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.
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.
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.