If you’ve been following us on Twitter or Facebook, you may have already heard of the film Bad People. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it’s written and directed by a founding member of our team, creative genius, Doug Wicker. Though this isn’t technically a Dead End Films production, we are extremely supportive of and excited about this project.
Doug recently wrapped up shooting Bad People, and we thought it would be cool to share his production diaries with you, to give you an idea of what goes into producing an independent film.
Today was the first day. I woke up strangely less anxious than I have in the past on first days of shooting. Stranger more so because this is my first feature film. I always imagined myself as disheveled and rattled that first morning. Probably easier knowing I had work to focus on.
Call time for crew was 6AM. I was up at 5 loading gear. By 5:30. I stopped by a gas station and got everyone donuts for our first day. We’re shooting on such a tiny budget that all of these expenses are out of my pocket, and should be something I do sparingly as opposed to doing it arbitrarily. More importantly, I wanted to cherish that first morning. It sets the tone for the rest of the shoot.
I have 3 guys on my crew other than me for this day; Brett Shelton, who has worked on damn near everything I have made since 2011, and knows me backwards and forward. We’ve done so much work together that we compliment each other as a unit. There would be a certain emptiness of he weren’t here for this.
There’s Dave Hafley, who actually acted in one of my very first short films, comes from a music background and I’ve helped get his foot in the door with production work for MTV. So thank you to MTV for training him for our movie!
The new guy, Joshua Aaron Brown, who is Dave’s friend, is a really relaxed guy, and has picked a hell of a show to come in on for his first film.
Then there’s, Jason Morris, a filmmaker who I had done some writing with and gotten to know over the last few years. He was one of the first people I sent the script to look over. I just wanted his feedback, but he was sold on the movie. He wanted to make sure it got made. And though he’s not on set, he has been here step-by-step the whole way and has helped build the path to get here substantially. He’s picked me up so many times from the gutter. (In case you don’t know a filmmaker; we are manic people. We will experience the sorts of highs and lows people usually reserve for marriages and divorces in a week.)
Jason has been serving as a production manager and wearing a thousand hats like the rest of us to make this movie. One of the unsung duties that he is doing is the scheduling, which I will say he has worked like a snake song to allow us time to shoot within this frighteningly confined time limit.
The heat index has been cracking 100 degrees for the last few weeks and we’ve come into a series of thunderstorms sprouting up throughout the last few days. First day was all interiors, so no A/C because we didn’t want to blow the audio recordings.
The flashback to the heist was the first thing shot EARLY in the morning, which we pushed the warm morning sun with an orange gel to help with later continuity in the lighting.
Next was Lydia Hardy’s first scene, where she talks on the phone to her husband, played by Ray Wood. Possibly the easiest sequence of the whole film I imagine, but she brought a charming performance to the table. The growth she has brought to the character from the last script read to this moment is remarkable.
We shot some of the aftermath of her visit from Johnny Barton, which was more frantic and less controlled as far as camera movement. We got to try some things out.
Then we had lunch. My lovely girlfriend, Stephanie, brought us chips and some deli sandwiches…and cupcakes. So, we were spoiled. Thank you, Stephanie.
Next up was Johnny killing Lydia’s buzz with his hard-nosed detective skills. By this point the light had gotten behind the house and we had to push the front more to match earlier in the scene. We brought the ambient light levels up by throwing a large reflector on the floor in front of the back patio doors. It helped tremendously.
I struggled to find a frame for the two-shot of the two that I liked so I tried to find the one that best told the story from there.
We ended up wrapping on time and with that, Day 1 was in the bag.
We’ll be posting more of Doug’s entries from Bad People in the days to come, so be sure to come back for more!