Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Ronnie Day Project Production Blog - Episode 5

Here is the 5th installment of the Ronnie Day Project production blog series.

Episode 5: My Only Friend

One of the things I enjoyed most about shooting the Ronnie Day Project was the number of large setups we’d be doing. Between the party scenes, the scenes at the lookout, Jamie’s house exteriors and our street scene with Ronnie’s performances, we had a large number of day and night exteriors to accomplish with little amount of time.

Aside from the beginning and ending, Episode 5 takes place entirely at night. Not only did we have several shots outside of Jamie’s house but we also had Ronnie’s performance on the street. Unlike Episode 3, this performance was covered entirely on our jib. While Ronnie’s performance in Episode 3 was meant to feel more intimate and focused on the performance of the song (his emotions, tone, face, etc), we wanted Episode 5 to feel grander and more epic to fit with the rising emotions and structure of the song. The song itself feels bigger and what we wanted to do was translate the rise and fall of the structure to our camera moves. We wanted the moves to match the moments in the track.

For the story we shot everything in slow motion. This was planned from the beginning for several reasons. For one, when I was listening to the song, writing the treatment, I immediately saw everything in slow motion for some reason. Another was that this is a point in our story where everything is at our heaviest and lowest. Brendan has been laid as low as he possibly can while Jamie is beginning to show signs of reversal. She’s still with Derek but now she’s starting to see that he’s kind of a jerk (the “other” guys always are) and that she’s doing the same thing to Brendan that he did to her. In his time of need, she’s abandoning him as well. This is Jamie’s story as much as Brendan’s and I feel this song really focuses on Jamie. Up until now we’ve been half and half or even a little more focused on Brendan. Here, we’ve chosen to focus a little more on Jamie by presenting her with a question in the beginning of the episode:

“So make a decision Jamie…is it gonna be me or him?”

Jamie spends the rest of the episode trying to answer that question.

The night exterior scenes were fun to shoot because it required a lot of crew and a lot of equipment. You can see from both the behind scenes video and pictures that we owned the entire street we were shooting on. For Ronnie’s performances in particular we had to shut down the entire street. You can see in this video that we see all the way down the street to the far ends. In order for any of this to be seen in the picture we had to throw up big lights that raked the whole block.

Ultimately, I’m very happy with the way this video turned out. It’s one of the videos I looked forward to shooting the most. It’s a very dark video, for what I feel is a very dark song and it propels us in the right way, and at the right time in the series, towards the finale in which the question posed above will be answered.

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