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“Making Meme” is a series of blog posts about the long process of taking a project from an idea to a completed feature film. I made a lot of mistakes on the way and learned a lot of lessons, but I also had a lot of fun and got to work with a lot of wonderful people throughout the process. These posts are presented in the hopes of helping others in their struggles to make a film.– Sean Mannion, Writer/Director, Meme
Read this series in order from the beginning
The quote of the day for Production Day Six was: “I would rather be handsome for an hour than pretty for a week –Tilda Swinton.”
For days six and seven of production we moved to a new location. In the film Sarah Schoofs’ Jennifer has a best friend, Lesley, played by Lauren A. Kennedy. I’d worked with Lauren on a few projects directly, including my own short The Box and Christina Raia’s web series Kelsey. On Kelsey we’d shot a couple of days in Lauren’s apartment. Lauren was kind enough to allow us to shoot there for Meme as well.
Tommy’s apartment, which we’d spent the previous production days shooting and Lesley’s apartment are two of the major locations for the film. A lot happens for our main character, Jennifer, at these spaces. So, getting to shooting this location was very important and it was great we were able to schedule it so early in our production, relatively speaking.
This was our first weekend with Lauren on camera, Lauren had been with the project since before the crowdfunding attempt, but these would be our first days with her. Unlike with our shoot at Alley’s apartment we decided to do some of our more logistically complicated shooting first. Jennifer attends an Anniversary party at Lesley’s apartment. We needed people for the party, so I put the call out to friends and a casting call for extras on the appropriate websites.
When you’re doing a scene with unpaid extras you’ve got to rely on people’s goodwill and desire to just show up and maybe have a little fun on set with some indie folks. You also need to be sure to overbook. Do you need five people? Make sure you get at least ten people to say they’re coming. At least. For various reasons lots of people will have to miss the shoot. Friends and strangers. It’s normal. It’s not something to get worked up about.
We had a strong showing for the party scene. Several friends showed up to both lend a crew hand and be extras. A few people came from the extras casting. Our party, fortunately, felt like a party with the number of people who showed up.
The quote of the day for Production Day Seven was: “It’s a real comfort zone for me to feel alien. – Tilda Swinton”
Day seven was a bit more low key than day six. There were some important scenes for us to shoot but it was more about just Jennifer and Lesley and their relationship.
Probably the most fun part of day seven is we have a scene where Jennifer and Lesley are trying to stream Tank Girl but can’t find it to watch and I found out that some members of the crew were unaware that Tank Girl is an actual film. It was a fair assumption on their part. Part of the script revolves around a movie I made up, Beneath the Black Moon, but I was a bit taken aback that they’d never even heard of Tank Girl. Luckily I had a copy on hand and I put it on Lauren’s TV as we had dinner. We didn’t have time to finish it but we had just about enough time to get to the “Let’s Do It” scene, which is one of my favorites.
The least fun part of day seven was that it was Super Bowl Sunday. I didn’t know it was Super Bowl Sunday, because I don’t watch Football and I can watch the fun commercials the next day. So, at some point in the day it came up that the Super Bowl was happening. This didn’t seem particularly important until it was time to go. Our shoot wrapped at the same time the Super Bowl ended.
I live in Brooklyn. We were shooting in Brooklyn. I don’t own a car. I did before I move to Brooklyn, but by this point I hadn’t had one for more than five years and we were relying on Lyft or Uber to ferry gear from its home at One Glass Video to our shoot locations. Over the course of the shoot we got very good at loading a lot of equipment into the backs of SUVs.
When you live in Brooklyn, though, and you are relying on services like Lyft or Uber, and your shoot wraps right around the same time as a major sporting event people like to throw parties for in their home, getting an Uber or Lyft can be pretty hard. We had to wait quite awhile for the car and of course there was “surge pricing” so it cost about twice as much as it had to get the equipment to the location. Lesson learned. Avoid Super Bowl Sunday. Even if it doesn’t affect you because you don’t watch it, it can have an impact on your transportation.
Next we’ll look at finishing shooting in Lauren’s apartment for Production Days Eight and Nine and start looking at a period for me where art and life were mirroring each other.