Trusting the Film Gods
We shot the entire film over 12 days, substituting downtown Los Angeles for New York City. We were incredibly lucky in that our shoot dates coincided with an unprecedented torrential downpour of rain in Los Angeles, which helped transform Los Angeles into a hurricane-drenched New York.There was no script, just a 45-page “scriptment.” Which meant the writer/director and the actors would be shaping the scenes and creating the movie on set, before our eyes. This was a delightful challenge for everyone, including the cinematographer and camera ops, who had to be prepared to capture the natural, organic flow of a cast that averaged out around 7 people, and at times featured 18 actors in the same scene!It was an exercise in trusting our intuition, the process, and believing that we could pull it off!
CIRCLE OF TRUST
During the pivotal scene of the “Circle of Trust”, a confessional-type scene with 11 people, we didn’t have the time to do multiple takes of each, so the director told the actors that, as proof of her trust in them, they’d each get one take. That’s how it would’ve been in real life anyways, you only get “one take” to tell your story. This “constraint” raised the stakes in such a way that we were able to capture astonishing performances from all the actors.
In a synchronistic event, as Ludo (our DP) and Nich (steady-cam op) were setting up, pulling focus and sitting back to back on a dolly inside the circle, they revealed they were actually a married couple! This kicked off the confessional aspect and intimate tone the scene required in the sweetest and most spontaneous of ways as the cast and crew engaged in a meaningful conversation about couplehood, working together as a team, and dealing with a “badass-lady-boss-who’s-also-your-wife.”
On the Power of Ritual
Every morning during shooting, right before our first shot, we kicked off our day by holding hands in circle. We would set an intention, share a moment of silence, and play the Tibetan singing bowl. We would bring up relevant news that related to the story we were telling, or someone would lead a guided meditation. If a member of our cast & crew was having their birthday, they got to lead the circle as a special treat.
Circle time was hard at the beginning, as we were mainly strangers holding each other’s clammy hands. But, as days went by, it became easier and something we all looked forward to. This ritual allowed us to share our vulnerability as well as our hopes, aspirations and wildest dreams for the movie we were making together.
“The Blackout” would certainly not be what it is if we hadn’t done that.