Red, White and Blue: Part Two -- On the Set


RWB slateContinued from Part One ...

Having a film crew and cast set up for two days of shooting Simon Rumley's latest film Red, White and Blue in our house was what I'd expect it would be like to have an small army moving in. Despite the small production, at least 20 people invaded our house en masse with cinematography and sound equipment, wardrobe, and makeup supplies. It was quite obvious that by day 12 of the 18-day shoot the crew knew exactly what needed to be done as they quickly set up.

Our house had been selected to be the home of slacker bandmates Alvin (Nick Ashy-Holden) and Franki (Marc Senter). Production designer Josh Crist dressed the house with band posters, Lone Star beer bottles, and other "slacker" accoutrements. My boyfriend's PA system was assembled in the garage along with a loaner drum kit. As the first scene was set up, neighbors I had never met before came out of their houses, inquisitive about the "punk rock" band playing in our garage.

Slacker bandmates

Writer/director Simon Rumley, line producer Paul Knaus, and Josh Crist visited the house a few times during the location scouting. Josh came by a day early to "dress" our house for the initial scenes. My boyfriend and I had to constantly remind ourselves that we were living in a "hot set" where nothing could be moved, especially when we had a day between two shoots.

Shooting was done with minimal lighting, with very little support beyond what is already present in our house. This technique contributes to Simon Rumley's desire for a more natural look. Red, White and Blue director of photography Milton Kam's verité shooting style has contributed to that look in their previous collaborations The Handyman and The Living and the Dead.

Watching the filming from behind the scenes was quite enlightening. We were able to see how some of the shots were set or prompts were given to the actors in multiple takes. Most scenes included only one or two actors at a time and a few crew members, so there was often down time for the remaining cast and support crew. A few folks passed time by catching up on email through our wireless network or reading a book from our shelves. Even Noah Taylor was seen relaxing in our guest bedroom between scenes.

First Assistant Director Joseph Garza and Director/Writer Simon Rumley

My personal observation was that one of the more challenging aspects of this film shoot was the Texas heat. Temperatures hit the triple digits most days, and efforts had to be made to keep the camera from overheating. To prevent the noise of our A/C unit from being picked up by the sound recording, the A/C was turned off for most of the shoot. When it gets hot, temporary tattoos melt, tape won't stick -- but no more details, don't want to give away the plot!

Despite the stifling heat, we had a great time with the cast and crew, all of whom who were courteous and appreciative of us opening our home.

[Photo credits: Debbie Cerda, more photos here]