So, when we were filming the short film on Monday, we went to a location that made me think.
If I have any fellow film makers our there, you will understand the difficulty you can come across when trying to get a location. Some times people can be really rude about it, act weird around you, or charge WAY too much. (But honestly, how many times in their life are they asked those types of questions.)
Well, for this short film we have been making for the past couple of months, we had to find a place to film at night. The location had to look like a store one would get mugged at. If you live where we do those places aren’t too hard to find. However, for the safety of our cast and crew, we wanted to find a place that looked like that, but wasn’t. Sort of a false backdrop
I was pondering over this for some time. I had to go through several ideal places, and in the end I decided to use a gas station that I knew of. It was a really small town style place, and I had been going there for years with family and friends. But to be honest, my only real relation with the place was me walking inside and handing the employee some money, then pumping gas and leaving.
So, after I came to the conclusion that we should use this place, I also decided that I should wait to ask if we could film there when we arrived on set to shoot the scene.
Now before you tell me what a stupid idea that was, let me explain why. When you don’t have a hired Producer, you have hardly any budget left, and you are trying to get a location for free, you shouldn’t let the owner have too much time to think it over. Like I said, these people don’t get asked to have their shop used as a movie set very often. They probably didn’t even know how that kind of stuff worked. In my history, when you are dealing with people like that, they usually say yes right off the bat. Honestly, who would pass that opportunity up? Also, if they seem a little hesitant, you can use the “I’m a film student” card if you are one! (I don’t condone lying) Also, if you give them too much time to think it over, they might think, “Hey, I could make them pay to use this place!” Which is what we were trying to avoid!
But back to the story. So, after a long day of driving around the city filming, I began to feel really sick. Not sure why. Probably the fact that the only thing in my stomach was soda and coffee. Then on top of that, it started to rain, which is NOT ideal for a camera. So, at that point the last thing I wanted to do was ask some gas station owner if we could shoot a sketchy scene in their parking lot.
When we did get there, I should have understood that this place wasn’t safe when my 1st AD, who I was riding with, asked me “Where the heck is the entrance to this place?” Honestly it was the first time I noticed that there was no turn in. It was more of a “make your own entrance” type pf place.
When we parked, the We found out (via text) that one of our actors, Jon was already there. We were also counting on my brother, who was helping out with sound, to be there. However, he wasn’t.
When we got out of the car, the 1st AD said that he had to go to the bathroom before we start shooting, that was when I had to tell him that we also had to get permission while we were inside. The crew that was with us at the time, seemed rather mad. I was just glad that they didn’t just drive off and leave me.
As we were walking to the front door, I gave a quick look around to see if I could spot Jon, or my brother. Nothing. When we went inside, it was the first time I had ever been there at night. That was when I found out, this was not a safe place.
You all know how some places you just breath in evil. Well, this place was pretty close to that. When my 1st AD asked me where the bathroom was, I remembered. The bathroom was down this winding hallway, where you had to walk through a few different rooms to even get to it. And when you got there, the door wouldn’t lock.
Instead of telling him, “Oh it’s that way.” I said something like “Oh it’s that way, good luck.”
After he left, I called my brother, not sure if he was actually here or not. When the phone rang, but he didn’t answer, I was sure that he was un someones trunk. Jon was probably being stabbed somewhere, and my 1st AD was probably being pulled through the bathroom window. But none of that happened, and we were still alive. But my crew let me know that this was not a place they wanted to be at. (Sorry for making you guys go there)
In the end, the people wouldn’t even let us use the location. I know right! But we decided to use a local dump to shoot the scene at. And while it took a bit longer, and we were directly under the rain, I feel that we got better footage than we would have at the gas station.
My point is, maybe we can take a look at this story from a moral point of view. We originally planned to film at a place that I thought was safe for my cast and crew to be at. But honestly, I knew nothing about that place. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
instead we ended up at another location, that proved to be WAY safer, and more ideal. If I had taken the time to figure that out, we would never have had any trouble. In the end, it is worth it to put your best into everything.
Thanks to all who have been helping with this film so far!