make your own:
filmmaking from the margins...

by Lenn Keller

Sightings Production Journal cont.
Friday, November 4th
Shooting on the MUNI didn't work out too well. It was frustrating -- we couldn't position the camera like we needed to, and we ran out of light. I don't think we got a lot of the shots. We'll probably have to reshoot it. Tonite buy food for meals for Saturday & Sunday. Finalize Saturday's shot list
Saturday, November 5th
We shot the (day & nite) apartment interiors for Leslie's character. (Sydney's living room and fantasy scene). We started at around 7 am and didn't finish until about 9pm, but it was a great day, I was nervous at first, but I had a lot of fun. The flat was full of people dressing the sets, putting up lights etc. Everyone was in a good mood, and really creative. We shot the fantasy scene different than I had originally planned, and the lighting was killer. Revise tomorrow's schedule/shot list.

Sunday, November 6th
We shot in the apartment again for Terry's character's bedroom, bathroom, and fantasy scenes (day & nite interiors). The bedroom scene was first, and it was a real bear. Robin (camera) had a great idea to dolly around the bed while the character (Ayo) is talking on the phone, but our crude little wheelchair dolly was so noisy on my hardwood floor, it was impossible to record sync sound, and the room was just to small to steer the thing smoothly. Finally, Robin and I caucused, and I decided we had to can it, we were losing time and wasting film, but all the other scenes went really well.
Thursday, November 10th
Met with the old guy at the laundromat to get the okay to shoot there. I screened last weekend's dailies with Jean and Robin at the film lab -- all the apartment stuff looks great, but the MUNI scene will definitely have to be re-shot.

Saturday, November 12th
Finalize shot list. Jean's going shopping for food for Sunday's shoot. Crew meeting and sandwich making party tonite for tomorrow's shoot.
Sunday, November 13th
Today we're shooting the cafe street scene and the post-laundromat scene. We won't need any lights today (Yeh!) Hope all my extras show up. Finalize Monday's shot list.
Shoot day from Hell!
Monday, November 14th
Our planned laundromat location did not work out -- everybody and their mother decided to do laundry. None of the camera set-ups worked. I decided we needed to find another location, and Jean saved the day. She found another laundromat while we were breaking down the lights -- she called us and we jetted over there with a quickness. We only lost a couple of hours. After we got the lighting set up again, (which took forever) things were still not going smoothly. I was losing it. Somehow we got through the laundromat scene before the afternoon. We broke for lunch around 1pm. Everyone jumped in cars and met a couple miles away at the cafe where we going to shoot. The cafe scene went a lot smoother, and it was fun too.
Saturday, November 19th
Went to Club G-Spot to pass out flyers for more extras for the dance club scene on Tuesday.
Monday, November 21st
Get everything prepared for tomorrow's shoot -- it's gonna be a long intense day (lots of light set-ups, and extras).
Tuesday, November 22nd
Crew call was at 7 am. We shot the bathroom scene at a dance club near my house, and then went to the Co Co Club, where the scene actually takes. We spent the afternoon shooting inside the club. So much was going on -- there must have been forty extras. We set up lights for the scene that gets shot outside the club, while we were still shooting inside (very efficient!). There was a lot for me to direct and keep track of -- you really have to concentrate and think fast on your feet. It was stressful in a cool kind of way, and I was loving it. I was determined to stay cool, calm and collected, and I did, mostly.
Tuesday, November 29th
Call Robin to go over the equipment list and arrange a time to drop off the film to her so she can load the camera. Buy food and finalize shotlist for tomorrow's shoot.
Wednesday, November 30th
We shot the ocean scene today -- it was a long, cold, windy day by the water. We got started a little late, because one of the actors got lost. And the old guy at the rental place left out one of the pieces of the tripod head. I had to send one of the P.A.s back there (about fifteen miles away) to get it. I cut some of the shots from the shot list and we shot until we started losing light. Everybody was really great though. I love my actors, they were incredible -- real troopers.
Sunday, December 11th
The last day of shooting. We re-shot the MUNI scene today. We rode up and down that N Judah line all frigging day. We shot while riding up on side, then reloaded the camera and rehearsed while riding back down the other side (so we could keep the light on the same side of us for continuity). All the MUNI drivers were real cool, but some of the passengers were a pain in the a___. It's a wrap damnit!

It's a Wrap!!

Saturday, December 17th

Tonite we are having a cast and crew wrap party at my house. Everyone worked their asses off and we gon' tho' down! Well, that's pretty much it, except I had to go back and re-shoot the ocean scene. Robin was already working on another project, so I hooked up with another camera person, and she worked out great.
A couple of stressful months went by that I couldn't screen the work prints from the last few shoots (I was praying that the footage was okay), because I had run out of money for lab costs. Eventually I got all my work prints from the lab and was able to start editing, which took about 40 hours total. Luckily, my editor Dee Dee, had her own editing suite, which saved me from having to rent one.

I still had tons to do to get the film ready for it's premiere screening in June; compose and record the music (which I did with my brother), record sound effects, have the titles made, get a film to videotape transfer made for mixing on Pro Tools, get the negative cut, and have answer and release prints made.

I had learned so much about the entire production process, and that this was just the tip of the iceberg. Producing a film is a "big work" as my good buddy Mo would say. So many things have to be done before shooting: raising money, writing a script you can realistically shoot, breaking it down to a shooting script, making shot lists and scheduling, casting and crewing, location scouting and securing, renting equipment, transporting people and equipment to locations, providing meals for cast & crew and more. I ran out of money at the very end when I was almost finished, but due to generous donations that I received from many fabulous friends and supporters, I was able to get my answer and release prints out of hock from the lab, just in time to screen to very appreciate audiences at the June, 1995 San Francisco Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival. I want you to know, making this film wrecked my last nerves, and I can't wait to do it again.


names were changed to protect the innocent.
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