First Day of Shooting

I get to the film crew’s guesthouse a few minutes before 5 so that I can help load the truck and get on the road. We need to start early so we start filming as the sun is coming up. That will do two things for us. The light is better then and makes for beautiful shots and our story starts off in the morning before the students are at school. I got plenty of sleep last night, so I’m not tired at all. I’m mostly excited to learn about being grip and lighting person and what that all entails. I’m full of excited energy because of all the new experience on the shoot and my first time traveling outside of the city to the surrounding villages. The equipment is in the back seats of the truck and there’s not much room, so I volunteer to sit in the back of the truck on small wooden stools.

I had driven through the countryside before when Caroline and I went on the Tuk Tuk to the waterfall, but this is different because we’re going much faster and through a new area. After about 40 minutes of driving we get to the village and pull our truck and fancy equipment right into the middle of an otherwise peaceful morning. As you’d expect, everyone was out watching us. We all go down to the riverside and that’s where Ben assigns us our duties for the rest of the shoot. Caroline is sound person and I’m lighting person. She got the big boom stick with the fuzzy microphone thing and I got an extendable pole with two high-powered lights on the end and an umbrella to soften the light. Aaron, husband of a PoP colleague, and good PoP friend was the assistant cameraman. He basically assisted Ben with everything on the camera from holding the big rig it’s attached to all the way to turning it off and on. Our other PoP people were translating for the actors and on crowd control. Oh and the other roles already decided was Abby to direct the actors and be an overall control person of everything behind the scenes. Lauren, from PoP New York, was like the other half of Ben’s brain. She was there to make sure he connected everything back to what PoP wants and what they agreed on already. You could say she’s a bit of a director and quality control person.

We get the young actors down by the riverside and start to shoot their scenes. As we’re taking a break two boys come around the corner fishing off of their boat. This couldn’t have been more perfect because it’s exactly what we envisioned as being one of the opening shots and now it’s coming naturally and unplanned. Everything from the natural light, to the fog, to the scene around us was totally beautiful the whole morning. I got a few shots of the boys in the boat on my camera, but they will be much better quality when I get the same ones from my colleagues with much better cameras.

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That’s Abby nealing and talking with Ya, our deputy country director. Ben is standing with the camera and thumbs up and Aaron is the one holding and leaning over the camera.

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It’s kind of dark, but that’s Caroline and me with our equipment.

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Sorry for the butt shot… I wanted to show the woman standing right next to us still going on with her daily routine of laundry in the river and not even giving a care in the world to us.

Here’s a few different shots of the boys in the boat. I like the first one the best. Ben and Aaron are in the last one to give a perspective of them trying to capture the scene.

Boys in boat 1


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Filming two boys in boat

We cut the shoot by the river and on the way back up, I found a friend wondering what I’m doing.

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One of the boys in town by the house we are using to shoot. He had so much attitude and acted like he ran the whole village.

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There’s everyone in the house working on the scene. I’m looking over Lanoy, our Country Director, as she’s observing the scene.

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I posted this in the beginning, but here I am again holding the sun reflector. This was my other lighting tool. I took the sun and bounced it onto the side of the actors faces.

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Here’s Looney, our main actress, goofing with her friends.

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It got hot standing in the sun, as you can see on Aarons back. I worked on my Ghana head balancing skills and covered my self from the sun. It also got the kids to laugh and point at me.

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Half way through the day I called Andrea and asked if I could stay on and help the crew through Wednesday and she gave me the okay. Now, I’m really excited that I got to see this shoot today and the chance to work with them for the rest of the project.

We went on and on this day and I eventually stopped taking pictures because I and everybody else got tired. It was very much worth it because we got a lot of work done and some really great looking scenes. At the end I was standing with Ben as we are packing up and he shows me a few of the clips just put together real fast. I say one with a close up on Looney in a scene, which will almost definitely be in the final cut, that literally gave me the chills. He added another beautiful scene to lead up and we showed the complete scene to a few different people. I got the chills every time. That moment right there was worth all the hard work through out the day.

We rapped the shoot and the truck pulled up to tell us they’re heading back. I yelled for them to wait and immediately hoped in the back with the wooden stools. No one else joined and I didn’t care, I was just in love with the truck bed seat after the morning ride. I don’t think I’ll ever go back in the cab, even if it’s empty.

On the ride back I got to be totally silent, which was a great way to process the day. I leaned back and just watch the scenery as it went by. The sun was just setting, so everything looked beautiful and I really felt a great sense of appreciation for everything. The perfect way to end such a great day.


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