Production Week 4 Continued

by Andrew

Rockland Light

This photo was an inspiration when writing. "Rockland Light" by Sean Duggan.

The first day at our final location turned out to be the worst of the bunch, as it ended with me walking around in the rain, soaked to the skin despite wearing seven layers, and knowing I had been through several of the most stressful hours of my life. But as these nights often go, we left with some terrific footage, and the movie is far better for our having pulled ourselves through the environment we were faced with.

The location at which the climax of the movie takes place was debated a whole lot during pre-production, and though we had found several places that seemed acceptable, Veronica and Ian and I found ourselves driving around in late December going door to door in central Maine, looking for something that would knock our socks off.

It took a day of driving at twenty miles an hour, but we found it – a blueberry farm in Hope, Maine, with an enormous, sloping field covered in snow. The field was extraordinary in that it functioned as an enormous bounce card, meaning we could set up two 4K HMIs at the top of the field and bounce the light down into the driveway, simulating the moon in a natural, eerie way.

The owners, understandably, were reluctant to talk to us at first, and on our first visit, wouldn’t let us inside. But Veronica stayed in touch with them, and in the next month I took a trip from New Jersey just to visit with them. We agreed about the details of the production and I went back to prepare, confident that things would work out.

It wasn’t until we tried setting up those 4Ks that we realized the top of the field was made up of a one-lane driveway to a less-than-understanding neighbor of our more sympathetic owners. It would be (I think) three and a half hours before the lights could be set up, eventually on top of five feet of snow, with a finicky generator and several foxholes needing to be dug into the snowy hilltop.

During all that time, it misted and rained, which made for some terrific photography, but slowed the production considerably, and made me wonder whether we would make the day at all. But soon enough, the lights were up, the shots were shot, and I found myself watching the climax of the film on the monitor. I realized almost immediately that we had been witness to another set of weather-related miracles, and that the material had been elevated by simple shifts in the rain and available light with each new set up.

This night was interminable – we started the day wet and just got wetter and wetter. I feared the owners would kick us out. I worried that the neighbor I hadn’t met would tear down our primary light source just for kicks. And I knew that those things could derail the production. But things worked out, and it turned out the owners loved having us there, which is a surprise, to be honest. I assure you that when you see how Lisa designed their basement, you’ll agree.