Day 4 of Filming Uncovering Eden – That’s A Wrap!

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Everyone arrived at the Clark Household around 8:30am to unload equipment and set up our first scene of the day.

Thankfully we would be in one location for the duration filming. Since I practically grew up at the Clark’s house to hang out with their son, Ricky, alongside Kevin – the wildcard of the crew – I knew this would be fun. In fact, Kevin and I planned to feed everyone with a barbeque halfway through the day.

Who doesn’t like making movies and barbequing? Exactly.

Our first shot was set up in a small bedroom, which would serve as Edie’s Grandmother’s room. When I say it was small… I mean really small. Our crew could barely fit a 6×6 bounce and still maneuver actors and our cinematographer, Jason, to get our shot. Yet, the room looked right for the film and we made it work like the resourceful indie filmmakers that we all are.

After we wrapped the bedroom, I had to get my scene break down chart – oh, how I love spread sheets now – from the car and immediately ran into our marketing specialist, Toro, who ended up giving the cast and crew lovely goodie bags with ‘Uncovering Eden’ painted on each canvas. It was looking to be a good day, but I was a bit behind schedule and needed to keep moving.

Day 4 of filming only involved characters Edie and Gran, so for my next scene I had Victoria Pedretti and April Woodall staged in the dining area.

In this scene, Edie’s grandmother is telling Edie a little bit about her family. It’s an intimate moment and I wanted the audience to feel like they were stepping into the scene or as if something was being revealed. Camera movement is just as much a part of the story telling as the script, the acting and the editing. That said, I had Jason set up the slider to bring the shot – the audience – into the room with our characters. We then took a number of medium and close up range shots. The effect will add dimension to both the scene and our final edit.

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Next we filmed in the living room, where we see Edie working on some homework on the couch. Edie’s grandmother is heard speaking from the other room until she comes into frame. We did a few focus pull shots on Gran and proceeded to film a few medium shots with the 32mm lens.

Did I mention that we were filming with Cooke S4 lenses? They make everything look gorgeous.

Our next set up took place in the kitchen and the scene we were about to film would perhaps be one of the most important in the entire script. Jason initially lit the kitchen with some beautiful soft light, but though it was lovely, it wasn’t dark enough for the mood we needed to create. In this scene an argument takes place and it is the only moment in the script with real straightforward, back-and-forth dialogue. It’s the catalyst moment of the entire story of ‘Uncovering Eden’ and I knew bright and happy lighting wouldn’t cut it. Jason, being the lighting genius that he is, used some negative fill and created the atmosphere we needed. He would later tell me that one of the best directions I gave him, as a director, was to “go darker”. I also wanted some refrigerator glow for when Edie opened the door, but the light inside the fridge wasn’t bright enough. Kevin had the brilliant idea to stick one of our LED Light Panels in the fridge – it worked wonders.

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Our final scenes of filming would be emotionally draining for Victoria because of the kind of performance involved. I had Jason film from a lot of interesting angles and Ryan and Erik – our awesome sound guys – were more like ninjas with the boom pole.

The last shot of the day was bitter sweet for me… I felt like I must have missed a scene or there had to be something else I needed to do right away. The whirlwind since the success of my Kickstarter campaign in July to getting to direct the film I wrote all the way back in January, felt unreal. I was numb, sad and elated all at once.

When we finally wrapped, everyone went outside to the Clark’s deck and Kevin attached a contour camera to one of the bottles of champagne he bought for the occasion – hilarity ensued. I discovered that I am terrible at opening champagne bottles and the Clark’s dog, Daisy, is the cutest menace I’ve ever encountered – there’s a ridiculous photo of her biting at Ryan’s ankle in the group photo of the crew.

Day 4 was a success and I couldn’t be more thankful for all of the amazing people who worked on this film with me and for the backers who contributed to our project. I had a blast filming ‘Uncovering Eden’ and it solidified even more that directing is my calling and it is what I want to do for the rest of my life.

That’s a wrap!!

….Post production starts now.

Remember to check out the Facebook Page and Twitter for more behind the scenes info!

chelsealogotrans

ChelseaLupkin.com

Day 3 of Filming Uncovering Eden

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Cast and crew had to be at the Blue Fountain Diner on August 10th at 3:00am for filming. I had picked up our cinematographer, Jason Krangel, and actor, Marrick Smith at the train station the night before. When I arrived with actress Victoria Pedretti on set, crewmembers were parked around the parking lot. Erik Kristiansen was sleeping in his car, Chaz Boyd couldn’t have looked grumpier and Ryan Hansen was ready to work.

As soon as Kevin Johnsrud and Jason showed up, we began moving equipment inside the diner.  The owner of the Blue Fountain couldn’t have been nicer about letting us film there and she let everyone who was staffed for the evening know we were coming. They were equally as accommodating and let us set up our big lights and bounce boards with no complaints.

