Long days begin

Last Thursday was an exhausting but productive day. I got some great location scouting done with Toshio, and some more low-light test footage + location work done with Ivan in the evening. During the day, we mostly ran around Akihabara Electric Town trying to line up permission to shoot what we need there, and then hunted around Kanda for good external locations for the character’s house. Shooting permission for where we want to shoot is not at all easy to get. The vendors are incredibly leery of film productions of all stripes, so mostly the people we spoke to just kicked the can and told us we needed permission from somebody higher up. Toshio did a fantastic job presenting our requests and following the leads to the various dodgy shachos. We got a few maybes, a few don’t cares, a very few yeses, and a few nos.

Our luck turned better when we started banging on the doors of ordinary homeowners in Kanda district. Strangely enough, people seemed more flattered than freaked out that we wanted to use their housefronts and entryways in our movie. Everybody we talked to, about 4 in all I think, gave us at least qualified permission to shoot their house. The one pictured above is the one I most want to use, but the permission didn’t come with any particular promises, and these people were the least eager to have us tramping around their doorway taking pictures. Hopefully they’ll be around on the 25th, when I want to shoot these scenes.

Toshio noticed that the transformer substation happens to be directly across the street from Ghibli Studios. That was amusing. I’d never even noticed. Sure enough, peeking in the window I could see a roomful of computers and animators working hard on whatever it is they’re doing next.

The transformer substation is great, but A) it’s surrounded by a high wall and I need to imply that the robot dog gets
into it. So I’m not entirely sure exactly how to do that. And B) although it’s lit at night and the Red Epic is an awesome freaking machine, it’s still too dark in areas for me to get all the shots I want too using only natural night-time light. So both of those issues I’ve got to deal with. I’m leaning towards using some CG to chip a little hole in the wall and shooting the scene day-for-night to get everything sufficiently illuminated. I’m not sure there are any other realistic possibilities.

Man, the scheduling is knocking me out! So many factors. Everybody’s busy, and slotting everybody in on the days they can make it along with the other people who need to be there on the same days is crazy.  The dog needs to wait until after 4:00 so as not to get overheated in the weather during the day, and the lead actor is knocking off that day at 4:30. One sound guy is available only weekends, but all the other scheduling constraints are forcing the sound-intensive shots into the middle of the week. I’m not really used to all this. Obviously, with the stuff I can do alone on my computer, like CG and writing, it’s not an issue at all. But even in my live-action filming experience, the projects I’ve been involved in have usually been small enough that only a very small number of people had to be available at any given time, and locations were mostly limited to places where we had total freedom, like our own apartments. This is definitely a notch up from all that. Everybody’s been incredibly cooperative, but making everything fit together in the space of 8 days is turning out to be close to impossible. Fortunately, I’ve got some really good people helping me.

Actually, I think it will be impossible. I’m pretty sure there will be about a weekend’s worth of shots that will need to be picked up later. I’m mainly trying to schedule it all so that those shots are forgiving in terms of continuity. Nothing that needs matching weather, nothing that needs the house, nothing that needs… Good grief. I don’t even know.

Whatever. I’ll get this thing shot one way or another.


One Response to “Long days begin”

  1. […] now unexpectedly become a period piece. When we shot there last summer, our biggest concern was our failure to secure permission. The place has always been notoriously unwelcoming for film crews. We spent an afternoon shooting […]

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