Yeah, that’s right, I just said, “Gee Whiz”! Now, before you start forming any harsh opinions on the matter, hear me out. First off, I picked it up from Brandon. Yes, he has this quintessential every day American boy quality that allows him to utter phrases like, “gee whiz,” or “holy smokes,” or even “geewillickers.” I may once upon a time have looked like Opie from the Andy Griffith Show, but Brandon encapsulates the essence of the boy still, even into thirtysomethinghood. And this by no means is a bad thing, as a matter of fact, the dude pulls it off with grace and style. It’s, actually, a little infuriating at times, to be honest.
However, apart from the apparent nod to my producing partner, I use the term because I fully believe that there is no better term or phrase in our lexicon to fully explain or sum how production on our short film is progressing.
We have four days of filming in the can, most of the script at this point. We have one more full day of shooting to do with the full cast and crew and one abbreviated day to shoot without the cast. We do want to reshoot one shot that we just aren’t happy with at the moment, but we could use what we have if need be. However, we can make the shot happen and – as we’ve done throughout the process of making this film – we won’t settle. Ever. We’ve got the time, the willing crew and cast, and the ability to make every shot the best we can make it. So, we’ll take that shot again.
Now, I know this is my (our) movie, but man, does it look good so far. You folks that know me, realize that I don’t say things like that about my work very often, if at all. Maybe because this is such a collaboration I feel free enough to utter those words, or maybe because our Director of Photography is such a whiz at making our story boards come to life, or maybe it’s the sheer awesomeness of our actors making these written characters come alive before me, or maybe this film is really looking just that good. You’ll get your chance to judge it down the road, but for now I’m basking in the glow of our footage.
Okay, so even I will admit it’s not a movie yet, and for those of you who do know me, realize just how aware I am of my ability to screw this film up during editing. But, with that said, I never imagined it would look so great at this point. It looks, well, it looks like a movie. It really does, and I know this is going to cost me man points, but I really get…what’s the word?…excited?…emotional?…goosebumps?…you get the idea…every time I look at the footage.
This whole experience has been magical for me, it really has. And, I know that sounds a bit hyperbolic, but it’s true. That’s why “gee whiz” works so well in summing up our production experience thus far. It captures the sheer magic, innocence, and youthful exuberance of filming this movie. Both Brandon and I have loved movies and film since we were kids, we’ve dreamed of making or being in them, watching our work on the big screen before packed audiences. We’re not there yet, but we’re close, closer than I have ever been before, for sure.
But, this is also a family film, and not just a family film, but a film made by two families, and the phrase captures that as well. So, not only have Brandon’s and my family exhibited superhuman levels of tolerance and patience with us during this production, but our wives have been right there in the trenches with us working as production manager, script supervisor, food service coordinator, cast wrangler, you name it and they’ve worn the hat. Our daughters talk about it at school, I’ve over heard my oldest conducting auditions in the playroom with her dolls and stuffed animals for The Dragon Wall. On one scouting expedition both our oldests were pretending to sell advanced tickets to the first showing. The subject matter and genre is not only for families, but this film is at its heart, its soul, a family venture.
And, gee whiz, if our extended families haven’t gotten in on the act too. I mentioned food service before, both Brandon’s folks and mine have covered food for the cast and crew so far, making out of this world breakfasts and lunches to keep the cast and crew plugging along. Babysitting, food donations from family and friends, mobile homes, and even monetary donations from folks who would have done the previously mentioned had they the time or been closer. This film started as a product of two families, but this crew and cast are slowly becoming one large extended one.
And, again for those folks who know me, know “family” is not a term I use lightly.