The Ups and Downs of Pre-Production

There were so many facets that went into the pre-production of Seven. Crewing up, Locations, Rehearsals cast/fight, and adventures in craft service.

So for crew, I found a Chicago Filmmakers Group on Facebook and posted looking for a crew and found a D.P., Sound and a P.A.   My casting director, Donna Watts, connected me to a makeup artist and the videographer for the casting session posted a crew call on his network and from that I received contact from a fight choreographer. All in all it was an awesome experience meeting all of these talented and gifted people. The purpose of shooting this short film was so that I could become reacquainted with the Chicago Filmmaking scene. And I can say this much, they were just as talented and friendly as I remember. Even though everyone wasn’t from Chicago (more on that, in a later post 😉 ). Working with them was not only a great experience it was fun.

Locations, though were STRESSFUL. I didn’t have the location for my second day of shooting until the day before the first day of shooting. To be perfectly honest this entire process was very stressful for me. But I had lots of help. My casting director handled most of the correspondence with my actors. My sisters helped me as either sounding boards or helped me with logistics. Even my brother-in-law pitched in and catered when I discovered that I did not have enough in the budget to cater with Chipotle. They seemed like the perfect solution to cover my vegetarian options, keto options, and meat eaters. Everyone would’ve been covered. But he and my sister came up with solutions that kept everyone fed and happy both days of the shoot and now he’s thinking of catering part-time. Everyone even pitched in and helped me in the search for the second location. In the end it was provided by my pastor.

I couldn’t find a location for rehearsals until the day before as well. I had one big rehearsal with my entire cast and two fight rehearsals. And my two leads couldn’t make my one big rehearsal so I had to make arrangements with them. For my lead actress I arranged to meet with her one on one. Again because there isn’t a lot of dialogue, it was more discussion than scene running. I talked with the actors and told them about their characters and the story, how they fit into the story and the emotional beats that were supposed to be portraying with each scene. With my lead actor, I didn’t get a chance to meet with him one on one, but I did take him through script and discuss each emotional beat with him. Also he made it to the second fight rehearsal, but there was only enough time to go over that one scene.

Although logistics were driving me crazy, the rehearsals were fun and reminded me why I was driving myself crazy in the first place. I had something to say and I loved saying it in a visual way. I especially loved the fight rehearsals. It almost made me want to get out there and mix it up with them. Almost. It underlined a major fact that I need to address the next time I have a production. I need to have a producer!