The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 14

Day 14. The crew has been looking forward to this day for while, 14 days to be exact. Yes, we were filming in an official police building but it was more because after this day we get a week and a half break for the Thanksgiving holiday. So everyone was on their A-game to make sure we get through this day as fast and as smooth as possible.

Even though it was neat to be in a police office building, it was on a Sunday and nothing crazy was happening. But that’s how you get into some locations or really the only way, depending on where, whenever it is least busy and we won’t be in the way. We have a guy on the inside that gets us in police buildings like this or around police vehicles, it’s good to know the right people. Although, I’m making him sound a lot cooler than he actually is because he’s a Packers fan, but we won’t get into that right now.

We hustled through Day 12 pretty effectively and I was pleased. Apart of the day were car scenes, so that meant the actors, the sound guy, and Chason went driving around while the rest of us waited for them in the parking lot. That day I had a huge bag of sour patch kids so I was ok with being left behind. Although, I know Chason probably didn’t slate anything and I’m going to have to figure what scene is what later but it’s all good because I have this bag of sour patch kids. And “Slate” is what we use to mark each scene, people who don’t know the name usually just call it the clapper or something silly like that but the slate is pictured at the very top. They all got back and we were wrapped for the day. The beginning of our break had begun and then it slowly started to hit me that we start back up on some pretty long and difficult days, not the way I’d like to come off a break but you gotta do, what ya gotta do. Well, until next time guys.

 

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 13

Day 13. It was a new day. A clean slate, we got our bad day out of the way and it was all downhill from there (well, kind of). And I was on home turf. That’s right we were filming at my childhood house, which was a bit strange to have all these people in a place that you grew up but luckily there weren’t too many pictures of me when I was little. I mean there were but, they were all hidden on the side of the fridge so you really had to look for them.

Today, was a fun scene because it was another day with one of my favorite newest characters in Saving Harper Ross. And we were also planning on firing some blank rounds with the new prop guns we got for this season. Yup, that means action sequence. It’s always a good time when some rounds are going off. Of course, we informed the proper authorities that we would be filming in a house and the specific time frame we would be firing the rounds. You have to be very precise when planning things like firing blank rounds in an area that people wouldn’t know the difference and we could have SWAT outside my door in the matter of minutes. We took the proper precautions, Chason went through his prop gun safety talk, everyone received ear plugs, I ran over to both my neighbors houses to let them know we were filming a web series and that we were going to be firing some blank rounds so they wouldn’t be alarmed, and we were ready to go do our test.

Click, click….click, click…nothing happens. Chason checks the prop gun, looking for a jam or any other problem. Apparently, the rounds we thought were the correct ones were not and the prop gun wouldn’t fire. It was very anti-climatic. That just means we’ll have to fix it in post. “Fix it in post” is a running joke on pretty much any and every set you’re on, “post” meaning post production, which is where the editor of the film puts everything together, special effects are generated, coloring, etc. People usually say it when there’s a problem that you run into while filming that you didn’t think about and the more the ridiculous of the problem the funnier it is to say “we’ll just fix it in post”. I’ll leave you with that little gem, so the next time you’re on set and something happens, you can be prepared.

Day 13, was a fun day other than the misfiring of the prop guns. There was still plenty of action to go around even the crew got into it because the majority of the scenes were handheld, that means Caroline and Chason were really feeling it the next day because that means they had the camera on a shoulder rig following all the action. Even though the camera with all the bells and whistles weighs only 15lbs but doing it all day, it wears you down. I just have to hold the slate and my binder, I consider myself lucky when it comes to the amount of actual labor I have to do on set. Well, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 12

Day 12. With the good, comes the bad. I believe that each production can afford one bad day, just one. And this day was Day 12. Yes, we’ve had rain days and we were at times fighting against the light but this day takes it. Mind you, we have been filming for 12 DAYS straight and we are days from our week break. Our crew was pretty beat. Sleep? What is that? I don’t think I had more than 2-3hrs each night during the shoot. (Comes with the territory sometimes.) Filmmaking isn’t as glamorous as people think it is, yes, it’s really fun and way better than sitting at a desk for 8hrs. But, it’s long days, sleepless nights, early mornings, and very little family/ social time.

Day 12 started with a noon call time, which is good. Like I’ve said in the past it’s nice to have those late call times you can sleep or if you’re me, you use it to work on shoot schedules and call sheets for the next couple of days. We had two locations, one location we had control over and the second was in Dallas at a law office. The day was split weird because we had DAY and NIGHT scenes at the first location but then had a window from 5-9PM to be at the second location in Dallas. Plans were to shoot from 12-4PM, company move to Dallas, shoot 6-8:30PM, company move back to the first location, shoot from 9PM-11PM.

