October 29th, 2003

Fiona and me in the snow


I really should do some work soon, but I need to write this down before I forget it all.

Before lab, I made the mistake of calling the school I got Fiona from. They are av ery reputable school, and mean the best for their graduates, so I wanted to call them and get an idea of what they would do concerning the movie, how I could make it better for me, and Fiona. The short answer is that they told me that they, this particular trainer, would strongly advise me not to do the movie

"They have trained dogs for this kind of thing; you own your dog, she's yours."

I got the idea that he thought I was crazy for even considering let them use my dog for even a small art.

At that point I was confused, agitated and not sure of myself. I called the director, told him what they said, and he was like "oh shit, what now?" I had no idea what to tell him except for, "What happens if we don't or can't do the shoot today?"

His response to that, "Well we cancel it and I just like 20 grand, that's all." Not a good thing I would gather. His reasoning, that the experience could be stressful for the dog and me, having someone else hold the harness, even if she wasn't guiding.

I decided it might be a good idea to get some second and third opinions because I really didn't want to tell the guy to go screw himself so to speak and I also didn't think that the second alternative, plan B, of having a random golden retriever and putting a harness on it and tellng it to "guide" was a great idea either. So I called controlg and dlambert. Chris had no idea what to say, but Denna seemed to say that I probably shouldn't nix the whole idea altogether. "Why not give it a try", she said. We called my mom on conference, because being in crisis mode, I wanted more than one positively ascenting comment. My mom said that if she thought that it would be such a big problem she would have told me a long time ago.

So basically the story for today is that I'm going to give it a go. The good thing about this team is that they are going to make it as less stressful to Fiona as possible. I'll be there through the whole shoot, at her side so to speak directing things. If I feel uncomfortable or she feels uncomfortable, I get to cancel the whole thing. That option isn't high on mine, and Chris's list. We can also try, if Fiona feels uncomfortable, Raymond, who isn't the color they are looking for, but he would probably eagerly guide anyone and their brothers pet brother without any problem, so that's an option.

Basically, the dog just adds a good dimension to the picture that I like. She's not a central role, but she's one of those roles that would add a cool dimension to things. Lots of tweeking is going to have to be done to the script so that for instance, the dog doesn't come out carrying the harness in her mouth, but that we can work with them on.

I guess I have no idea how these things work. So me and Chris, since we have time, are going to check out film making at its finest. I'm not sure what to think of the whole thing. Honestly, I don't know if I'd watch the movie if I weren't involved with it; I don't know, it seems too weird for me ... but at least there will be a damn realistic blind person in it whether or not we can use a dog or not. One thing is for sure, I've learned more in two days about how films are made and shot that I want to know. They're making a "making of" part for the dvd so I better look somewhat non disgusting. It'll also be cool to see the 35 mm cameras they're going to use. This two days that I'll have to spend filming the credits sequence better be worth it, that's for damn sure.

I'm sure Chris and I, and if Denna hooks up with us will have lots to say about it as well, and if anyone from Fayetteville wants to hang out at Old Main lawn maybe say 4 or so, you can see it too. I'm just along for this crazy ass ride and my knuckles are white from holding on for dear life. Wish me luck.
Fiona and me in the snow

ShadowVision: day 1 scene 1 movie 1, what and experience

I'm really tired so I'll give a quick summary and sign off and head to bed. The first day of filming ShadowVision was quite cool, quite cool indeed. I'm saying the movie title because apparently it doesn't matter what I say just that I don't tell the whole story befor you've seen it. It starrs Vivian Schilling, someone I had no idea about before. She's cool though, very cool and down to earth.

We arrived on set at about 12, on time. The people all didn't start arriving until like 12:30, late everyone's always late. They were in the ending stages of setting up the camera tracks in the park so that the film camera could move exactly level across the ground. I was very nervous and not looking forward to it because I wasn't sure if Fiona would work for Vivian. I was wrong.

The first scene was basically just walking down a sidewalk. Fiona seemed cool with walking with Vivian, but she kept looking for me behind her. NO problems, for each of our shots, we placed me just outside the field of view of the camera, and she just walked to me. So when you look at the movie and it appears as if Fiona's looking onto the camera, by the miracles of Hollywood and quick thinking, she's actually just looking for me. :). She really liked doing this too because she got food after every time she did it well.

We went from a park, to Old Main lawn, to a street crossing on Dixon, and finally to this lake. Five locations, we filmed, in five hours. Its amazing how fast they can take down and put up all the equipment that they have. Five minutes after shooting, we were on the road ready for the next one.

We even went to Ozark Brewery where we ate and watched the crew set up cameras and film a sequence in which a truck tries to run over a phantom guy. The guy will get edited in by the miracle of Hollywood of course, and that, we filmed after we finished eating. That was the hardest scene for me, because Vivian was asked to cross the street with Fiona. To get her to look straight ahead, I had to be on the other side of the street and I just worried. Chris said he was right there and was watching things, so I shouldn't have worried, but she is my dog, my best friend, and I didn't want anything bad to happen to her.

Chris was a great help as I gave him all the responsibilities of talking to Vivian and the rest of the crew about making things look realistic. We even met Denna as well, and she told Vivian (Holly in the movie) how she'd be a "real" blind girl or how "real" blind girls really act, something me and Chris couldn't do too well.

It was really neat meeting all the people in the crew from camera man to production assistant. They all will work well together, and I'm sure that the 100000 feet of film they plan to shoot will be completely worth it because everyone had fun shooting. Me and the sound guy had a great time talking too and we had even a greater time because we were allowed to be nerds without penalty. They're awesome dudes and I can't wait to continue working with them.

That said though, me and Fiona were ready to come back this evening. It wasn't overly hard doing the many shots we did, I just wore myself out stressing that Fiona was doing ok and not stressing too much. I think she had a good time though, and she got lots of belly rubs and hugs from everyone.

Well, must go. Tomorrow I have to go to class, and then at 2, go to the house where Holly lives, to continue, or finish I should say, the title and credits sequence. The hardest part is over and I think that the rest will be a breeze for Fiona, at least I hope so.