Hello Team.  It was a long day; everyone wanted to push through and we all made a democratic decision to keep going. We pulled almost a thirteen hour day. I could have gone all night! Everyone is really patient and wonderful and understanding and very kind and resolutely convivial. And good news: the Force was …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - Adventure: GOLDFISH - The Midpoint

Adventure: GOLDFISH – The Midpoint

Hello Team. 

It was a long day; everyone wanted to push through and we all made a democratic decision to keep going. We pulled almost a thirteen hour day. I could have gone all night! Everyone is really patient and wonderful and understanding and very kind and resolutely convivial. And good news: the Force was really with us today.


It was a long day, and our fifth day, and the crew all had some very very very big laughs together. It was a great morale builder, overall, for everyone.


Today we shot the CNE grounds, minus Maverick. IOW we shot everything on the CNE grounds up to the part when we Cut to the Dog on the bridge looking down at Ben. 


The last time we tried to shoot this picture, that earlier production’s Photography Director got one single shot of Ben crossing the windmill blade shadows cast on the grounds, as an afterthought. I liked it, a lot. 


Derek Barnes showed up and came over to look at the wind tower shadows cast on the ground, and was like, “Wow! What a unique fun image!,” and immediately — I mean, not even two minutes out of his truck — Derek scaled a one-story wall up onto a roof. I quickly clambered behind Derek. It was such a great idea! I have scoped out the shadows here quite a few times, over many seasons. It had never dawned on me to climb this industrial shed. Ultimately, Derek ended *way* further up a tree than I would have ever felt comfortable climbing — especially carrying a Canon DLSR. He’s a regular Tarzan. Maybe it’s just me, but… I thought the wide angle looking down on all the smaller newer trees looked quite aquarium-y. 


But there’s another Derek story today: the Midpoint, AKA, “Ben exits the building and enters the street to search for the Dog.”


I always just wanted a low angle from the street, UP at the stairs, so Ben can strut out like cool-cat don’t-panic Daniel Craig or Jason Bourne, and pose heroically while pocketing the Sign and the Picture, and hanging the Leash around his neck.


A low-angle gets the job done. You look up at David from a low-angle — that’s the reason it’s so tall. That’s how they used to make movies, believe it or not. Think about it. Movies have always existed, even before the Lumieres. 


So, instead Derek had a somewhat crazy idea to use his Ronin in a tracking profile shot. 


I was quite wary. We stepped it out a few times and then I’d heard enough, to express reservations.


Couldn’t we just do it from a low-angle?


That’s such a fun, ultra-heroic way to display this “boring shut-in” leaving.


Derek was sure it’d be fine to end in that low-angle.


Okay, I was really dubious, but certainly wanted to see the heck Derek was doing.


Well, remember, it’s the Midpoint.


So, that’s why it would be so great to get a low-angle, and something *heroic*.


I wasn’t feeling the side profile tracking shot at all. One bit.


Derek played it back on the camera.


Seriously, can you believe how awesome it is we have playback on cameras now?? I mean, what Michael Curtiz would have given. I bet you some of those monkeys might have given a paw — a *paw* — to have the filmmaking tools that exist today. Literally.


We did take after take to get it. I was sold on the initial playback.


Team, it was the Sun. We bring you a stream of three hexagonal sunspots arrayed over Ben, in a wide full profile, as he exits the apartment building, against a gorgeously lit, sunned out, ugly apartment tower across the street. It’s never looked so good. Every single person on Elm Grove Avenue is going to say, “WOW!”


I exclaimed, “Oh he looks like Peter Parker!” That’s still what I think. 


I had offered the idea of quickly shooting the Midpoint Exit, and Derek’s eyes rolled over to me: “If you want to, the sun is perfect right now,” he intoned.


Boy, was he right. He was. 


I guess it was the backlighting. I don’t have the image in front of me right now, however I think it was the backlighting — that’s what made me exclaim, “Peter Parker!” 


The sun made it all work.


I still wanted the low-angle.


Derek got it. He and Doogie got the camera down to the ground and stooped low before Ben (James M.) arrives at his final position. James walks into a perfect Greek Statue pose, totally ready, and then he TAKES OFF!!!


