How to Make a Movie in 8 Days!
by Alejandro Guimoye:
Ask any filmmaker and they will tell you that making a feature film is no easy task. Ask them to make a feature film in 8 days and they might smack you upside the head with a blimp or throw a dead cat at you (for all you non-filmmakers out there a “blimp” is a plastic enclosure that acts as a windshield and a “dead cat” is a furry cover, both used to prevent and minimize wind noise on a microphone). The latter question was presented to me when I met Mike Stahl, the Writer, Producer and Director of the feature film Capps Crossing. Although I did not throw any gear at Mike because he is such a nice guy, I do remember thinking, “…this question is out of the question. What? Who? How? When? Come again?”
Three weeks later Mike and I headed up to the reserved camp site “Capps Crossing” at the El Dorado National Forest to scout the location. My biggest concern was lighting, specifically not having enough of it to cover large wooded areas. Half the script called for night scenes with most of the cast, lots of movement around the camp, special effects and make-up–oh and did I mention we only had 8 days get all the scenes in the can? After some testing we decided to go with tungsten lighting to get the most coverage. To maximize our lights we did not use gels to change the color temperature so as to avoid losing a stop of light. Instead we decided to crank the white balance on camera to give us the cool color temperature we were after. We ended up rigging some lights high up in the trees, courtesy of Sound Operator/ Cliffhanger Scott Pigg, good thing because I am afraid of heights. Once lights were figured out everything else started to fall into place and thanks to an awesome cast and crew we hit the ground running at Speedy Gonzales velocity. We shot around the clock pulling 20 hour days and if I remember correctly sometimes we filmed for 22 hours straight….livin’ the dream baby!
By the second week, just as things were really coming together and our team had found their mojo, mother nature decided to do us dirty. That Saturday it did not rain, it poured. My first instinct was screw it, let’s just keep shooting and see what happens, we’re on a tight schedule as it is. For obvious safety reasons we had to unplug all of our hot lights and production came to a halt. Lucky for us the camp site came with a large cabin which served to house equipment and anyone not wanting to camp outside in tents. The cabin had a large basement that was partially empty and so as to not fall further behind schedule we decided to shoot any tent scenes in the basement. To get an early start the next morning everyone went to bed early as sleep would be out of the question for the next two days. By the end of the 8th day, by some miracle, we had managed to get caught up to the shooting schedule and before the sun set that evening we were in the clear. God works in mysterious and horrific ways and we were thrilled!
Looking back at it now, I believe the key to our success was preparation and communication in a team effort. Everyone that signed up aboard the Capps Crossing voyage knew that we were up against an almost impossible task and that the only way we would come close to completing it would be as a team. The bonding that takes place on a movie set between actors and crew is of utmost importance as we all must rely on each other throughout the production process at one point or another. During the filming everyone stepped up to the plate to go above and beyond what their job and/or responsibilty entailed to support the production where it needed support. The passion and professionalism that each and every one brought on set made the impossible, possible. Aside from all the carnage at the hands of a psychopath at the campsite, I for one am very proud to say that both cast and crew worked in unison and we killed it at Capps Crossing.
GENRE: Horror / Thriller
10 years ago David left his girlfriend Tracy all alone in the forest after she broke up with him. Tracy never made it back to camp alive. Every year David returns to pay his respects at Capps Crossing, the site of her death. After years of built up pain, anger and guilt he loses his shit when a group of campers desecrate Tracy’s memorial at Capps Crossing. There’s just one rule at Capps Crossing…Never be alone.
Visit Capps Crossing on Facebook for more behind the scene stills.