Tight schedules have worked for us before, everything has fallen right into place, we got this. I went in ready to go…that’s not how it went. Things started out with an actor showing up late. We needed to start, we got the shots of the other actor first, get the ball moving. The actor shows up and we get his coverage. Boom, knocked it out. But it’s close to 5PM, we load up quickly. Chason jets over to the next location, I’m getting the last few things and then head out too. This is peak traffic time though. We don’t get to location until around 6PM. And there was another mishap with another person turning up late but traffic was horrendous that day. It happens.

Day 12. We’re tired. We’re running behind. And to add to it all, we’re all starving. It was a bit of a mess. We get through the day though, that’s the thing about film you push through because the end goal is to get this movie or series shot. Anyways, we are spent by the end of it. Chason takes us all to ihop after because food. Since we don’t have any pictures of our ihop experience the picture below best represents how we felt that night. Also, there was a waiter there that was a huge Stone Temple Pilots fan, so be warned not to make fun of them around him. Well, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 11

Day 11 was a short day, with tiny little scenes that we needed to pick up. The highlight being that we filmed in a pretty cool gun store. Shout out to DFW Shooting Sports for letting us use your awesome store.

Other than that, it was us filming in a van while driving with a lot of other big bulky props. Since it was only essential crew (Actor, Director, AD, DP, and Sound) in the van because of the lack of space BTS couldn’t come along and take pictures of us trying not to fall over or fly out of the van.

I try to explain some film lingo that I might throw out there every once in a while, just so people can be in the know, because knowing is half the battle. (Go Joe!) “AD” stands for Assistant Director and “DP” stands for Director of Photography. Just like in every industry we like to shorten things or come up with funny names just to confuse people and make us sound impressive. But when someone yells for some C-47s or to 86 something…it’s just that they need clothespins (C-47s) or to get rid of something (to “86” something).

Day 11 may have been short but it had it’s moments of being fun. Well, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 10

Day 10. If you don’t recall in a previous post (I believe it was Day 4/5), there was a rain day where I needed to make some changes to the schedule and move around some scenes. This was the day where we could add scenes. It was a particularly light day, so throwing a couple of scenes on the shoot schedule wasn’t a big deal. We found ourselves back at La Playa Maya, setting up another scene with James and Amanda. Simple setup. Bing. Bang. Boom. Done with that, move on to the next location, turns out we had some extra time before the actors arrived to the next location and everyone is kind of hungry. Lunch? 

That’s right, we decided to make a quick stop to grab some food and knock off some time. But, that brewed us some trouble as it took forever to get anything there, and we had to rush out of the place to get to the next location, which luckily, was only down the block. After that, we had to be mindful of how much light we had left. It was late afternoon moving into the evening and we needed to get two scenes. We weren’t on the clock yet. It was a difficult scene though. A couple of moving parts and it took some time to get just right. And once we finally got them, I noticed we started fighting the daylight. We had to kick it into high gear after that to get the last couple of shots needed for the scene. Not only was I in a rush because we were losing daylight but I needed to go pick up my daughter from daycare and I did not want to be late.

Side bar, the craziness that is scheduling your family life outside of a production schedule, let me tell you what…shout out to spouses and grandparents who help out during Lumindeo productions! You are the best.

Day 10 ends on a rushed note, but a decent rushed note. I can’t wait to see on screen what happens on this quiet neighborhood in Fort Worth. Well, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 9

Day 9. This season we upped our locations, we got some really cool ones. And even though we locked down great locations, still one of my favorites is the lake house we shoot at just outside of Athens, TX. The lake house serves as the therapist office in Saving Harper Ross. It is out in the middle of no where, the house is so pretty, and the surrounding area is incredible. It’s a wonderful place to get away, which I believe is it’s purpose. A-get-away, so much so, that it has no wifi and if you have T-Mobile…well, let’s just say your phone turns into a glorified clock. Whenever we go to this location it is an all day thing, we get there early and stay until night usually.

Day 9 was a relatively easy day, we had a handful of scenes during the day and a just a few night scenes. Filming at locations we’ve already shot at before is great because we know all the tricks and it makes setups easier. It helps things go way smoother. We honestly didn’t have any hiccups this day, which was nice, we blasted through the handful of day scenes. Broke for lunch and then had to wait till it got dark. Waiting on the sun is a double-edge sword, you get to rest and have a bit of fun, like explore the various rooms and create exclusive crew member clubs that have extensive handshakes but, you also have to wait so long that you get tired and takes a bit to get back into the groove again.

Luckily, I had an outstanding crew that could just jump back into it. I on the over hand had to knock it to 3rd gear to get myself going. Once, we started going everything started running at 100%. In the end, we shot good stuff. All of our actors have a solid chemistry, and I’m excited to see it play out on screen. Once we shot our last scene, we packed and loaded up quickly to get on the road and head back home. Because even though the lake house is a great place to get away, eventually you have to go back. Even though every time we are about to leave the lake house, I just say that I’m going to stay and never leave. Alas, here I sit.  Well, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 8

Day 8. Let’s just say Day 8 started in a tizzy. We had some complications with a location, simple miscommunication about the availability of the house but that lead to some chaos. I was frantically calling/ emailing a bunch of actors to see if I could push up call times when in the back of my head, I knew it would be better to just push it back. It was definitely a test for me as an AD (assistant director) to handle and manage the chaos of rescheduling on the fly. After, I think the second call I decided that this wasn’t possible. and we decided that pushing back call times was the better route. I got everyone back on the same page and everything fell into place. Nothing like a little bit of chaos in the morning to get the engines going.

