Last night I attempted to watch Fight Club in my hotel room. I rented it on Amazon Prime for $3 and got through about 20 minutes of it before Erika skyped me. That lasted almost an hour, and then it was time to watch her cousin Emily on the MTV Challenge. So I never finished it, but I did have a good time paying most of my attention to the background and imagining what it was like on the set when they shot it; how Fincher probably micromanaged everything and meticulously crafted the scenes after 40 takes that took all day. I also noticed a 311 poster over Tyler’s shoulder when he and Marla are in the thrift store selling the clothes she stole from the laundromat. That was cool.
I had left that day with a call time of 7:30 for the next morning. Well, I got a call from Ryan around 8:45pm saying that my call time had been shifted to 6:00am. That meant 6:00 pickup in front of the hotel. Ok, no big deal. I got up at 5:10, skipped the shower so I’d have second-day hair that would more closely match Boyd’s, and headed downstairs at 5:40. I also checked out of the hotel. Rumor had it that we would be staying an extra day to finish filming at the park Friday, but as of that moment my room was not covered for another night.
The 6am van crew consisted of me, Sidney, Jody, and the medic. Yarden greeted us as we loaded up, then sent us on our way at 6:03. We arrived at the park just as the sun was coming up.
I had a bounce in my step today. I was getting used to the whole process. I stood in line at check-in, got my daily voucher / W-4 forms from Ryan, and stashed my backpack. I asked him if I needed to hang out or go ahead and go down to Tom’s cabin. He said I had time to eat, but I should go ahead and go down there asap.
I grabbed a quick plate of food – 1 biscuit with gravy, a spoon of hash browns, and 2 strips of bacon. I sat down across from a girl who I chatted with while I wolfed it down. She was an extra that had been there yesterday but hadn’t gotten called out. Bummer. Her friend that was there with her yesterday was called and put on the set during the pool scene. She said she is a theater major at SEMO and was having doubts about the film side of acting after hearing about the 33 takes her friend did. I told her I thought both sides of the discipline had good things about them. No time to elaborate though… it was going on 6:40.
I went down to the cabin and met Tom at the door. Same wardrobe as yesterday. That meant we probably weren’t doing the scene where Jeff/Greta break into Amy’s cabin… at least not at first. No, we were back at the pool.
The lighting, electrical, and camera crews were hard at work setting up their gear. Since the sun was low in the sky they had to recreate the midday look from yesterday’s filming. They put a pair of mega lights up on a crane shining down and one behind Boyd’s position. They did some tree trimming and fitted that light with some branches in front of and around it. Then they placed all sorts of light shields and reflectors to bounce it all around in just the right way. The lighting discipline is a work of art in itself.
David showed up and Courteney called me up to Boyd’s position on the wall. I stood there for about an hour while he set up the camera angles he wanted (this time for a close-up of Boyd) and the lighting guys finished doing their thing. Boyd showed up around 7:40 and we chatted for a bit. He said he lives in New York and wastes money on an apartment in L.A. I asked how he was cast in this movie and he said he made an audition tape and sent it in. To whom I don’t know. It was time to roll. “Thanks bud,” he said as he tagged me out.
I went and grabbed a cup of coffee and a banana from the concessions cart while they started filming. I heard the sound guy say, “186 81” into his mic. This was scene 186… and we were starting the day on take 81.
Another reason Fincher’s takes climb so high is that he likes to put both cameras on one actor and do a bunch, then change the cameras and put them on another actor and do a bunch. Like I’ve said a few times already, he is meticulous with his shot composition and plays with his angles all the way. Luckily he got what he wanted from Boyd (and Lola walking in from off-camera to get into the pool) in a dozen or so takes. We moved on to a new scene around 10:00.
While they were moving all the equipment over to the cabin where the next scene would be filmed, I heard Jason tell Boyd that they were “putting [him] on ice.” I guessed that meant they weren’t filming the break-in scene today? Maybe I would be coming back Friday after all. I wasn’t needed on the set any more though. But I didn’t want to leave!
After they cut the last scene no one told me to head back to the lodge like they usually did so I decided to be sneaky. I went and sat on a bench far out of the way of any crew and watched them set up. Yarden came up a few minutes later… I thought I was busted but he just wanted me to run an errand for Sidney. She was on set but still in her swimsuit with a bathrobe over it. She needed her clothes but couldn’t leave her position. So I ran back to the lodge and grabbed them for her. I brought them down and passed them to her and she ran in the cabin, changed, came back out, and asked me to hold on to her robe. I talked to her for a minute until once again, my arch nemesis appeared–Prop Guy, guardian of the actors’ chairs.
“Hey man, what are you doing here?”
“Uh… nothing, I guess. I just ran to get her clothes for her.”
“Alright, well you need to clear out cause you’re on the set.”
“Ok.” I walked around the back side of the cabin so’s not to walk through the camera area. When I came around the other side, the guy came up to meet me again.
“Do you know why I asked you to move?”
“Cause I wasn’t supposed to be there.”
“Yea, and it’s just in case Fincher all the sudden was ready to roll and wouldn’t have to yell ‘CLEAR THE FUCKIN SET!'” The guy said it in such a way that I knew he didn’t mean it harshly. He was doing us all a favor.
“Thanks man; I need all the clues I can get around here.”
With that I retreated back to my bench and sat watching the filming for a while. I eventually moved up behind the sound guy where Boyd was hanging out and watched Rosamund and Lola run the same lines dozens of times.
There were two extras they were running in the background; two old men with fishing poles and a tackle box that walked across the frame as Rosamund exited. At one point I saw Jody, who was standing in front of me, turn around and point in their direction. I looked over and there was a third guy who had come out of nowhere and wandered into the shot. No one could get his attention to get him to stay off camera and he walked right across with the two extras.
We stayed there until about 1:00. Jody entertained herself by doing some yoga and light gymnastics on the lawn. I entertained myself by watching the master at work carving his movie out of the actors. Then we broke for lunch.
During lunch we heard Jason tell Lola and Boyd that they were wrapped for the day and could head to Cape, which meant a similar fate was in store for us. Sidney pointed out that the break-in scene in the sides was marked STAGE, so they will be filming that in L.A. Ryan wrapped us at 1:59, right before we started earning overtime pay. The van took us back to the hotel, and with that, it was all over.
Mostly over. There is one more scene they are shooting in Cape on Saturday that I will stand in for. I’m off tomorrow to rejoin reality. I will probably do another post anyway and fill in some stories I forgot over these last few days. Then of course I will write about what goes on Saturday.
- stood in on the pool scene again
- got kicked off the set by Prop Guy (we’re cool though… I think…)
- watched more movie-making
- wrapped early and came home
- Saturday is my last day to work on set in Cape