When you next see the reverse, on Ben’s BACK as he jets it off down King Street, Derek unfolded and screwed-together a James Bond-like mini-crane. Yes, a crane. And then he locked the camera on and did a craning shot up on Ben running away from camera, into the neighborhood.


Yet, I imagine it’s the tracking profile shot that ends up in a low-angle full shot on Ben that opens this crucial Midpoint sequence which will really really please and intrigue you.


Honestly, I think everyone on Elm Grove will be stunned to think that such a dramatic take could be done on their street. And I think a bunch of Torontonians will be surprised and intrigued to think that such a dramatic take could be done in their city. It’s very very very Peter Parker. And it ends up very Spider-Man, from a low-angle.


You will be impressed with it.


Then, we shot the Black Cat, and the Goldfish.


It wasn’t easy. James Morley took a well-deserved break while Derek Barnes and Doogie MacDougall and Joshua B. Hemming all collaborated tirelessly to coax a cat to walk again and again and again and again across a countertop. Think of how hard it is to get a cat to do that once… :-S Their patience never flagged once. 


I think the whole crew could agree that they were all quite surprised at how totally disinterested the cat was in the fish. After the cat’s viewing the fish many many many times in their aquarium, with great interest, I certainly imagined the cat would go for it. And I totally believed that we would be able to get her intrigued and to want to go for it, yet still keep the fish safe from her. She doesn’t actually do anything to the fish in the script, at all, beyond get intrigued and nose around. The cat had absolutely zero interest in the fish. None, whatsoever! However, with catnip and Fancy Feast, they all got the job done.


Tonite, I am grateful to the Divine Mind’s Infinite Intelligence for our goalie, Tyler Tiberius Ellison. 


By a stroke of lucky, lucky Fate, Tyler had to leave early. And he texted us at the CNE grounds: “Police tow truck heading your way”. We scrambled, just to be safe, just to be sure.


Some of the team thought the tow truck wasn’t coming for Derek’s truck anyways. I kinda thought it was, tho. Just a feeling. A little quiver in the Force told me.


Just after, stopping to get a windmill POV, I locked up my bike, and I saw the police tow truck departing the CNE grounds — empty. 


Maybe it was just out on a test drive. Maybe it was rehearsal for a situation. Maybe it was a new hire getting a feel for the wheel. 


Maybe they were coming for Derek’s truck.


I think Tyler totally saved us.


We worked a long day and got a lot of stuff knocked off. Had we lost Derek’s truck halfway thru the day, we would have had to stop all shooting for the rest of the day. 


The Force and Tyler were really on our side.


If we end up with some crazy continuity error(s) or the script and story are just terrible and unfilmable, people can still get a decent sense of their money’s and time’s worth in this picture. Derek’s opening shot and his midpoint shot are worth a buck to see in a story. His Chase Scene will be worth at least another two. Joshua’s work will be worth at least another buck. To people who get sound, it’ll be worth quite a lot more. Maverick will round it out, and then James and Amanda’s Axe Ad make-out will top it all off. It all adds up. 


The adventure continues.


We are halfway thru our ten day shoot. Now, we have two days off, as Derek goes to a previously-scheduled stunt assignment for a tv series. It’s the Midpoint. We’re doing it.


Guys, we couldn’t be here, this far, without you. Thanks a lot. I know it’s been a little bit rough over a lot of patches. Thanks for sticking it thru. Joshua is happy to be a cat wrangler or to help move a tripod; James is, too. Everyone likes each other and is glad to be sharing the time with them. It’s nice. And Amanda O’Donovan’s cooking is enthusiastically endorsed by everyone. Doogie feels energized on the vegan cooking and is delighted with it. Derek strictly and religiously avoids meat which he doesn’t kill and really appreciates Amanda’s wares as well. Everyone is pleased. Ulla, I remember telling you on Day One evening that nobody had liked the lunch and it had drawn some critique. Well, I have neglected to tell you that this has definitively changed. People are very, very happy with her. And personally, I like her food very much myself, too.


I have to re-design this goldfish tank after we did the Washes and Cleans the Dirty Fishtank scene today. I will have it ready to go for Sunday morning, when we start off with…. a shot of the sparkling clean fishtank. 


Thanks so much.