The latest weather prediction was indicating thunderstorms in the morning and afternoon. Michael Knowles was due to arrive 5 AM in the morning from a return trip from LA and despite my colleagues attempts to calm me, my panic about the weather and the chances for a delayed flight were growing. It seemed that the odds were against me.
In the midst of my weather obsessed frenzy, the phone rang. It was a reminder about craft services. Since we would be mobile the entire time we needed non-perishable food and this time around, we had to pay more attention to special dietary needs. With so many last minute details I had not had a chance to return to the grocery store to pick up more bananas for one of the cast members. To that explanation came the reply, “but I need bananas to survive”. I hung up the phone and knew that dark clouds lay ahead.
[UPDATE: I have since been told that my version of this story was incorrect and that I omitted certain truths. So in an effort to set the record straight I am adding the following: The actor called to let me know that they were in transit at which point I rambled on, as I often do, in a frenzied and crazed panic about the possibility of having to cancel the morning shoot. Having had to run around like I was bananas, no pun intended, the week before making sure that everyone’s needs were met for craft services the last thing I wanted to deal with was a shopping spree the night before. In all fairness, my wife did most of the shopping. So when I explained that I was nearly out of bananas and was met with “but I need bananas to survive” (which I’m later told was a joke; who says that anyway?) I went bananas. Again, no pun intended, well maybe just a little:) So there you have it. I’m a little mad. To quote Norman Bates, “We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?”]
Rewind three weeks. Coming out of the auditions I slipped on the wet wooden floor and twisted my ankle badly. My foot had swollen so bad that it was difficult to remove my shoe. Fast forward a few days later to when my wife left an iron sitting in the middle of the dining room floor and I smashed the same foot into it. Fast forward two weeks to when I accidentally kicked the cat that was asleep at the foot of the bed while sleeping and was scratched leading to an infected big toe on the same injured foot. My podiatrist strongly advised me to stay off my feet until I recovered warning that if I had any signs of fever or malaise that I should go to the mergency room immediately.
Fast forward to last Saturday morning. After a sleepless night, I hauled my ass to the train station to pick up the cast. We arrived on location for the GEOKILLING episode at around 9 AM and had to hold up in Bill Diamond Productions’ studio until the rain let up shortly after 11 AM.
After banging out a few establishing scenes we made our way into the woods. The terrain was passable despite the recent rain but was definitely rough in spots. The deepest part of the woods that we would travel to was about 25 minutes in at a steady pace but took twice as long because we were hauling quite a bit of gear. Everyone pitched in without hesitation and with the impending threat of more rain, the parade of cast and crew made their way through the unyielding woods.
Joining the crew this time was long time friend, Ed Shelinsky who has been with me since the early FEAR OF THE DARK days. Ed’s a “no bullshit, tell it like it is, I’ll beat you down if you get out of line” kind of guy and it was a great comfort to have him by my side. Had he been on the set for the final days of FAIRVIEW FALLS I’m convinced that some of the nonsense that transpired would never have occurred. All Ed would have had to have done was flash that “I mean business” look and it would have been smooth sailing all the way. He’s mellowed in his old age but he’s still a force to be reckoned with and that’s why I was happy to have him by my side. We had a hell of lot to shoot in a short period of time and Ed, along with Jude and Mick, would ensure that things kept moving along.
Gene Mazza was all too eager to throw blood around and he’ll get a second chance because as fate would have it, we have to go back into those damn woods again next weekend for a reshoot on a pivotal kill scene. Despite the weather, we managed to knock out about 23 pages of the script but fought a losing battle against the setting sun.
Dark skies aside, things went surprisingly well due to the fantastic cast. Their enthusiasm was refreshing. Take after take, they brought an energy to the set that I haven’t seen in a very long time. I’m so exicted about the GEOKILLING episode more than ever. This two-part episode will end the season and is part of a three story arc that will likely continue into next season.
We left the woods around 9 PM at which point it was too dark to finish the remaining scenes. If we hadn’t lost those two hours to the rain we could have wrapped the episode. We’ll be heading to location around 5 PM next weekend to complete all remaining scenes.
Upon returning home I discovered that my foot had swollen even more. This past week I returned to the podiatrist. He took x-rays and did an ultrasound. There was nothing broken or fractured but he warned me again to stay off my feet at which point I just laughed. PS – I shot for five hours straight yesterday standing the entire time.
As luck would have it, last Sunday was gorgeous. Bad weather is no stranger to Light & Dark Productions. I shook my head, looked up into the sky and exclaimed “the sun is mocking me.”