Day Seven -- May 1
Why is it again that I like sitcoms so much? Oh that's right... because the hours are so good. Then why did I return home over 13 hours after I left this morning? 13 hours!?! And we didn't even tape in front of an audience tonight.
The day started as a typical pentultimate day. We had camera blocking to do. So we'd all run a scene, then they would set up the camera shots for it, and then we'd come back in and run it again. And again. And again. Yes, during the day there were a few more third and fourth passes through scenes than usual. And the delays caused by the extra run-throughs started to accumulate late in the day. But that still wasn't the worst of our problems. That's like saying the Titanic had some loose boards on the Lido deck.
What sank our ship tonight was then pre-taping two of the scenes for tomorrow night's shoot. (The original schedule had us pre-taping three scenes, but there was no time for that.) The first pre-taped scene was the subway scene between Hunter and Norris. That wasn't terrible. Long but not terribly long. They did a lot of takes and some specific shots, but it seemed to be flowing somewhat smoothly as we moved back to the apartment's foyer.
I thought we would never leave the apartment's foyer. We shot it like a regular sitcom, with four cameras riding around getting all the necessary shots and angles, but then something horrible happened. I have never been on a show like this before. It suddenly became a single-camera feature film. We went back to the top of the scene and shot a wide shot over the shoulder and then a tight shot over the shoulder and then dropped the jib and shot it coming down at an angle and then we turned it around for a three shot and we got close-ups of all the guys and my God, we just shot and shot and shot. And each of these set-ups involved take after take after take with just the slightest adjustments (or sometimes none at all) until every person that had ever driven by Greenblatt/Janollari was pleased with the take. Oh, it was agonizing, getting line-readings flown in from the collection of executives by the monitors, getting such specific shots while covering no one else. It really was as if we had a 50 million dollar budget and a 38-day shooting schedule. We put together a 90-second scene in almost three hours. An efficient sitcom can put together a 90-second scene in 30 minutes.
So was it worth it? I hope so. I will profusely apologize for all of my ranting and raving if the finished product is so phenomenal that it gets our show onto ABC's fall schedule. If it looks simply fabulous, then more power to them. I just don't know where all that footage is going to go. And do they want it to look like a film in only two or three scenes and then the rest will look like standard sitcom fare? Or is this just a two-scene taste of the ten-scene agony that lies ahead of us tomorrow night after the audience is sent home? That would make for a looooooong night.
So for now, I just need to clear my head, get some rest, and try to focus on the arrival of 200 fresh eyes and minds and smiles who want to hear, and hopefullly laugh at, out silly little sitcom jokes. It's been a long road to tomorrow night, but if we can stay our course, this Titanic just might make port by morning.
Go on to Day 8
Day by Day | Oh Grow Up | Ducey on TV