Production Week 2 Continued

by Andrew

The Greene House

The Greene House Interior; photo by Ian Bloom

After splitting our first day between the mainland and island, we bunkered down at the Tidewater Motel on main street in Vinalhaven for what would be a two-week stay. The island was very cold and the motel is situated directly over the water, so many of the rooms needed additional heat in order for us to get through the night. It took a few days for us to work out the kinks, but thanks to the hard work and helpful attitude of Phil, its owner, we were able to get each member of the cast and crew situated. Phil normally keeps the motel closed for January and February because of just how few people come and go from the island in those months, but he opened it up for us for two weeks and for that we’re very grateful – we wouldn’t have had a central place to lodge the cast and crew otherwise, and it was valuable to gather for meals and what little leisure time we had. (Hello, Oscar broadcast.)

The week was spent on a single estate on the north side of the island that served for multiple script locations. The property is incredibly beautiful, but it’s located right on the waterfront, and the front yard of the estate is essentially a big ramp from the ocean to the buildings that housed the production. We had scouted the place several times in 2009 and 2010, including the December and January leading up to the shoot. The property had seemed cold then, but manageable, so we decided to move forward with a February shoot in large part because we thought we would be able to manage the elements at the estate (where we would spend 9 of the 21 days of principal photography). Well, February was much colder, windier, and snowier than the preceding months, and we found ourselves in weather-related binds most days at the estate.

Our first day there was especially grueling. David was the only cast member on set, and we had a number of scenes to shoot in the priest’s house, which is an uninsulated, one-room house on the waterfront. We were underprepared for the cold (zero degrees) and wind (thirty miles an hour), and I found myself getting through the day by setting hourly goals and focusing on the compositions one at a time. It was difficult but David and the crew kept a good attitude and we wrapped on time.

Week 2 also gave us our first day inside the Greene family home, where a lot of Nor’easter’s drama takes place. It was a location my father had scouted for me nearly two years before, and I had been looking forward to photographing it for nearly as long as I’d been writing the script. Shooting scenes 12, 13, 14, and 15 inside the house, when our priest meets the father of the missing boy for the first time, was deeply satisfying. Seeing the way the living room was designed by Lisa and lit by Ian was a relief, and knowing that we were doing justice to the home and the environment as well as the drama let me sleep well at night. Add to that the gorgeous snowstorm we received that morning for David’s approach to the house, and I spent most of the day feeling like I was opening a gift.