After we finished planning THE CYCLE and were packing our bags, ready to film it in the U.S, I was feeling a little overconfident that this would be the easy part.
And God decided to teach me a lesson about that.
Right from the get-go, problems came up– simply getting our equipment to America was a challenge! As it turns out, carrying a couple cameras, tripods, and some rolls of film, plus all the things you’d usually need on a long-ish vacation with only four people is easier said than done. Especially when said cameras look suspiciously like mini-cannons to airport security. Still, we did manage to get our stuff across the Atlantic, and after a short stop in Chicago, we were on our way to the area my uncle lives in, where we wanted to film.
However, we ran into a little bit of a problem on the night before we started shooting. You see, the film was originally going to be called “Windows to the Soul,” because all of the characters were going to have different colored contact lenses. But the problem was, due to some less then optimal organization on my part, I didn’t realize that I couldn’t put in contacts until the night before we started filming. So, we simplified the visual metaphors of the movie, rewrote, got rid of a couple of scenes, and just scrapped the eyes idea altogether, all on the night before shooting began. Oopsy.
Luckily, the first day of filming went well, and we got everything which was on the schedule. Afterwards, since we had done a lot of very careful storyboarding and shot planning beforehand, we got through a couple days without any complications, aside from the fact that we had to do location scouting for scenes right before filming them. The biggest challenge we faced was near the end of our week of filming. Coincidently, it was when we were filming the “portal scene” near the end of the film.
We didn’t want to use a green screen for the scenes where my “clone” and I were both in the frame. So, instead, we found someone who looked roughly like me and was about the same height, and used camera trickery to make it look like there were two of me. The issue with doing it this way was that my body double could only be there for filming on two days, so we had to plan everything very carefully. And on the day we were filming the scene where the main character walks through the portal, it was like nature itself was giving us the middle finger. Firstly, everyone was tired from the filming we had already done on that day. Secondly, it looked like it could rain, which would have been a huge problem, since it was the last day my body double could be there for filming. Thirdly, and maybe most problematically, the light on that day refused to cooperate. The entire time we were shooting that scene, clouds kept appearing, blocking out the light, and the moment we set things up for darker lighting, they disappeared again, meaning we had to set up for brighter light. And as soon as we did that, the clouds came back again!
Despite how complicated it was to shoot that kind of scene, and nature’s constant attempts to screw us, we managed to get the scene done, and got all the footage we needed of me and my body double together.
And then it rained on us on the way to our motel.
However, despite how nightmarish it seems when I describe it here, I really did love making this movie, and yes, even the more….difficult parts. it was just really fun.
Ill be talking about the scanning and editing process, and the difficulties there too, next time.