better looking locations. Other times I gave up on stealing a particular place. Little twists played around with the central idea. My dialogue evolved too, and several Youtube Vlog inserts were added to break up the otherwise similar series of shots.
The movie’s ending scene was maximally tedious. I figured that no one would be around downtown on a Sunday at sunset, based upon my recon. But on that day, it was like Grand Central. For two hours I raced between arriving cars and loud pedestrians in order to get the solo shot in front of the building sign I needed. This one couldn’t be green-screened, or else I would have certainly done it that way.
Also, I’ve been editing, color grading and playing with special effects during the production. I have to get familiar with all aspects in order to bang this thing into competition shape. I’m hubristic enough to send this in to festivals. I want to see it up on the big screen, and I’d be interested in the honest reactions of audiences. Giant dark rooms just feel so different than little laptop screens.
In the past I’ve been a shy person. Now I’ll be 12 feet tall and going through some notable, perhaps even unflattering changes. It had to be done.