This week’s episode of Squaresville is especially-enjoyable for me to watch because of a lot of the footage came from one of the days that I was working on the set. It wasn’t high-level skilled labor – when it comes to technical abilities, Matt has pulled together a really good crew and I am just about the last person on that set who should be handling the hard jobs under those circumstances – but you learn a lot about filmmaking even just by doing the unusual little menial jobs that come up.
Ep. 7 – Shelly at Large
In this case, during the “gym class” scenes, we actually took a golf cart that we had been using to shuttle equipment around and effectively made it into a camera dolly, with me driving either in front of or alongside the girls as they talked. Now, driving that over grass you were never going to get the smoothness of a real dolly on tracks, but when moving extra slow, for shots that only held briefly, you can get a nice shot that makes your movie look a little more polished and visually-sophisticated.
And in the final scene, where Esther’s brother pulls up to the curb to pick-up Shelly, that’s actually me and two other guys manually pushing the car into the frame. The reason you do this is because you’re trying to capture live dialogue from the actresses, so as to get as close to their natural, immediate performance as possible. And a real car engine in the background risks muddying up the recording of that for the sound mix – so, you push the car by hand, the extras all act like they’re talking without actually talking, and you get nice clean dialogue. Then you punch in the car engine later.
When you do it well (which Matt’s crew does), you’re not even aware stuff like this is going on, but every scene in a film, even super-expensive ones, often involves little low-tech tricks like this that help you assemble your project in the form people will find most digestible.
And besides that – it’s a funny and cute episode