Sunday, April 7, 2013

My New Favorite Thing

So it's after midnight and we only just got back from our first ever night-shoot! And also our LAST ever night-shoot, at least on this project. Totally understand why everybody complains about them now. A pain in the ass to set up, cold, hard to light and photograph... A whole slew of new problems.

I'm going to eschew my traditional format in favor of just letting some pictures do the talking. I will give you a little back-story first, though. We have a scene in the Nick Chopper flashback where we see the old woman making her deal with the Wicked Witch of the East. Since the flashbacks are all location we knew this would have to be too, but we struggled with the where.

One day a couple weeks ago I was driving out to an appointment I had down here, and not being a local I had my GPS guiding me. It took me a weird route and along the way I saw this amazing cemetery on a hill, with a bunch of great dead oak trees in a circle at the top. I thought, "man, that would be an excellent place to shoot a movie," but I never thought it would be ours until we were spitballing places to film this sequence.

Sean and I met Marie, our resident witch actress and make-up survivor, at Norm's around five o'clock. She got into costume and then he got her all made-up, and we headed out to the location. Which we DID secure permission to film in, by the way. We weren't about to guerrilla a graveyard. We also brought with us a few extra goodies Norm had prepared earlier.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Top o' the Hat To Ya!

Today saw some additional green-screen photography, though of material less necessary than the Dorothy/Toto interaction. Indeed, this was for footage we already had in the can, as we reshot Oscar Diggs' final scene.

A few weeks prior to filming with Curt Rose in November we had ordered a fancy top-hat online, for use as part of his costuming. What we neglected to take notice of was that the company was located in the UK and shipping times were vaguely horrifying. Which meant the hat failed to arrive in time for our Oz shoot. Not sure about a reshoot situation with Curt, we went ahead and shot the scene without this element. We were never satisfied about the scene's lacking in top-hat, however, so it always lingered at the back of our minds. Fortunately, Curt was agreeable to a reshoot. Which is kind of a big deal, because he had to shave his face and head all over again.

Not that the look doesn't suit him.
Guy came through, and today we managed to capture a little extra bit of texture for the film. It's a small, seemingly unimportant detail, but it adds a great deal to the movie for us. For one, it breaks up the monotony of Oz's wardrobe and adds to his general facade in his farewell of the Emerald City. For two, it's an additional piece of Denslow that we were missing.

For three, it's damn classy.
After we finished with the reshoot of his farewell, we also captured a few safety elements of Curt to grease the edit if necessary, like we've done with all other characters. As we were doing a time-sensitive location shoot outside after we finished with Curt the first time, we were never able to capture those previously. Once that was finished we shot one other little non-Oscar piece on the green-screen, since we were there and had the time.

And the gingivitis.
More on that as it develops...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


And today we were back in the green. Screen. Room. Which was... okay. Turns out sets are way more fun. Locations not as much, with the weather and the noise. But I digress. Once more we have a unit rented at Storage 2000 with our green-screen set up within, and today we captured some small pieces that the film had been sorely lacking.

When we filmed with Mare in 2009, we couldn't get ourselves a Toto. We tried to track one down before we finished filming Dorothy, but to no avail. We were only able to locate one Cairn, and its owners didn't understand the extremely low budget nature of the film and requested that a ridiculous contract be drawn up. We politely declined and instead gave Mare a green stand-in to handle, keeping physical interactions between Dorothy and Toto to an absolute minimum.

Because you can't get this out of a styrofoam ball.
Our regular readers (if such a thing can exist here) will know that last year we found and filmed the perfect Toto; Wiley. We spent a day getting all his green-screen shots, and his owner Glenda has brought him out for two of our location shoots so we could have Toto present with minimal hassle. Today we brought him, and our Dorothy stand-in Carrie Minter, over to the green-screen for one last round of photography.

Carrie's an 18-year-old Marine, but she's tiny, actually probably a little smaller than Mare was in 2009. She's been our stand-in for certain pieces of our Kansas shoots, as you can see in this video and will see more of later. This was the first time we've had her on the green-screen, to get some shots that we've needed for four years.

Only one of these two has multiple close-ups in the movie. Hint: It's the one with the chauffer.
Mostly the day consisted of Carrie holding Wiley under her arm from various angles. There were a few specific actions that we needed to get from him though, like him struggling and then jumping out of her arms. You know what that was for. Wiley was a trooper and we got everything we needed to fill in our little gaps. Then we stepped outside and grabbed a couple more pieces.

First we got some foot shots of Dorothy that also featured Toto, then Wiley took off and we snagged a few more with just Carrie. I had six shots from early in Dorothy's adventures of Oz that were close-ups of her feet in the grass, and the prospect of handling them in CGI was making Drew feel like crying. Exact quote. So we reshot all those in the grass outside the storage unit. So. Magical.

It's like something out of a fairytale.
And that's all she wrote. Or he, all he wrote. Stop mixing your genders up, Clayton. It was a short day, but we accomplished everything we needed to and are officially finished with Carrie and Wiley. And actually Dorothy and Toto, by extension.