This past weekend, June 8-9-10, myself and director Adnan shot the first scene of Umm Zakiyyah’s novel “If I Should Speak”. I am extremely honoured and proud to have worked with him. Initially I was brought on board as a Casting Director, but then I ended up more involved behind the scenes and earned myself the Producer credit. Considering we’re in the independent scene of filmmaking, that’s just a credit. Ultimately, we’re all a team collaborating on a project. Credits are just credits (at this level anyway).
Although it was a small production, the end result can EASILY be compared with Hollywood productions. Shot on the Red Epic in 5k resolution on 2x anamorphic lenses, the footage looks well lit by our DP Hamid, who was sincerely amazing to work with. Thanks for all your patience bro! As for the shots themselves, director Adnan made sure the shots are very cinematic, despite the time constrain. We also had a fantastic focus puller, Thanalee Pelle, who’s not just a talented camera assistant, but also great to work with. We worked with a dolly, jib and other equipment that I don’t know the names of and manage to get some AMAZING shots with only 14 hours a day. Not to mention our talented cast: Alysa King, Jaicyea Smith and Sydney Kondruss who were all pure talent. We also had a cameo appearance by our make-up artist Rose, who gave an Oscar performance delivering the one-liner: “I better going” lollll (funniest thing ever, I hope that makes it in the final cut lol)
However, considering we shot in someone’s apartment, there is the obvious time restriction. But, I did have some challenges on set. One actress in particular cancelled on me last minute because she had too much going on and it wasn’t worth her time to come on set for only one line. What the… ??!! What professional actor does that?? Thanks to Rose, who replaced her last minute. Then there was bumps schedule. Unfortunately for me, I was in the middle. I had to make sure that the girls can leave at the desired time without overworking them and that Adnan gets all his shots, which took a while to set up. We got most of the shots. Had we had no time restrictions, we could have gotten all the shots. Regardless, I am very proud and happy of the outcome. Everyone was very understanding and the footage is beyond “good demo reel”.
But I think there’s something to keep in mind in regards to schedules. We all have personal lives outside the film biz, but it’s important to understand the dedication and sacrifice it takes to be in this field, never mind succeeding in it. If superstar Rihana shoots for 17 hours a day on a Hollywood set, I think an actor in the independent industry should be willing and able to stay 18, if not 19 or 20 hours on set. We’re all humans, and I do not want to promote overworking actors (I’m an actor myself) but I do want to point out out that it helps the production by a lot to be understanding and to expect to be behind the schedule. Per example, when I shot Searching For Angels, and I wish all of you a better experience in the future lol, the average shooting day went for 20 hours a day (for the main cast and crew). That film was made on blood, sweat and tears and it looks like a million dollar picture. Because everyone put their heart and soul into it. It takes the entire team to be dedicated for that to happen. Luckily for me, I had a very dedicated crew and an understanding and talented cast, which put their heart into it. Consequently, the footage looks incredible. (Don’t worry folks, once Spielberg gives me the OK, we’ll on a better set).
I can say I tried my best to please everyone. From schedule to food and comfort, it was a very smooth shoot. Catering was better than what I got on my last 3-4 shoots lol. Comfort wise, the actors had their own room with AC (thanks Hamid) and everyone was a pleasure to work with (aka no beef). Now let’s hope the investors like it so that we can make the full feature 🙂
Check pictures below from behind-the-scenes, with the cast and crew in action, as well as some screen-shots.
Let me know what you think of the shoot? What are your thoughts on this? Feel free to post any questions, I’d be happy to answer.
Special thanks goes to Sydney, Rose, Hamid!