Monday, December 19, 2011

Measuring Matthew film

Back in October, I was on set for a short film being made of one of my ten-minute plays, Measuring Matthew.  The film is directed by Boston filmmaker Gul Moonis and produced byJeanne Shapiro and Shemoon Films, with the intention of sending it various festivals and competitions around the country early next year.  So who knows, it might be coming to a theatre near you someday.  (And certainly will be available on the Internet.)

The whole thing happened purely by luck.  Gul stumbled across my web site and started reading some of my script samples (Sure am glad I finally added them).  Several caught her interest and we had lunch.  In no time, I was adapting Measuring Matthew for the screen.  The stage version is published by Brooklyn Publishers, and has been produced by small theatres and schools across the country.

When I showed up for my two days on set (they shot for five days total), I was brought back to my college days, when I was making lots of short films and was certain that I was destined for a career as a screenwriter.  (Hey, I did eventually get one optioned by Hollywood.)  Except this crew was a lot more experienced and a lot bigger than anything we ever put together.  There were twenty people on set working to turn this into a film worth watching.  I did my fair share of standing around watching people work, but I also got to act as security guard, stand in for corpse, sherpa, and grip.

Back in the day, we shot everything on actual film, either 8mm or 16mm.  Measuring Matthew will be in HD video, shot on a camera that looked like a regular old SLR camera, but was a lot more powerful.  We had a great cast, including actor Nael Nacer, with whom I've worked before and whose work on stage I've always admired.  The two lead actresses, Renee Donlon and Audrey Claire Johnson, are talented young women I think you'll see often in the Boston film scene.

I was reminded how much the process of producing a film differs from producing a stage play.  There's a lot more control over the final product of a film, but the process can sometimes be tedious for the people involved--there's so much waiting involved.  (I happen to love the initial writing process for films--they may be the most fun of all scripts to write.)  For theatre, half the fun is in the process, and sometimes the process of putting the play on stage is more fun and fully engaging for the people doing it than for the audience.  For me, I'm grateful that 2011 has had me working on books, stage plays, films, and radio plays. 

Now Measuring Matthew is being edited.  I can't wait to see how it all comes together.  I'll paste some photos from the shoot below.  And the film has its own Facebook page, where you can lots more photos and links to interviews with the cast and crew, and find updates on how it's coming along.  And the DP, Chris Portal, has a nice post with lots of photos, too.

Lots of people crammed into a small balcony, for a ledge scene six flights up.

 Inside a very nice apartment we borrowed, all for some very quick shots that might take up all of about 10-30 seconds on screen, by the time it's done.

This an exterior shot that goes with the balcony scene.  The character is out on a ledge, way up high, but the magic of movie editing allowed us to shoot part of it only a few feet off the ground.  This was my first day on set, with nice and warm weather.  We shot at this location again a few weeks later, and it was cold and damp.

And this is me on the final night of shooting.  Talk about super long day--we were on set by 7:30 am, and worked until midnight.  I was acting as a stand-in for a character who gets run over by a car, so I had to lie on the cold ground while they got the lighting right.  Ah, the glamorous life!  At least I got to wear a coat and gloves--the actor who was in the shot had to be on the ground just in plain street clothes.  He was tough.

That's about it.  I'll let you know when the actual film is ready to be seen.


Sumanth said...

Wow... so, the director stumbled upon your script eh... its always very cool to hear about how it all came together! Nice post!!- Sumanth.

Patrick Gabridge said...

thanks, Sumanth! I hope your new film is going well.