Being a horror lover, I knew that I would have some (well, a lot) of restrictions when it came to making a horror movie this semester. But then I watched ‘Last Kind Words’; a film where the poster looks frightening, but in reality, it is a romanticized horror. (You have to see it really understand what I mean.) My horror film didn’t need to look like your conventional horror flick, so I decided that I was going to make it visually beautiful. And it is…well in my own opinion and thats all that really matters right? As long as I am happy with it, then thats all that counts. My initial idea, which I may do one day so NO you ARE NOT allowed to steal my idea, was to have seven different suicides, all different ways with one suicide note. I based the characters off my classmates and used their individual hobbits and such to invent a way to kill themselves. For example, Luke likes to play guitar…so he would hang himself with a guitar string. Not that inventive but it works. Anyway, over time, I continued to adapt on my idea, moving it on until I had the story I have today. The only thing that has stayed constant, it the image of a girl standing at the end of a dock about to drown herself. And that became the opening scene of Hush.
Below are a series of production photos; credit to the lovely Cathy Zimmerman for taking them.
Finally, here is the final product!
I had been in alone in my room for a couple of hours as I slowly started to freak out. Tomorrow, people were going to be looking to me for the answers and to guide them through the difficult task of making a movie. I had never has such responsibility put on my shoulders before and I was really starting to over think everything. Even though two of my actors weren’t coming until Sunday, I was terrible nervous about directing a professional actress who was currently on broadway as an understudy and another actor who was also a director of the stage…no pressure what so ever. I must have gone through my production fold at least 20 times, making sure I had everything ready. The costumes, the make up, the set design, the call sheets, the script. It seemed like I couldn’t prepare myself enough. Then at 10pm, I decided to practice the scar…on myself. Being the perfectionist that I am, once I deemed it presentable, I marched over to my friends and fellow classmate’s room, burst into their room and demanded that they tell me whether the scar looked real or not. After some umming and ahhing, it was decided that it did indeed look very realistic. But that didn’t calm me down. I then proceeded to word vomit all my thoughts and feelings about the weekend, watching Sarah and Sydney’s faces as they were amazed at how fast I managed to get my words out. My body was shaking and I was sweating from ever place possible. Sarah was looking at me like I was going to break down any minute…which I was. After suggesting a cup of tea and an early night, I wondered back to my room and headed to bed, but not before checking to see if I had all of my props ready to go at 4:30am.
Bright and early, my alarm went off at 4:30am. I took a shower to help me wake up and tried to keep my nerves calm. I surprisingly much calmer than the day before as I gathered everything I needed and headed out. We were all getting picked up at 6:00am to head over to the marine station. While we were waiting, I felt honored that Grubes blessed me with her Jewish blessing. It was the start of something for all of us and we were all excited. We arrived at the dock when it was still pitch black; there wasn’t much we could do without the light so Sara and Jordan set up the camera and I went through my production folder…again. Around 6:35, I got a call from my lead actress, Courtney, saying that she was lost. After running down the street and almost getting run over by a car, which coincidently happened to be Courtney’s, we all made it, safely, back to the marine station. I would like to say we got straight down to business right then…but we didn’t. It was still pretty dark out so a bunch of us crowded around the table set up by Craft Services (aka Cathy Zimmerman, aka Legend.) Around 7:00am, things started kicking into gear. Courtney was in the hot seat as I began doing her scar, which I left of Sydney (make-up) to finish as I began approving the set up for the first shot.
Suddenly, time was against us and the sun began to rise at a rapid rate but we got the first shot off and it looked nothing like I imagined; it was so much better. After that, time flew by as I continued to get amazing shots, my nerves a forgotten memory. We turned day time into nighttime and created special effects I didn’t even know was possible. Looking back, everything went to smoothly, I couldn’t have asked for a better day, but that’s because I was the director and off in some magical bubble where all my dreams were coming true. To others, I imagine, that it was rather boring. But I was so thankful that everyone was there to help out because I knew it wouldn’t be as successful if they weren’t there.
My favorite scene of the day, surprisingly, was the garden scene, involving the swing. There was so many things that shouldn’t have worked out, like the actual swing and the stunt that I had planned, but everything worked. The swing looked unbelievable and I couldn’t have been happier with it. The stunt was a little harder to do but we pulled it off and it looked really convincing. I know I’m being very mysterious about this stunt…but it’s a surprise!
We wrapped on the first day and I felt as if I was walking on cloud nine. I was unstoppable. But as I sat in my room, later on that day, I realized that I had tomorrow to start obsession over. Knowing I needed to go to the store and pick up some more props, a few of us made the quick trip down to Stop ‘n’ Shop to put up some things. Orange juice; check. Apple juice; check. A lighter; check. Grapes; check and some tea to calm my nerves; check. ‘My poor nerves‘, I think staring to sound like Mrs Bennett (if you don’t know who I’m talking about, shame on you.)
I wasn’t as nervous as I was Friday night, but the anticipation of wrapping up filming tomorrow and working with professionals had me drinking 4 cups of herbal tea in a row. The next wasn’t as of an early start, but I knew that I should probably get a good night sleep, waking up refreshed and ready for anything.
Sunday is a haze. Asking me to reflect on what happened it almost impossible. The day started off freezing, a completely turn around from the blessed weather we had the day before. Things kicked off with me standing outside of the set location, shivering in my t-shirt because in my room I was too sweaty and hot to think about grabbing a jumper. It was only after shivering for about 10 minutes, I was reminded that I had blanket in my bag. Wrapping that around me, I prayed that was the only blonde moment I had that day.
We were starting off in the bedroom, where we ended to day before and Courtney was the first one to turn up. Then you could have said we played the waiting game with the other actors. And this definitely did not help with the nerves. My other actress, Tina, called saying she was a little lost but she was pretty sure she knew where to go. After waiting a few minutes, she appeared and we went through her wardrobe. I started to calm slightly, but my actor, who was in the first shot, still hasn’t turned up. It turned out that there was a mix up in the call time and he was coming at 9:00am instead of 8:30am. This calmed me greatly, as otherwise I would have had to re-arrange the whole shooting schedule and my blood pressure could not have taken that. I’m sure there would have been tears too.
All too soon we were shooting. I’m not the type of person who expresses their reactions in a professional way very well. It was always, “brilliant, we’ve got it’” and then on to the next scene. The day flew by and I could not have been more grateful for my actors being as wonderful as they were. They were so good, we made such good time, wrapping around 6:30 at night. We had planned until 11.
Once we had started to pack everything away, I managed to find a moment to myself. And I did the happy dance. Hard. I slapped my thighs and stomped my feet, my face screwed up in happiness because not only had I completed my first film, I was officially a director. It’s was different from the school projects I did in High School, where I used my handheld digital camera, a tripod I bought on eBay and my friends as actors. I was legit…or so everyone kept saying. But I really did feel like one. I had accomplished something amazing in just a few weeks, along with the help of my friends and mentors of course, but it meant the most to me. They were all there for me and helping me achieve this ‘director’ status.
There still are no words…