Good rainy morning to you from Kangaroo Lake. Coffee and blueberries. It’s summer.
Chris is in LA, keeping his flight instruction going and I am here, planning for two more solid weeks of filming.
It’s incredible, just how huge a task this movie has been – as much as we pace ourselves. A day off of shooting is not for relaxing – it’s just a day where we’re not shooting. A day off is planning, emailing, calling, grocery shopping for the next big day of extras, collecting props. These couple days off right now are more than necessary – for our sanity, for regrouping, for inspiration.
Where do I even begin to give an update on where we’re at?
We have great footage so far. We’ve been filming at my family home in Baileys Harbor (asking my family to be very quiet or please step outside on a nice day – they are endlessly patient and we’re about to bring my brother in on boom as soon as he’s moved up here for the summer); we spent two nights at Northern Grill Pizza in Sister Bay (thanks to the generosity of the MacDonald family – hey Lisa! You rock!); we shot a quick scene at Nelson’s Hardware in Baileys Harbor (thank you Nelson family! Adam! We owe you one!).
Unbelievably, we did our first (and only) 16 hour day at Ephraim Village Hall just a week ago. The movie ends with a wedding reception. In the days before we went shopping with my mom down in Green Bay – Costco, Wal Mart, Target, Hancock Fabrics. A wedding on the cheap. Fabric flowers from our basement, a box of mason jars, a Costco white cake, paper plates, strands of twinkle lights, candle votives, the cheapest white table cloths we could find. A donation of a flower bouquet for our lovely bride. Frozen lasagna for a quick “craft services” dinner. (MOM- WE COULD NEVER DO THIS WITHOUT YOU!! Before we started filming I was lamenting how “I don’t know how to even begin to feed a lot of people!” and my mom answered calmly, “Oh, I do.” Boom – Mom knows.)
Back to Ephraim! We arrived at 7:30am. Began set up. Shot a scene at 10am that was supposed to take place during the reception at about 10, 11pm at night (we tacked black fabric over the windows). Then lunch break. Dear friend, boom man, sound expert, and “Greg” in the movie, Pat Palmer set up sound (Wired for Sound). Stewart and Tony set up lights for the stage. My mom strung Christmas lights over black fabric for a band backdrop. My buddy of many years Brad came up from Menasha to help set up the reception and do sound for a later scene right before the bands and extras arrived.
People – it was a night. Big Mouth rocked it out (with Justin, “Marcus” in the movie, playing right along). Katie Dahl and Rich Higdon played (days before their own wedding!!). We had over 50 extras. The bride and groom were just lovely – and surely got to know each other pretty well after I made them dance endlessly. :-) And we were out of that town hall by 11:30.
It was magic. All ages, dancing, having cake and having alcohol-free punch (after all, we were shooting in Ephraim, a dry town – yessir, those still exist). Aaaaand a stop to the AC Tap later was more than a little necessary after all that.
So now we’re planning for the next two weeks – which includes a rehearsal dinner at Town Hall Bakery in Jacksonport (thank you Don and Krista – people, get some breakfast there! It will blow your mind!), as well as scenes at AC Tap (our home away from home – go get some Spotted Cows and cheese curds, do it.) with Dave Ellmann as our bartender. :-)
We’ve learned so much. We’ve learned how to plan, how to slow down while shooting and do it right so we don’t miss anything. We’ve built up some endurance. This movie is a marathon and we have to work accordingly. But every single day a little bit of magic is captured on camera. A quick unexpected smile, a rant from Stewart Dawson about the ticks right now, a look of longing, tears out of nowhere.
It’s so exciting.
And now Chris is daydreaming about the score (because of COURSE he’s going to write music for this movie). We’ve been looking at this clip from Almost Famous for inspiration. Because Cameron Crowe knows how to make little moments into magic, grand, epic moments with just the right music:
How’s that for the magic of filmmaking? Now I can’t promise anything that perfect and timeless, but let’s go for it anyway!
This is a tiny but mighty movie we have here. I can tell you right now it looks beautiful so far – and our actors are incredible and Door County is gorgeous. We have a recipe for something really lovely. Let’s keep shooting!