I was lucky enough to be able to help out with the weekend shoot at the Vancouver Post Office building, so I thought I would throw down a few notes about my experience.
First a little background on who I am and how I fit in this picture: I have been writing screenplays and short stories for too many years to mention. I have shot many short films/videos since I was a teenager and have always dreamed of working in the film industry. My first passion was for makeup effects, but that soon turned to writing… fast forward many years to 1995. I met Craig through our mutual friend Martin Conde, with whom I had written and shot a few shorts. Craig and I hit it off and we started writing together (Craig - remember the script about three friends that decide to smuggle drugs to fund a movie about three friends smuggling drugs to fund a movie idea? Still has legs baby!)
Anyway that script was a bit too ambitious, so Craig and I wrote Jerry's Day, a feature about a guy turning 30 who is having relationship-family-friendship issues. We shot the movie over the summer of 1999 with Craig directing and me operating the camera. I didn't have much camera experience and the equipment we were using wasn't very good so the sound and picture quality wasn't quite there, although the actors gave fantastic performances, the crew was great and the story itself was pretty solid. I was stressed out the whole time thinking that I was not doing a good enough job for what the project deserved, and by the end of it Craig and I were barely speaking (my fault…). Even with all the problems we had, the experience is still one the highlights of my life.
The only advice I can give everyone that is working on this project is to keep going and stay as positive as you can, even in high stress/problem times. You will look back at these weeks with a HUGE amount of pride in the future, so keep going!!! As for Jerry's Day, we made a preview/trailer but that was as far as it got. I still have the digital tapes waiting to be edited in case anyone out there wants to give it a try - contact me through Craig. Really. I'm serious!
When Craig and Kennedy started working on this project, I was thrilled and jealous at the same time. I offered to do whatever I could to help out, except I was broke and was working full time so I didn't have much to offer. My wife Kerry did manage to get her Dad to donate the use of his house for part of the shoot, so that was something. But then Craig said he was shooting on the weekend! Yeahoo! I could help out after all!!!
Although it took a little persuading to get my wife and kids to agree to lose me for a weekend… I was able to help out at the post office.
How was the shoot? In on one word - HOT! Temperature, quality of work, some of the crew… it covers it all. The dolly shots using a mail cart were very cool. I actually got to be an extra for a scene!
As a crew member I only managed to screw up one take by being caught by the camera, so the damage was minimal. Unless of course, that was THE TAKE, and I'll feel guilt for the rest of my life.
Big thanks to Jill and Scott for being so amazing — Scott arranged for the locations, helped out with everything as a crew member (and extra!) and Jill and Elaine provided four star meals for everyone. I like food. I spent lots of time on Sunday snacking, but mostly during the scene in the meeting room where the temperature was hovering about 110. I'm sure some people sweated-out a few pounds over those hours! Well, I gained them back to balance it all out.
I'm excited to be able to help out again on Wednesday, and I'll be the first in line at the theatre when it comes out!
GO POGO GO!
— Kevin Bennett