When I was writing the script for Uncovering Eden, I actually imagined the Blue Fountain Diner. When I was little, my parents took me and my sister to this place and I had continued coming to the Blue Fountain throughout the years. It’s a classic looking diner, with mauve colored booths, big windows and blinds, a counter with a cashier station and cookies. The back of the diner has bar seating and behind the counter is lined with cakes and pies, ready to order. The entire place is lit with small glass chandeliers hung over each booth and it worked wonders for our scene.

I never thought that the owner would actually agree to let us film in the diner, so I had arranged other locations. However, when I told Victoria about where we would film in its place, she told me I should at least ask the Blue Fountain – I had shied away from it completely.

A few weeks before filming – sometime during my Kickstarter Campaign – I got up the courage to ask the owner, a wonderful woman named Nancy, who not only agreed to let us film there, but also warmly told me about how she let another filmmaker do the same thing. I left feeling like I won a small victory.

Once I began blocking out the scene for Marrick and Victoria as Darren and Edie, things began to run according to plan. The only real hiccup was a woman who stopped by the counter to talk to the manager for 10 minutes and whose voice carried very loudly. With a little encouragement from Jason, I politely asked her if she could quiet down just for a few minutes so we could begin filming our scene.

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We began with Edie and Darren’s entrance into the diner, hanging out past curfew. This is the moment in the story that Edie has picked a side and not necessarily for the better – but that’s all I will say for now.

We were filming for about 2 hours – setting up the lights was very time consuming. When we wrapped the scene, all of our cast and crew naturally got breakfast at the diner before heading to our second location.

A good friend of Kevin and mine, George Daniello, let us film outside of his house for the scene in front of ‘Darren’s house’. We were there for about an hour and a half and got some amazing shots. I’m a big fan of handheld camera work because I think it has the potential to create tension in a story. Of course, when this is overused, I get annoyed, but Jason made it work.

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At 8:30am, Marrick was completely wrapped. He discovered the extra sparklers in my car and did a very weird dance for our behind the scenes camera…

… And then chased me down the street with the sparklers. I think he may have attempted to light my hair on fire.

After we all parted ways, everyone slept until we had to meet up to film at 6:00pm for another scene in which Edie runs down a street.

For the lighting, Kevin and Jason rigged what looked like a Toyota pirate ship out of two LED light panels and a giant bounce board covered with unbleached muslin. Jason would film out of the back of the SUV’s trunk… but to anyone else, we just looked like a glowing pirate ship in the night. The neighbors down the street thought it was fantastic.

Poor Victoria got quite a workout from all of her running, but even she thought this scene was a lot of fun to film.

Day 4 would thankfully be in one location and a lot easier to film.

Remember to check out the Facebook Page and Twitter for more behind the scenes info!

chelsealogotrans

ChelseaLupkin.com

Day 2 of Filming Uncovering Eden

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At 5:00am I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I knew that this was the biggest day of filming because of how many people would be involved in the shoot.

Thankfully my Assistant Director, Toro Adeyemi, showed up at the apartment at 12:30am to help me the following day… and to rag on me in any way possible because she’s my close friend and I lived with her for 3 horrible years.

We arrived at a local private school and was let in by an amazing employee, coincidently named Darren, who stayed with us all day as we worked with about 20 or so extras plus our cast and crew.

The first scene we shot was in the hallway of the school lined with blue lockers and amidst fellow students. I kept my ensemble cast in a holding room until I was ready to bring them to set to start choreographing them. Once I blocked out my lead actors, Victoria, Marrick, David and Julia, I had my AD bring down groups of students at a time. In order to make this work, I needed to make sure that everyone knew where they were going to end up: some starting down the hall and walking to a classroom, others grabbing books by their lockers and mingling with classmates.

After my cinematographer, Jason, and I framed up the shot, piecing together how the ensemble would interact with others came together with a few run-throughs.

We had two hallway scenes to work out, one that is early on in the story and another leading up to the climax.

The second hallway scene actually leads into another shot in a classroom. With the jib, Jason and I were able to connect these two scenes with some amazing movement. I think our entire crew would agree that the shot where we follow Edie from the door all the way to her seat is pretty amazing, visually.

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After that, we headed to a small library on location where we see Edie interacting with June, Chad and Darren. We also get to see how mean June is to other students… for a 16-year-old, Julia Sismour blew me away with her acting ability. She is completely captivating to watch and plays to June’s cruel nature. The way that David Laws plays Chad is equally impressive. Chad is June’s right hand man and needed to be very loud in character with not many lines. I chose David because he is excellent at adding little touches to his characters to bring them to life… in this case, his body language and the presence of a hair comb as his prop is pretty fascinating to watch… Trust me, you will understand when you see the film.

