Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earrings: Filming Part 2

Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, as I tracked Catherine walking hurriedly down the darkly-lit hallway of a large hotel, I told her to slow her pace, before I stopped recording. I put the camera down, looked at her and said the single best three words a filmmaker can say: “That’s a wrap.”

She put up her right hand, gave me a high five, and that was that, Earrings was wrapped.  According to Catherine, who makes a practice out of keeping very detailed notes, we spent 25 hours filming the movie over the course of five days. That’s not including time to prep the set and get the cast and crew ready for whatever we were shooting. 25 for 5, not half bad.
Andrew and Catherine taking a break from filming at Fryman Park
Filming this movie was one of the most difficult and demanding things I’ve ever done. Sleep was rarely afforded for more than a few hours a night, mountains were traversed at 5:30 in the morning, the sound produced by helicopters was a constant source of agony, and on and on. I’m hard pressed to think of a time in which so much was demanded from me throughout five consecutive days. But with all that in mind, I’m elated that the film is in the can. I haven’t the slightest shred of a psychotropic substance in my body right now, but damn do I feel high.

In my last Earrings post, I described the insurmountable frustration of filming an eight page conversation on top of Fryman Park. It’s a long scene to get through, anywhere from six and a half to seven minutes, depending on the pacing of the actors’ line deliveries. And nearly every single take, in one way or another, was ruined by outside factors. Helicopters, airplanes, chatty walkers, dogs, you name it. So, after posting the blog entry, I did what I was dreading – I watched all of the footage we shot of that scene. And midway through the third take, I knew we had to reshoot. This meant several things needed to be amended right away. A new location, extended shooting times, tweeks in the dialogue, and so on. It was an extremely tense evening, but I can confidently assert that the first take we shot of the scene the following day was the happiest I was during the shoot.

As the actors delivered the final lines of their exchange, a few tears swelled in my eyes. I knew we had it, and I was ecstatic.
A still from the reshot conversation scene
Truthfully, there were dozens of moments like that while shooting this thing. I’ll save most for another day, but let me just say that if you run your lead actress to the point of exhaustion for four straight days, expect her to actually fall asleep when you’re shooting a scene in which she is required to wake up from sleeping. 

Shooting Earrings has, in no uncertain terms, been one of the most pleasurable experiences of my life. In a brilliant circumstance of timing and chance, a few of us involved in the film are currently at the Coachella music festival. I’m considering it our three-day wrap party. I’ll be back to blogging full time on Monday, but for now, I have some celebrating to do.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your continued support. Every tweet, text, e-mail, every Facebook message and phone call – they’ve honestly kept me going. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  1. 3 days at a music festival? perfect wrap up to the film! have fun, enjoy M83 and good luck with editing!

  2. Congratulations Alex!!! So pleased for you and can't wait to see the finished product :D

  3. Congrats with finishing your film! I hope it turns out well in the editing room.

    Today, I passed the "Ten Best Actors of All Time” Relay Race challenge on to you (details and rules over at my blog)

  4. @Diana Thanks Diana! Coachella was a complete blast, the perfect way to end the week.

  5. @Ruth Thanks! If only I could hire you to synch all the sound for me ;)

  6. @Chris Thanks Chris! Headed over to your site now.

  7. I can't imagine the awesome feeling you must have had saying those three magic words. Awesome stuff man!

  8. @Tyler Ah, best feeling in the world. Thanks for the support, brother!

  9. I was wondering where that scene was after reading the last post. Was very worried that I'd missed it completely in the finished film!

    That ability to completely save the scene with a quick change of setting is a good skill to have.

    1. That was easily the toughest thing I had to do while filming: ask the actors and crew to start 2 hours earlier the next day to reshoot the scene we'd spent 4 hours filming the day before. But I asked, and it didn't bother any of them. Martin (who plays the guy in the conversation) was actually the one who pulled me aside and said, "Dude, we're here to make a movie, not bitch about a call time that's 2 hours earlier. Do your thing, we're here for you."

      Very very important to surrond yourself with supportive people like that, I think.