Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shooting begins on Bloody Work

On a drizzly Sunday, April 22, Bloody Work had its first official day of shooting in downtown Austin, in a parking lot at the corner of 3rd and Brazos. Not exactly the most glamorous location, but in 1885, it was the location of the home of Dr. Johnson, his family, and his cook, Eliza Shelley, who lived in a little house behind the main house. And that's where she became the Servant Girl Annihilators' third victim on the night of August 30.

With the aid of sound man extraordinaire Peter Heitman, I shot about an hour of Jeanine Plummer giving us some basic information about Eliza's murder, the discovery of the body the next morning by Dr. Johnson's niece, and some salient points about the crime scene. Jeanine was a lot more nervous in front of the camera than she thought she'd be, but I was able to coach her and nudge her into her comfort zone, where she could get through her spiel without stumbling over her words too badly. Shooting this was, as she said, very different from what she's used to as a tour guide. Being directed on film (well, HD, actually) was nerve-wrackingly new to her. But she said she enjoyed the experience a lot and was looking forward to future shoots, when we plan to go to other crime scene locations around the city.

The only potential clusterfuck occured when Peter called early in the morning to announce that his microphone of choice, a nice little battery powered body mike, had been broken by the last bozo he loaned it to. If we were to get any good sound, he'd need an AC outlet. It was either that, or use a hand held mike, and I didn't want Jeanine standing there holding a mike and looking like a CNN reporter. Already downtown, I did a little hurried scouting and persuaded the manager of a swell little shop on Congress, Tesoros Trading Co., to let us run our 100' extension cord out the back door and into the parking lot. As a result, Peter captured Jeanine's voice to perfection. Hooray! So if you're in Austin and looking for a knick-knack place to blow your money at, do stop by Tesoros. They're the movie's first official "Special Thanks" recipient!

In all, a modest but, I thought, auspicious start to production. Very eager to get the rest of it in the can now!