Hole in the Wall - Day 1

Amanda Becker is my niece and in 2010 she was awarded a grant to direct and produce her original screenplay called 'Hole in the Wall'.  This is a short film, shot with traditional film and is the story is about intergenerational tension between a son and his father.  

My job was to capture the production activity from behind the camera, but not just the scene being filmed, but to capture the spirit of the entire crew during the production.

The movie has ten scenes and there was a total of 35 crew members, including three professional actors.  Filming took place over two days.  The first day was committed to exterior filming, which included two different locations.

The movie begins with the son reaching out to his father and the final scene is about the father reaching out to his son.

The first scene filmed is the last scene in the movie in which the father (baseball hat and leather jacket) calls the son from a pay phone. 

One of the first lessons learned about being on a film set (besides having to be very quiet) is that sunlight is not a friend to a filmmaker.  The sun moves and the shadows move with the sun.  Movies are not made in a time-linear fashion, so obvious sunlight must be blocked.

I have since noticed that very few films are shot using direct sunlight. 

Bounded by the building in one direction and a snowbank in another direction, it was a challenge getting interesting photography angles as the entire set was small and on a public sidewalk. The crew kept things crowded and tight as well.

Shooting long and getting in tight was effective.

Shooting low and wide worked if I could get inside the inner circle of filming, but you really had to pop in, shoot the shot, and then pop out right away.

Out of frustration I even went inside the building and shot through a dirty window.

The second location shot on the first day is one of the first scenes in the movie.  The son's (man in bright yellow jacket) car breaks down and he calls his father.  This sets the stage for the entire film. 

This was much easier for me to shoot both long and wide, and both far and close.  The best part of shooting with professional equipment is the distortion-free images and sometimes you get these beautiful specular effects created from lens flare.  I personally like the effect, other photographers might Photoshop them out.

Film making is not glamourous, especially when an entire scene is ruined with a nearby blown-out muffler or stubborn equipment failures.  The attention to detail is impressive, but there is still the need to respond to unexpected situations.  Sometimes the most creative solutions occur under time  and stress situations. 

But the bottom-bottom line is, a well fed crew is a happy crew.  Never forget the importance of snacks on the set.

Next up, Hole in the Wall - Day 2, interior shots.