The Happy Accident

  Lee and sebrina 1 From Sebrina Siegel, our leading lady on REMAINDERED...

I once had a friend ask me what a “happy accident” was, and I explained the term (which I had learned as a photography student and frequently used) as best I could. I so wish I had had the filming of today’s final scene for REMAINDERED to give as an example.

We’re at the Sureway in Henderson, Kentucky, surrounded by about 20-30 crew members, extras, and local observers, and we’re filming our last scene…which is actually the first scene of the film.

It’s a wide shot, an attempt to get the entire master scene and include the grocery store background, the extras picking their produce and ignoring “Kevin” (actor Eric Altheide), the crazy wart lady (actress Lisa Baldwin) walking in for a short, absurd discussion, and finally, the fatal meeting of “Kevin” and “Megan”. The steadicam is slowly making its way around the area and just as the scene begins an old (very) man walks in to frame behind his grocery cart. He slowly pushes it up to the table, looking curiously at the books that are displayed just so and the “author” next to them, likely wondering, “Now just who the hell is this guy?”

The man, his gums smacking and lips actually flopping around a bit, touches one of the books, maybe trying to figure out if it’s something he’s read. And on cue, Suzy, the wart lady, comes into the scene, choosing to stay in character as she asks about wart cream and steadily ignoring the elderly gentleman standing next to her, gums visible as he gapes at her rudeness.

After a few looks at this crazy woman, the man slowly takes his hand off the book, and glances again at our “author”, now even more curious but not about to interrupt the wart lady. He backs his cart away from the table…and over to the bin of potatoes behind our “set”.

Somehow…and we really don’t have any idea…he still hasn’t noticed the many lights around the table, the steadicam or its operator, Adam Tyler, who is slowly moving around the space, the gigantic, fuzzy boom that is directly over our “author’s” head, or the huge crowd of onlookers just past the table who are stuffing their fists in their mouths and banging each other on the back, trying so hard not to laugh out loud.

The other extras are cued in as the dialogue continues between the actors, and they wisely, as if they’ve done it a million times, ignore the gentleman at the potatoes and still hit their marks, even if he is a bit in their way. The wart lady is discussing cats now, and the man continues to glance over a few times, even while holding his potatoes up in the air for inspection. They look pretty good, so he moves over to the apples…which happen to also be within the frame. These don’t require as much inspection so he chooses his select few and hobbles out of frame, slowly pushing his cart, and our scene continues to its finish…without a hitch.

It took our AD, Rachael Nunn, a few tries to get this man to understand that he’d wandered onto a film set, and that we really, really needed him to sign the release…this footage was not to be lost!

And so ends the third day of shooting REMAINDERED, the short film written and directed by Lee Goldberg. It seems to me that just the fact that I was lucky enough to be cast as the female lead in this project was a happy accident. I learned of the auditions only the day before they ended, and learned from casting that the video auditions needed to be in that day as well. But a call to the producer bought me a weekend, begging John to video it and play my off-screen partner got me the audition tape, and I was lucky enough to get the part.

I was a bit nervous, working with a director who has that caliber of success in Hollywood, but numerous email conversations about character, wardrobe, and angles eased the jitters.

I won’t go day by day, but I will say that I’ve learned so much about…well, so much working on this project.

I learned that nerves are good for me. I learned that having a kick-ass, completely together AD on set is imperative to the film’s success.

I’ve learned that I want to hire Pablo as my own personal assistant – just long enough for him to organize everything around me.

I’ve learned that implied nudity means that it’s easy to cover you in ways to make the audience think you’re uncovered, but it’s much more difficult to keep covered while the crew is trying to “imply” the nudity (I am happy to report that we were completely successful with this…thanks to the use of many safety pins).

I’ve learned that it’s possible to wrap on time with the right amount of preproduction preparation and a strict AD.

I’ve learned that the lighting crew can literally save a scene.

I’ve learned just how much talent we have in N.W. Kentucky.

And I’ve learned that Lee Goldberg is not only a great writer and producer, but an outstanding director who is not afraid to give direction, and when he does, does it well and with purpose.

Really, what a great experience.

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