One month. It has now been just over a month since Stomping Ground wrapped. Producer Dan Zubrzycki and I met on July 1, decided to make the film and we got the last shot of an intense two-day shoot on September 1. From pre-pre-production to a successful Kickstarter campaign to “that’s a wrap” in exactly two months? Shooting a feature film in twenty-four hours? Not bad.
I’d be lying if I said it was always easy. I’d be delusional to promote the image of everything simply falling into place. We knew it was not going to be easy. We weren’t doing it for fun. We predicted a tough shoot and got one.
On the other hand, we had no reason to expect, plan for or predict magic and we had plenty of it. There were performances and shots that far exceeded anything I’d ever dreamt about getting into this film.
And now? I have always said that shooting a film is maybe half the battle. We expect to sign an editor this week and begin post-production by mid-October. We are hoping to have a solid cut of the film by February. A solid cut of the film is only going to go so far. Film, maybe more than any other art form, is a particularly public discipline -- it succeeds when people see it. The film is not going to do anyone any good if, like the vast bulk of the 4000-5000 indie films currently in production, it winds up existing on the hard drive of the people who made it.
Once we are happy with the cut of the film, it will be time to enter festivals and, from there....? Watch this space.
Friday afternoon: I pick up actresses Frankie and Joslyn for the drive to Yardley, PA. At that time of day on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, I am expecting a traffic nightmare but we get off easy. Of course, once we are five minutes from our base camp, our producer’s parents house, we spend nearly half an hour trying to find the spot where our set photographer is waiting for us. Three GPS systems going at once and we still don’t know where we are going? Hopefully, this is not a metaphor for my directing style.
Meanwhile, producers Dan and Isaac along with A.D. Ray take Ben, Michael, Nick and Nate, the male cast members to the set and show them around the “stomping ground.”
Friday night: At this point, we have all gotten together for rehearsals several times but never just hung out. Tonight we go over some business but, for the most part, we chill, we eat, we bond, we discuss the next day and the day after that.
We tell dirty jokes late into the night. I need to learn some dirtier jokes if I am ever going to make another film.
Saturday Morning: We get up and hit the set. It becomes extremely clear early on that the original plan of shooting the film like a play is not going to work quite as well as expected or hoped for. I don’t know how we adjust but, between us, somebody does something right and we charge ahead with a completely new game plan and the same exact goal: shoot an entire feature film in two days.
Part II Coming Soon