From Paper to Picture
A lot of pre-production went into this film. We averaged two production meetings per week with the core crew. My producer Bennett and I would speak every day and work on the logistics. Camera Operator Chris Cazavilan and I spent many-a-day trekking through the side streets of Brooklyn location scouting. Kate, our production designer learned how to make sugar glass and hand crafted the whiskey bottles that break in the film. We had a pigeon coop built in House of Nod HQ, which hosted a small flock of tiny feathered actors through the production. Every single person did so much, so far in advance and this fact was essential for the shoot itself and the capacity for it to be realized.
Time was of the essence for this shoot. We only had access to the Phantom High Speed Camera for one week and the days are very short in the winter. There were a lot of moving parts, so it was essential for us to have every shot just right. I spent weeks drawing out storyboards and working on the shot list. Most of the boards included the optical focal length I wanted to use as well as the camera movement that would happen. I did this so when we got to our pre-scouted locations we could simply set up, get the actors in place and allow the scene to play out with minimal technical debate. For some insight on the process, I am posting the first scene's storyboards and frames from the final realization of the film.
Preparation is key when working on a low budget with time constraints. Film production is a living animal and so it will do things on the day that you cannot expect. However, it is an animal which can be studied intently beforehand. Every idiosyncrasy that can be accounted for in pre-production is one that you won't have to be surprised by or worry about when the camera is ready to roll. Preproduction is the acting of making the most comfortable bed you can, so when you are ready to sleep you are free to dream your very best dreams.
Rob from House of Nod