Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Just a note to cast, crew and other interested parties. Now that "Girl on Rocky Top" has finished shooting, we move on to post-production: editing, sound and image correction, scoring, etc. It's safe to say that the film will not be ready until early winter at the very soonest. We'll continue to post information as we get it so check back periodically for updates.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
We started the last day of the shoot with a black cloud rolling over and rain coming down in sheets. Chad feared intermittent rain more than steady driving rain--it would have been difficult to match up shots if it's raining in one and sunny in another. Fortunately, by the time the camera and light equipment were in place, the day had turned hot and sunny.
A local TV news crew came out and interviewed Emerson and I while the the rest of the company shot close-ups. You can follow this link and click News at 6, July 25 2009, in the side bar. Unfortunately, they didn't mention the rest of the cast or crew by name.
Jim from the Wombles Bus co. brought a bus over so we could transform a parking lot at EKU into a bus station. He was a great sport and even agreed to be an extra, crossing and recrossing the same stretch of sidewalk all day long.
This scene was the climactic argument between Scott and Brian--the moment when Scott, furious that Brian and Wendy didn't return the night before--takes them to the bus station to send them home to Missouri. The actors had to summon fury and regret for take after take after take. All four did a splendid job (even after I helped Jenna to take a nasty fall on a marble floor).
The day ended appropriately: Emerson yelled for "Quiet on set!" as Brendan recorded the sound of Jim's bus firing up it's engine, backing into the next lot, then slipping into a forward gear as it drove away.
And that was a wrap.
THEN the thunder started.
Many thanks to Eastern Kentucky University and the good people of Berea, Richmond, Lexington, and Irvine, KY. Thanks also to the many people in New Hampshire and Illinois who gave their financial support and encouragement to the project.
And special thanks to cast and crew who worked in rain and heat, on mountain tops and in lakes and rivers to make this film happen.
Crew: Tommy Paulson (First Assistant Cameraman), James Webb (Second Assistant Cameraman), Brendan Townend (Location Sound), Kurt Riche (Key Grip), Zach Lynn (intern/grip/extra), Angela Hudnall (intern/grip/extra), Ian Hummeldorf (intern/grip/extra), Kenny Lawrence (intern/grip), Marshall James (intern/grip/extra), and Nick Haney (intern/grip/extra).
Keys: Andrew Kramp (Director), Chad Cogdill (Director of Photography), Emerson St. John (Producer & Assistant Director), John Fitch (Producer), and Emily Hofelich (Producer & Script Supervisor).
Cast: Nick Swarts ("Scott" & "Narrator"), Jen Donnelly ("Tab"), Thomas Gibbs ("Brian"), and Jenna Taylor ("Wendy").
I kept my brother's journal from the real trip in my pocket for most of the shoot. On the first page, he concluded the entry with "This will be a great adventure." It was...and was again. Thanks.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Today we filmed several scenes at the lake: the accident, the wish, and the writer's daydream. Angela (a professional lifeguard) and Ian (a trained diver) and John (who knows Kung Fu) were sent into the lake to spend much of the day holding boats, guiding boats, retrieving typewriters.
Whoever scouts these locations deserves an ice-cream cone.
Yesterday, we shot on the ledges of a place called "The Pinnacles" in Berea, KY. This is the title scene in which Scott, Brian, & Wendy spend the day hiking and having a great time. At one point, Wendy sings a verse of "Rocky Top" and the others join in -- in a hammy way. One pleasant surprise in casting: Jenna ("Wendy") can really sing. In fact, the whole cast can. The scene therefore played out less campy than intended. Serendipity.
The bugs at the bottom were fierce and the trail up to the ledges was steep--especially for the crew carrying camera equipment. So once we got there, we shot enough material for two feature-length films...just to make it worth the climb.
Jenna sang the first two verses of "Rocky Top" about 40 times...a painful chore for a UK fan.
It was the most fun day of the shoot.