The Big Scare

On Monday, July 18th, we were scheduled to film Fritz for establishing and solo shots, which was a bit of a relief for our core team, since it would mean less time restraints on the shooting schedule, as well as less actor management and coordination on set. Our “core team” consists of Fritz Bishop (Lead Actor), Kenzie Cameron (Camera Operator), Mitch Murrant (Sound Operator), Catalina Belalcázar (Production Assistant & Research Assistant), and myself (Boom Mic Operator). The only foreseeable issue with our filming schedule was the long distance between locations and minimal transportation, since we only had Kenzie’s car to transport our core team as well as our documentarian, Patricia, and Olivia, who was helping out on set for the day. For our first shot, located on Grand Lake Road, we were forced to make two trips to transport our crew to Wentworth Park, where we planned spent the majority of the day.

Dream Team 2

Without the restriction of a rigid schedule based on locations or actor call times, we were able to suggest different shots and work collaboratively to choreograph different scenes for Fritz to perform as establishing shots. For example, while we were filming a scene in which Fritz is seen exiting a tunnel, Kenzie suggested that we also film an establishing shot inside the tunnel since the lighting made it unrecognizable from the scene which was previously recorded. As a group, we sat and discussed different scenes we could shoot and within the matter of minutes, we had written, developed, and shot a scene, even having Mitch fill in as an extra actor. The collaborative process was such a refreshing contrast to the previous days of filming, which depended on maximum efficiency to accommodate the large cast and elaborate, dialogue driven scenes.

John Group ShotWhile we were filming one of the scheduled solo scenes of Fritz, the camera suddenly shut off, leading Kenzie to reply with an inquisitive hum before his entire face slid into a dismal expression and he quietly muttered an obscenity to himself. Fritz, nervously studying Kenzie, immediately demanded an explanation, his face racked with fear. Kenzie watched the camera in silence before sighing loudly in relief and replying, “No, its fine, I thought we just lost our footage from the last day, but the camera just overheated”. Apparently, once Kenzie had turned the camera back on, it displayed a message which read: “RECOVERING DATA” which, in his experience, usually meant that the hard drive was being erased. Once he confirmed that the data had been recovered, Fritz immediately stopped filming and instructed the crew to wait while the camera had a chance to cool off. Kenzie admitted that because we had ran late the night before and he had other commitments to deal with after we wrapped, he had not had the chance to upload the footage to his computer as he usually did at the end of a filming date. If the camera had corrupted the data, this would have meant that we would have lost two days of filming.

Kenzie immediately returned home to upload all the footage and create a backup, while Fritz invited the crew back to the production office to continue planning for the next day of filming. Thankfully, the footage was saved and archived with no issue, but the scare of losing our footage was enough to make us all not only realize how easily the entire project could be derailed, but affirmed our own dedication to the film when we found ourselves sharing a genuine sense of concern which I felt lead to the development of a stronger bond between our team members on set. Since we had filmed the majority of our shots for the day and have yet to schedule re-shoots for our make-up day (Thursday, July 21st). Fritz invited the entire crew to watch footage from the camera’s projector at his apartment, where we spent the night enjoying each other’s company and appreciating the fruits of our labor. Through our discussion and review of the footage, we agreed that the project simply would not be possible if not for the incredible talent and coordination of our team, but what makes the film an enjoyable experience is the amount of trust, admiration, and general camaraderie we share for each other on set.

John Bury
Tar City Productions