2005-04-10

Winter's Day, Part I


Today we shot Winter's Day, the latest in a long line of Matter of Chance productions with wild behind-the-scenes stories. It seems we can't get a single project done without major drama or incidents.

Sidetracking for a moment, I haven't yet reported on the shoot for Brock H. Brown's latest film, The Subject. Or more accurately, the shoot that didn't happen. Brock sprung a massive nosebleed just prior to call, was taken to the hospital, bled out for hours, and had a soldering iron shoved up his nose. Yet another brilliant screenplay that will be shelved due to production complications. I was hoping Brock would post about this, I'd like to hear his perspective.

Back to Winter's Day.

This film came together over the last 48 hours or so. Not because it's part of a 48 hour filmmaking contest, but because our backs are up against the wall coming up with something for the Screen Wars Action challenge. Originally, we were going to pass on the Action challenge, because it's not our thing, and no good ideas came to mind. However, after getting such a positive reaction to our Comedy submission, Intense Math, I felt we just had to submit something.

So it was that an idea presented to us by JAG (and immediately discarded) some months ago came back to life. The idea: a modern adaptation of the Three Musketeers, which JAG had been reading of late. These tales of fantasy are not my thing, so I thought nothing of it at the time. However, over lunch a week ago I asked JAG for ideas again, and the idea was brought back up. Of course, we were constrained to a three minute time limit. Given that, he described the climactic raid, trial, and execution scenes towards the end of the movie. Now here was something I could work with.

Friday night we committed to the idea in earnest. We conceived of an adaptation involving FBI agents. Saturday we traveled the city all day rounding up props: pistols, bullet-proofs jackets (inside-out Old Navy jackets with the sleeves removed and stitched up), handcuffs, walkie-talkies, ear buds, and a red tie. Then, today, at noon, we recruited an eight-member cast and four-member crew. I busted out the screenplay as they were in transit, and we had a pre-production prep meeting/pep rally.

Of course, JAG and Angie has issues with the screenplay, being purists in regards to the original story. True, we could have done a number of things differently, and there was ample dramatic detail to draw from in the original story. However, I contend that the copromises I made were necessary, especially considering that if we had done anything even slightly more complex, we really would have been stuck (read on).

We loaded into the cars and headed to the preferred location, an isolated subdivision with only three houses in various stages of construction. Upon arriving we found a foreman on the site and had to move to take evasive action. We headed out to what was the backup site, but were enticed by another home construction site on the way. Here were not just framed houses, but nearly-completed ones as well. Very nice. We decided to go for it.

There it was that we shot all facets of a raid, chase, and interrogation over the next two and a half hours. As we were working on the final third of the movie, a security guard came by and busted us. A very dangerous situation considering the number of prop guns present (Gentlemen, holster your weapons). He was nice enough to stall for ten minutes while we wrapped up. However, tension continued to rise, with word of calling the proper authorities, and we were forced to take flights before getting the critical last shot.

Away we went, and regrouped at my house for pizza and the tape of most of those present on television the previous evening. We even reviewed the footage together, perhaps slightly disappointed in the quality of the shots due to the rushed nature of the production. Of course, it always comes together in post. We will find a way! This time around, I have decided to post just a few shots at a time, as I will inevitably have other posts as I edit, which will need some graphical enhancement.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you another Matter of Chance production, another brush with death and/or incarceration.

8 comments:

Jeremy said...

Screenplay please.

RGL said...

Good people at MOC;

Saw "Intense Math" at the PFF booth at the PHX Film Fest.

Fantastic! Great cinematography, great music, great direction, great editing - etc.

Particular props to Gabe for his sweat-drenched death scene.

Having said that, I part. I must seek advance tickets for a digital screening of Star Wars: Episode III. I don't know about you guys, but I have always been a sucker for intergalactic jurisprudence.

Joshua Provost said...

RGL, I'll no doubt check out Episode III. I'm wondering how I'll get excited for a story where I know the ending. I'm sure Lucas has compensated for that, though. I hope you have checked out Lucas masterwork THX-1138. That's my favorite.

Jeremy, I'll see about a screenplay later (not sure if I should post it, since we are entering this into a contest), but for now I can give you the following:

The Man In The Red Cloak
Trial
Execution

Winter's Day is essentially Trial, with elements of the other two chapters.

Joshua Provost said...

Whoops, change that last link to be chapter 66...

Joshua Provost said...

OK, Jer, I posted the screenplay on Study of Leonard Hughes.

Jeremy said...

Looks pretty good. I like the Bazan reference. I always enjoy a good adaptation. When do I get to see this one?

And when does Tim Nm, CPA come out?

Joshua Provost said...

The original character was Bazin. If I hadn't made a Bazan reference, that would have been strange.

If it wasn't an adaptation, it wouldn't have happened at all. We were fresh out of ideas. A great shortcut, I'll have to remember it next time.

The deadline for the film is Monday the 18th, so I would expect I will have it posted by Sunday night.

Tim Nm, CPA? Nice to see you using that title. Feel free to come up with a better one, but it's all I've got.

Considering we have a Western and Drama challenge hot on the heels, I can't say for sure. Only that, like a fine wine, the footage gets better with time. You should feel fortunate that I am honing my editing skills before going to work on you.

Gabe said...

I saw the rough cut of the film yesterday, and I must say - I was quite impressed. I have to admit that I couldn't see it coming together, but when Josh has something in mind and is on fire, it always comes out good. The next Screen Wars will be truly interesting.