Aloud, Angus Barlow, Beni Harper, Boo Radley's, cinematography, filming, Jen Neales, L&S Productions, Laura Vincent, location, Michael Jari Davidson, Mike Vitorovich, PJ Hammond, Shannon McDonough, Tina McCulloch
Day 2 of the shoot was on Wednesday, July 15. As with Day 1, it took a while to get the first shot of the day – it was 10:35. We started at the back of the café, with a close-up of Suzanne (Jen Neales) on page 11 of the script. (Remember, we shot 8 pages yesterday!) At one point, she coughed during a take, and after the cut, camera assistant Angus Barlow put his hand under Jen’s chin and ordered, “Spit!”
Throughout both days, The Coffee Shop placed a chalkboard on the steps outside, with a notice “Filming in Progress”, and below it a large coloured sign from L&S Productions explaining that the café would be closed.
A surprising number of people either ignored it or failed to read it, and tried to come in anyway. One interruption was a trio of young kids, who begged to use the bathroom. “Bathroom emergency!” joked cinematographer Michael Jari Davidson. “I don’t care about your movie!”
One of the extras, Marinka Yossifon, who played a café customer working on her laptop, brought her husband Charlie Herrera on Day 2. It was a dream of his to hold a boom, so sound recordist Beni Harper took Charlie under his wing, and gave him a crash course in being a Boom Operator! Charlie also played a café customer in the very last shot.
Aloud was shot mostly in sequence, but some was out of order, depending on lighting conditions. The final shot of the film was done around 1:30pm – MJD wore Beni’s harness and sat in a wheeled office chair. Angus pulled him backwards in a gorgeous dolly-back shot that took in Laurie and Suzanne amid the life of the café, including new customers arriving – Naomi Priddle Hunter (who played Laurie’s Subconscious in the stage version of the script), and Mike Vitorovich, an actor who’s the real-life fiancé of Laura Vincent (Kai). The shot was so beautiful that writer/producer Tina McCulloch dissolved into happy tears.
There were 5 takes of that shot. Just before take #4, the café’s phone rang. Several actors couldn’t figure out how to answer it – confused by the old technology? Finally, Beni saved the day. “Let the sound guy handle it,” he declared, and unplugged the receiver!
Lunch today was ordered from Boo Radley’s, a restaurant/bar a few blocks east on Dupont Street, and delivered by the owner. Yesterday’s humidity had dissipated, so some cast and crew took advantage of the sunshine to sit outside on The Coffee Shop’s benches and Muskoka chairs while we ate.
Back on set, director/producer PJ Hammond had Laura Vincent ad-lib some lines out loud for the moment when Kai urges Laurie (Shannon McDonough) to approach Suzanne. One of the takes was deliciously profane, and everyone burst out laughing when PJ called “cut”. She wants to use that one – without sound – but “I’d love it if someone can lip-read that!”
Camera assistant Angus Barlow (who did the slating for most takes – Mike Vito did some today) had his moment on-camera as Customer #3, who displaces Laurie and Suzanne from the lineup. In a little moment that took an awful lot of careful blocking and the most number of takes in the whole film, PJ directed Angus and extra Suzanne Courtney to barge through the handshake-that-doesn’t-happen between Laurie and Suzanne. There were a lot of similar names on this set – two Suzannes, Laura/Laurie, Michael/Mike, Angus/Agnes, Carina/Davida/Devon… And when Mike Vito showed up today, he was wearing a purple T-shirt and khaki cargo shorts, just like Shannon’s costume!
The shoot wrapped at 5:45pm, except Shannon and Jen, who did their voiceover recording with Beni holding the boom.
The recording was done, the location tidied, furniture restored to original placement, and a happy crew strolled over to Boo Radley’s for some beers by 8:45: PJ, Tina, Beni, Angus, Shannon, Naomi , and makeup artist Davida Gragor.
What a fantastic experience! And the learning curve continues: next is post-production, and marketing and distribution…
RANDOM QUOTES FROM THE DAY:
TINA: “Jen, how’s the cookie placement?”
SHANNON: “I’d just like to point out that you’re asking the blind chick.”
“Am I in the shot?” (No) “OK, I’m gonna eat a cheese stick” – extra Devon Hubka, as a café customer working on her laptop.
“Devon – put on some pants!” – Tina, whenever Devon was going to be in the shot. (Devon changed into comfy leggings and flip-flops whenever possible)
“I’ve been sitting on Scarlett Johansson’s face!” – Shannon, discovering the top cover of the stack of magazines she’d been perched on for a mirror shot.
“I totally wrote Kai’s subtext. Did anyone else get ‘Fuckin’ pussy’?” – PJ to the room, asking about a moment when Kai silently urges the reluctant Laurie to approach Suzanne.
“I’m taking off my underwear and sitting on a vent.” – Shannon, feeling the heat.
“We have talent!” – PJ to the room, after Shannon had her makeup touched up and returned. “Well, some us – not naming any names.”