Day 2 of shooting was really good. The San Diego Museum of Art was gracious enough to rent their auditorium to them for the afternoon, and what a great space it was. I can't thank them enough for being so hospitable and helpful. This would be the first full day (as in 8 hours) of shooting, with some intense scenes and a lot of blocking. It was also the first time we all got to see our family of magicians together at once, and they look great together. This weekend I looked at a couple of scenes from that day, and it sends chills down my spine. The acting is so good (thanks, Jose Yenque, Lizet Benrey, Tim Clifton and Maka), and the shots are beautiful (thanks Cody, Sergio, Phillip, and Nate!), and the extras are all wonderful. I'm watching them without sound at this point (my editor has some syncing to do), and they still are in such rich technicolor life, I find myself in awe of how beautifully everything came together. I wish I could take all the credit, but most of the credit really lies with all the people who care about this film as much as I do, namely my producer, Sybil Wendler, my DP Sergio Ulloa, and all my actors. I also have to say that all the PAs that showed up not knowing what they were getting into really kept things going. From our camera AC's to AD Josh Krohn to those working on sound, slate, grip, and makeup, everyone worked so smoothly together, it was really the most fun I have ever had on a shoot. I also got a kick out of Jose flinging his magician cape around the stage like a proud bullfighter. If time weren't a factor, I would have asked to see it 10 more times!
I'm planning on posting some pictures soon, but I have to get the card first, since my batteries ran out on Day 2.
Day 3 was probably the most stressful day, mostly because there was a lot to get through, there were a couple of complicated scenes, and we were in someone's house. Seriously, folks, this house is beautiful. It was built in the 1880's and wonderfully restored to its former glory. All the furniture in the house came with it, down to the grandfather clock. And those beautiful wood floors? They're original. So yes, there was a piece of me that was nervous about shooting there, since I would have been mortified if anything had been damaged. (spoiler alert: we didn't damage anything) I did, however, make them put cardboard under all the light stands, and they did me one better and made little cardboard 'shoes' for each leg of each stand. Those guys are brilliant, I tell you.
At this point, I have to talk about Lizet Benrey. She was trained in acting, even though she devotes much of her time to her beautiful paintings. Ever since she agreed to do the role, she has expressed some hesitation about her ability to pull it off, since it is such a demanding role. I never had these doubts. On that third day, I think Lizet (and all of us) realized how well she actually had done, as her performance (in my opinion) was pitch perfect. I remember watching her during one take about halfway through the take, thinking that this was what I knew had been inside her the whole time, and now she was bringing it out and letting us all see. It was truly remarkable and fantastic. I couldn't have asked for a more heartfelt and soulful performance.
I also want to mention how great Larissa Garcia was as the daughter (Maya). Larissa is only 15, but has a wealth of theater experience that gives her a maturity that is often not seen in people much older than she. Larissa is also (wonderfully!) a great listener, and takes direction like few actors I have ever worked with. She jumped into every scene with the same eagerness, even though we were all exhausted, and turned out consistently good takes, saving us all a lot of time and frustration. I can't help but feel like we've discovered a great young talent, and I'm so proud to be a part of her acting adventures.
Anyway, I do have pictures of Day 3, so check 'em out. And thanks for keeping up with our project. We also have a short behind-the-scenes video if you'd like to check it out.