Day 4 of Sean Gillane’s CXL by Lucas McNelly

There’s nothing quite like a really long day of freezing cold exteriors to make you appreciate the simple joys of filming inside. You can put your stuff down and there’s chairs to sit on and bathrooms nearby and it’s generally a lot warmer.

Of course, the scenery isn’t as nice, but that’s the trade.

Today we’re shooting in Sean‘s apartment. You already know what I’m going to say. Don’t shoot in your apartment unless you absolutely have to. Nothing good can come from it. Nothing at all. I know, I know, your film works perfectly for your apartment. You wrote the script to play to the strengths of the building layout and the type of floors and all that. Still, don’t do it.

Sean knows all of this, of course. But, we’re doing it anyway. Why? I’m guessing out of necessity.

Although, the bedroom does have some nice paintings on the wall, kind of a tree mural, so that could be a factor, as I think I heard the VFX guys saying something about trees.

Most of what we’re doing involves our couple in bed. It seems pretty basic–two people just laying there–but they’re going to put some stuff on top of that so the big discussion is whether or not the buttons on Cole’s shirt will function as markers they can use to track movement.

The consensus is that it depends. If we can see one button, then definitely not, but if we can see two or three, it should be ok. So then it’s just a question of adjusting Cole’s shirt so we can see the correct number without it looking completely obvious. Not as easy as you’d think.

Also not easy is the thing we’ve rigged to try and backlight Cole and Lisa as they lay down. You can see it in the picture, but essentially what you’ve got is multiple gobo arms working in concert (gobo’s seem to be a theme on this shoot) with enough black wrap to create a mini spotlight.

All that’s really left after that is to pull out our makeshift green screen rig that we had in the street on Day 2 and do some more multiples.

For a variety of reasons, the plan is to shoot CXL in chunks. So there’s this 4 day shoot which is the first one and, as I understand it, the section with the bulk of the VFX shots. July and August bring the other sections. I want to say those are going to be more traditional, but don’t quote me on that, as I can’t be completely sure.

I find that the more films I work on where I’m not there for everything, the less I worry about the stuff that’s going to happen when I’m not there. Is that because when it happens, I’ll be on another shoot? Or maybe because I can’t exactly report on what I don’t see? Perhaps. But I think that on some level it’s so I can still be surprised when I watch the final product. At least that way, part of it will be completely unexpected.

Filmmaker Lucas McNelly is spending a year on the road, volunteering on indie film projects around the country, documenting the process and the exploring the idea of a mobile creative professional. You can see more from A Year Without Rent at the webpage. His feature-length debut is now available to rent on VOD. Follow him on Twitter: @lmcnelly.