We arrived to the first location and we got to work. It was a quick scene we needed to get there and then we needed to make a company move because there were three locations we were using that day. Although, it was just one scene, it was a pretty emotionally heavy scene for James. Even though it was a serious scene, Dominique Meyers, who plays Max, still has us cracking up.

There were a couple of times where Chason busted out laughing because he had forgotten that he wrote a line and when he heard it, Chason would hold his laughter and after he said “cut”, would die laughing. 

 

We pushed through to the next location that we only had two scenes but we were racing because of the weather changing, it had started to get cloudy and there was a chance of rain. Yep, rain again. This time though, our luck held out and there was only the slightest of drizzles.

Day 8. We were really running and gunning, that’s the best way to describe it. Always moving with a purpose. Making sure we got everything we needed in a timely fashion. That’s actually how we usually like to shoot, at an upbeat pace. There were only a handful of times where I said…Today is where you can have a lot of creative freedom, today is the day where you can add a bunch of shots. I say that, but it was really only one day. We’ll get to that day at one point…until next time.

 

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 7

Day 7. We are at the “Enterion” building, which is in the heart of Downtown Fort Worth. It’s actually a great location. The great thing about shooting the second season of a series, all of the old locations you’ve filmed at, still remember you and let you film there again. That leads to some filmmaker advice, keep good relations with your locations. You never know when you’ll be needing them again or if they might have another cool location. But, honestly, in this industry it’s good to have a good rapport with everyone, and not burn any bridges because you just never know.

It’s always a fun day when 1.You have Rob Hudspeth on set, 2.The auditors (Who now have names!) are also on set, and 3.You have an action sequence. The only thing that was kind of a downer that day, it was a bit chilly when we were filming outside in the park in front of the building. We hustled through the one exterior scene and ran back up to the offices to shoot the rest of it.

Saving Harper Ross is considered mostly a drama, but with Chason there’s always some pockets of humor in there to keep things light. Rob and the two actors that play the auditors (Allan Thomas and Guy Valentino) have some pretty funny scenes. Their delivery is always on the mark. Like I said before, it’s always a good time when they are on set.

 Last season, Harper was only in a couple of scenes and even then, it wasn’t enough to give you a good idea of who Harper Ross was as a person. One thing you’ll notice with the second season of Saving Harper Ross, without going into much detail, there is a lot more Harper. And let me tell you what, Amanda Erickson does a killer job bringing Harper Ross to life. Amanda is a hard worker on and off set, always willing to help us out in any way possible. Plus, her social media game is real strong. You should definitely give her a follow, if you already haven’t to keep up with what she’s doing. And she usually does cool little BTS teasers for Saving Harper Ross during production. So keep a look out.

Day 7 was a packed day, we got some great stuff and I know I didn’t talk about it much but the small action sequence, it was pretty fun. I think a lot of our actors and crew got a great work out that day. Well everyone, until next time.

The Making of Saving Harper Ross season 2: Day 6

Day 6. We started about midday, which is nice. Having a noon Call Time is fantastic, that means sleep. Call Time is an industry term for the time actors or crew need to be at a certain location/onset. We had two locations for this day. One was near Downtown Fort Worth on this huge hill and you can see the skyline, it’s pretty epic. The other location was a diner in Mansfield. Both locations were pretty heavy, not that they had a lot of shots or difficult shots, but emotionally heavy. Moments of great inner conflict.

James DeWitt III is our lead actor, and he’s fantastic. He’s a very talented individual. James is really great to work with, whether if the day needs to change or if Chason has a crazy idea, he is always down.

The first location was an easy set up, it was hidden away but whenever you have camera gear out and a film crew you always run into some very interesting individuals, which is what happened to us. This gentleman was a “Professional Photographer” anyway, he wanted to see what we were doing and was on his own shoot himself across the way. A very random moment to say the least.

Then we had a company move to the diner in Mansfield. We filmed at Joe’s Family Restaurant in Mansfield. I was excited when Chason told me he actually knew Joe and that Joe wasn’t really a Joe but actually an Eddie. Funny how that happens. Chason had actually previously filmed at this location for The Network which is another show Lumindeo produces. Remember how I mentioned how Chason has some crazy ideas and James being willing to do it, this was one of those moments. And I’m just standing on the side thinking, “You want to do what?”. But, that’s a constant thing, that’s the Director/ AD dynamic. We always pull it off and we are super safe with doing everything but still.

Day 6 was fun, random run in’s with “photographers”, working with a handful of background actors, and crazy setups for small stunts in a diner. The greatness that is filmmaking, never a dull moment. Until next time.