The gaffer and crew on Reluctant Porn Star are some of my favorite people in the world to work with, no matter what it is, but the DP on the show, while a very nice guy, isn’t really used to working on low-budget shows.
He’s used to working with higher budgets which means more equipment and larger crews (and rigging crews, which RPS doesn’t have), so the lighting set-ups are way too big for the small crew that we have.
Our location was a neighborhood of some very lovely hillside homes in the south bay – the views from the houses were amazing, but the problem with working around hillside homes, is, well, the hillside.
Our truck was down a very steep hill from the house where we were shooting, so anything that we needed had to be brought to the set in a stakebed (if we could get one. Transpo only had three since it’s a low-budget show), or carried as trying to push even a lightly loaded cart up an 18% grade is hilarious, but ultimately futile.
Our first shot was day exterior, which didn’t require any lighting, which was good as we had to run cable up the hill and down the hill for the night exterior. Since they were looking at the street, we had to run the cable through the yards of the houses – over the fences, through the ivy, etc.. We also made an attempt to pre-light by placing some lamps in the yards where we thought they might work.
Up the hill, down the hill. Up the hill down the hill. My legs were screaming well before lunch.
Of course, any attempts we made at pre-lighting went out the window when we started actually lighting.
I’ve mentioned before that there’s a difference between actual dark and cinematic dark. The latter requires a surprisingly large number of lights even for a small area, and since we were spread out over an almost-vertical city block, we used pretty much ever light in our truck.
Right after we’d lit and shot one direction of the night exterior, it started to rain. Since there was no way to shoot the reverse of a huge wide shot with rain when the first half had no rain, they told us to wrap everything and they’d come back another time and reshoot it.
Two hours later, right after we’d finished wrapping, we were informed of the plan to shoot the reverse tomorrow, so we’re going to have to re-run all the cable and re-do all the lighting.
I managed to get home just before the sun came up.