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The Hayley Project: Day 3

June 23, 2007

Day 3- Sunday. So today was a day of improvising. One of our actors was tasked with bringing 5-10 extras for a scene but everybody but one canceled on him the morning of the shoot. The scene was supposed to be a Shakespearean play rehearsal in Central Park. Fortunately, one of his friends did show and he came with Shakespearean clothes. To fill the void of extras, we went around and asked people to just join in on the scene. We managed to get 5 extras and the scene played out great. Our two actors Dennis and Ethan were fantastic and great at improv. So we let them run with the lines and make their own comedy. It’s going to be hilarious.

After this scene, we ran into some problems. One of our actors we casted for a small role in a softball scene wasn’t working out. He had trouble remembering his lines and overall, I don’t think he was the right fit for the role. We had auditioned him previously but not for the role we gave him and unfortunately, it just wasn’t a great casting call. On top of that, the helicopters in central park kept circling above us, which screwed with our sound. Oh, and did I mention it was hot outside? We fell behind schedule and Jato and I decided that there was a good chance we wouldn’t have time to get through the next two scenes at Paolo and Dave’s place. One of the two scenes included our softball actor, but we decided to let him go for the day, knowing we probably didn’t have time to include him. However, when we were heading to their place, we came up with another idea. We decided it was possible to rewrite the scene that included the softball actor to focus exclusively on the other two actors we had. If we were able to pull this off, it would be a major win because we wouldn’t have to schedule the other two actors again, nor would we need to reschedule our softball actor. From a production optimization standpoint, this was definitely worth going for.

We had to move fast because our main actress had to leave to go to work at 7PM. We literally tried to shoot everything with her in it and planned to do the reverse shots with the other two actors after she left. While Jato was filming episode 9, I rewrote episode 6 so that we could finish the scene today without the use of the character in the softball scene. Frankly, I think we stressed our actress out. Not only were we switching from scene to scene based on the camera angle, but we also changed lines in episode 6. Since she didn’t know the lines, we had to basically have the other actors say their lines, have her look at the script, pause, and then deliver her lines as if she were “in the moment”. She didn’t seem happy about this process, and I don’t blame her. But given our time constraints, we had to get her dialogue in before she left. It’s kind of funny, because this type of process is exactly what my high school friends and I used when we were in college. Kind of amateurish but it actually can work if you have strong actors. And our actress is very strong.

After she left, we had a little more time to work with the other two actors so some of the stress left. They were great and like the previous day, I think their characters will add a lot of comedy to the series. And quite frankly, I think the rewrite worked to perfection. There was no need for the third character in the scene and the two actors we used were great at playing off of each other. After we were done shooting them, we took some shots of the game Guitar Hero on the television. This was the last shot of the day. And fittingly, while we were shooting this, a bulb exploded. Literally, glass blew up in a China Ball. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. But that signaled the end of our shooting day.

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