Friday, July 31, 2009

Lauren Is Missing!

(Clockwise: Me, Kirsten Barber, Deep Dasgupta, Tabitha McKinney, Allison Bohl, Tyler Bromley - last still from the very last day of shooting. Photo by Allison Bohl.)

If you don't already know, I spent the better part of this month (July) with a group of amazing people making my second feature, Lauren is Missing.

It's about a woman who comes home to find her roommate missing but doesn't really care. You could say it's a thriller, but I'd use that term loosely. Beyond that it's about identity and the relationship between two women, Mia and Millie (played by Maya Lawson and Erin Jorgensen). It also involves taxidermy and lots of drinking. Kirsten Barber and I came up with the story together, but she took the initiative and wrote the screenplay while I was editing MRR.

Without letting this post get ridiculously long, the 16 day shoot really was great. It gave me more of a chance to focus on being a director (Tabitha McKinney was my producer extraordinaire) than I was able to on MRR, where I had to balance directing and producing responsibilities and didn't feel like I was able to give either as much attention as it deserved. Our crew was 5 members strong, Tabitha produced; Allison Bohl was Director of Photography and camera operator; Deep Dasgupta took a break from editing his feature, People of Earth, to run sound; Kirsten supplemented her writing duties with production design and wardrobe; and I directed and operated the second camera.

(Mia (Maya Lawson) in pursuit of The Blind Man)

No movie is anything without it's cast, and ours was headed by Brand Upon The Brain's Maya Lawson (that's her in the still above) I was fortunate enough to have worked with her several years ago on my second short film, "Driving Around, Following Strangers," and it was a lot of fun to finally work together again. If that wasn't enough, we got the amazing Erin Jorgensen to play Millie. Erin comes from a performance background, but hadn't done much acting, the process of finding her and getting her on board relied on so many coincidences and so much good luck that it borders on miracle. I guess you could say the same about the way most of this movie came together! Last but certainly not least, my former band-mate and Scarecrow co-worker, Tyler Bromley stepped up to don a suit and some fogged contact lenses to play The Blind Man to creepy effect.

Some tech specs... We shot on video with two HVR-V1U cameras. Initially we were gonna shoot with two HVXs, but I couldn't find a cheap enough pair. The HVR was a pretty badass camera though. It handles low light extremely well and it records a compressed 1080 to HDV. I rented the cameras and sound equipment from my buddy Ryan Adams (colorist for MRR) and also managed to shave off another crew member in the process (we didn't need anyone to offload the footage as we went). The only drawbacks that I can think of are the lack of variable frame rate and the occasional need to recapture footage. The variable frame rate is really just a matter of the camera's price point. The occasional capture glitches seem to be a universal problem with HDV (though I could be wrong). I'm sure P2 cards present their own issues.

I'll try to post more pics and behind the scenes stories soon, but it's time for me to get back to work. The footage is captured and logged and I'm one day into editing. Can't wait to see this movie come together!

(Clockwise: Me, Kirsten Barber, Maya Lawson, Tabitha McKinney, Roger Hamel, Jaideep Dasgupta, Erin Jorgensen, Allison Bohl - after our last big day of shooting at Roger's Taxidermy. Photo by Allison Bohl.)


George Tramountanas said...

This sounds so FREAKIN' awesome! I can't wait to see it!

Hope you're doing great!

alex t said...

aahhhh that first pic is great! nice green screen! ;)

Mike Harring said...

Thanks guys!

Alex - It is a great green screen isn't it? ...I need to get it back to you. : )

Still caught up in MRR stuff for the next couple days. Looking forward to getting back to work on LIM.