Yeah, we're a little behind posting. A bunch of 15 hour days in a row'll do that to you. We'll catch up.
Rollout -- 11:00 am
On today's schedule, the Frank Gehry designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park is the background for a couple menacing phone calls and escapes.
There are two problems -- well more than two, but two that haunt you continually rather than just jumping out and kneecapping you at random -- with shooting outdoors. Weather and daylight. If you're shooting outside and it's raining, you are SOL, kiddos. The soul-deadening same-ness of the Los Angeles climate is one of the reasons the film and television industry wound up based there. Constant light and rain-free weeks at a time of 76 degrees make a shooting schedule happy.
The weather on this pilot is not only excellent but confounding. Chicago continues to toss freakishly warm weather at us on our outside days.
The insatiable, unstoppable bitch goddess daylight, on the other hand, is our issue today. As mentioned, productions must give X number of hours off each night for turnaround, before you can have the crew and actors back on the set. Up to this point, going a bit late each night is easily compensated by just pushing call an hour or so every day. The dominos, however, have brought us to a twelve noon call
But here, the cumulative effect is brutal. We're shooting outside, so we need as many hours of daylight as possible. However, pushing the call on the previous days have forced us to a twelve noon start. Ordinarily we'd have scheduled outside shooting early in the week to avoid this issue, but scheduling issues forced us into this arrangement. As a result the day starts at a full run. Tick tick tick, every delay, every time a tourist waves in the back of a shot, every time a camera battery goes down, every fire engine siren and hovering helicopter, precious daylight burns that just ain't coming back. Doesn't matter what your budget is, how much money you have to spend -- you can't buy daylight at an exterior location.
This is one of the little truisms I toss at younger TV writers who are not yet tired f my pedantic nature: "There's no reason to panic until you're burning daylight." Then, frikkin' PANIC.
What's particularly nasty in this location are the buildings in the background. You can light the hell out of people standing outside as evening hits, and after color correction and some futzing the scene will read as bright as noon. Problem is, after a certain hour the lights come on in the buildings in the background. See?
Once those are on, it's impossible to pull the trick. As bright as you make your scene, you can't hide those lights. Not to mention, none of the footage you shot earlier in the day will match. Often, even if you angle the shot low enough to dodge buildings, you still need to deal with the city's streetlights.
And Chicago's streetlights come on before sunset.
By the time magic hour creeps in, we are well and truly toast. We get almost everything, with the last missing piece easily transferred to another location. Skin of our teeth. Of course, moving that piece to another location creates headaches for the 1st AD as he makes the schedule. But that's his thrill.
Once dark hits, we break for lunch. (first meal's always called lunch, no matter the time) The company moves to a local Irish bar -- Chief O'Neill's Pub.
By the way, if I lived anywhere within a hundred miles of Chief O'Neill's pub, I would drink there every night. Just saying. The DP Dave Connell and I damn near wound up trying to buy the place.
Nearby is a theater where the team recruits its last member. Most of the actors are released for the night, leaving only Chris Kane to do his flashback sequence. The Irish bar doubles for a flashback moment, standing in for a seedy underground bar in Belgrade.
Add a couple Eurotrash ponytails and some nine mils, the atmosphere is complete. After a nice bit of cool-guy thrashing, the place is riged for a lighting effect. Standing outside in what is now a steady downpour, we watch as the lighting department wires the windows to create the illusion of interior gunfire. This is trickier than it sounds. How fast is gunfire? Too slow, it looks like nothing is happening. The last thing you want is desultory violence. Too fast and it's unbelieveable.
After we wrap, the owner gives us a pint. That'll hep me get to sleep, because I'm bloody wired and it is --
Roll-in -- 2:00 am