Marrick and Victoria’s on-screen chemistry felt so real that some of our crew couldn’t figure out if they were rehearsing or flirting with each other. Either way, they looked great on camera, even for some of our darkest scenes. Both Victoria and Marrick are actors who ask many questions about their characters in order to truly become them. Victoria is wonderful at putting herself emotionally into a scene and channeling inner struggle. I am very glad that I chose them to play these roles.

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Our last scene of the day was on a school’s unused baseball field. Originally we were going to have this scene on some school bleachers, but couldn’t get permission to use any. If there is one thing I’ve learned about filmmaking, it’s always to have a Plan B. In this case, the baseball field actually worked out better visually and we were all very happy at how it turned out.

I find that as a filmmaker, I can’t always get the perfect location, but there is always a way to make it work. In fact, I didn’t have a location for the school until a week or so before we needed to film. I had contacted about 15-20 schools and people either didn’t get back to me, said no, or it was too expensive to use.

…Remember, there is always a way to make a scene work!

That said, I can’t wait for this weekend to film the rest of my story and I will be posting more behind the scenes photos on our Facebook Page and Twitter.

chelsealogotrans

ChelseaLupkin.com

Day 1 of Filming Uncovering Eden

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On Saturday, August 3rd, I drove to the train station to pick up Uncovering Eden’s cinematographer, Jason Krangel, and cast members Marrick Smith and David Laws.

I had been waiting for about five minutes when suddenly I heard a bang on the hood of my car and loud laughter coming from my aforementioned actors. They clearly had the uncontrollable need to scare the wits out of me… Clowns.

I took them over to the Johnsrud home to meet the rest of our amazing cast, Victoria Pedretti and April Woodall, and crewmembers Michael Russo, Kevin Johnsrud, and Chaz Boyd. (Erik Kristiansen, Toro Adeyemi and Ryan Hansen would complete our crew the following day!)

They bonded almost instantly and I felt a sense of pride for picking everyone involved in this project. The one rule that I follow when making a film is ‘always choose people that work well together’. Having a good vibe on set with a small crew is paramount in creating a successful project.

Once all the cars were loaded with our camera and lighting equipment and the actors were prepped, we headed out to our first location: a small, privately owned grocery store named Centre Fruit Gourmet. In all honesty, I think the owner allowed us to film there not just because he is ridiculously nice, but because my dad regularly buys their eggplant salad on a weekly basis.

Setting up our gear and establishing our lights was a breeze, courtesy of Jason and Mike, and we were ready to film within half an hour.

This was the first time that the cast worked together in front of the camera and it is literally the only scene that they would all be in. Whatever worries I had were quickly diminished as soon as I called ‘action’. It was like I wasn’t looking at Victoria, Marrick, Julia, David and April… I was watching Edie, Darren, June, Chad and Edie’s Grandmother in the grocery aisle… the scene that took place felt real to me in a way that I only imagined while writing the script. Seeing it on the little monitor of the RED Camera and even just watching them all interact was a director’s dream come true.

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In this scene, the cool kids interact with Edie, while her grandmother is blissfully unaware. Darren, played by Marrick, is starry eyed as he says hello to Edie, bumping into the aisle as he passes, while June, played by Julia, cattily assesses the situation. Chad, David’s character, delivers the blow that hurt’s Edie’s feelings. All in all, everyone took direction well and brought this scene to life.

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David and Julia clowning around on set…. they claimed they were ‘staying in character’. Haha

After a much needed lunch break of beer and pizza, (for everyone except Victoria and Julia who are 18 and 16 years old), we headed out to a public park for magic hour.

The scene we shot was with everyone having fun with some sparklers… I don’t want to give too much away, but this scene is juxtaposed with a very climactic moment later in the film.

We ended up using the Jib for most of these shots and Mike and Kevin kept running back and forth between the actors so they always had a lit sparkler… it was extremely chaotic and a huge amount of fun!

I was afraid we would be caught at some point with all of the smoke we were making and in about 30 minutes, we saw lights in the distance by the park’s patrol…

…Who then decided we could have a few more minutes because they thought it was very cool that we were making a movie and even asked if they could be in it. HA!

15 minutes later, we were told we had to leave because if police caught us there after dark, we would be slapped with a hefty fine. The patrol explained we actually needed a permit to film in the park… cough cough… and were nice enough to stick around until we left so we wouldn’t get in trouble.

I couldn’t have asked for a smoother first day of filming and I can’t believe how nice people were to my cast and crew.

… Day 2 was even better.

Check out more photos and behind the scene material on our Facebook Page and Twitter.

chelsealogotrans

ChelseaLupkin.com