Tag Archives: Rob Fulton as Pete

Last Day shoot

Pete and Kate embrace after the ruins
Click to see full size!
The last scene in the film was also shot on our last day with the Canadian actors and our last full day at the Casa.

Although not completely true, it is almost true that we shot in sequence… very helpful in the playing out of the story.

My last scenes on this last day were with Rob as Pete and Oliver as Enrique, and are in fact the last scenes of the film.

Here is a production still of Pete and Kate’s embrace.
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I love that still and the whole look of the scene.  The no-budget filmmaking gods were really pulling for us on this day.  When I arrived at the location around 5 pm to shoot this, the penultimate scene of the movie (put another way, when I walked from the deck of our casa to the front step of our casita), the 3 square feet I wanted to shoot in were unusually charged with energy.

I called Rob over to stand in for himself as I set up the shots.  Rob is an excellent stand-in, and never fails to look almost exactly like himself.  The scene is the culmination of Pete and Kate and Eddie’s story, and is fraught with desperate passion, and while some truths are spoken plainly, much darker realities remain just below the surface yet in plain view for the audience.  I felt the scene was very well written, and required only simplicity and truth in the shooting and performance.  I suppose if I’d had millions of dollars to spend instead of the $500 I had left in the budget to get home, I might have used a crane shot to establish, and, oh, circled the actors on a dolly a la Vertigo, and had big dark special effects clouds rolling in from the ocean.  Yeah, that would have been great.

What was provided for me was much more subtle and interesting.  I moved Rob into a very specific spot under some palms.  The knife-like shadows of the palms slithered frantically over his face and body in the insistent wind, and rustled audibly in the mic under the dialogue.  The sun was low and made half of Rob golden and threw the other half in shadow.  I blocked Katie’s entrance into the closeup so that as they kissed their faces were alternately suffused with light then swallowed in shadow.  I deliberately crossed the axis several times because of the chaotic emotions in the scene.  Then as their faces finally part in a storm of light, and Kate delivers a single word offscreen which destroys Pete, I let the camera iris Pete into darkness again, except for two points of sunset light in his eyes.  As God is my Gaffer, it was perfect. 

I caught Pete’s final walk away into a frozen isolated position on the beach in the last rays of dusk.  And that was a wrap for Rob on the picture.

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Chicxulub Shoot – Day 1

Directions in Chicxulub
We took yesterday “off” to get the cast and crew settled, but that really meant a lot of running around in Merida getting SIM cards for phones, groceries, booze, etc.

Up before the crack of dawn to shoot the arrival of the Canadian characters in the village of Chicxulub, and their hapless march down the beach.  Don’t think anyone was happy about getting up in the dark (remember to check your shoes/clothes for scorpions) but the light was nice and fragile and the streets were pretty empty when we got into town.

This is the first time I’ve used the Steadicam rig provided by the excellent Mr Steve Abbott.  Steve’s a pal and screenwriter back in Toronto.  He’s a serious man, as this anecdote will prove.  Decided a week before coming down here I reeeeeeally wanted a tripod with a fluid head mount to do smooth pans and such.  Asked Steve if he had any idea how I could lay hands on one for little to no money (how to get a proper heavy tripod on the plane without paying for excess luggage was to be my next question).  Steve said I would be better served by a Steadicam rig.  I said sure, but they cost a fortune.  The next day Steve and his wife Darleen bought us a brand new official Steadicam Merlin/arm/vest rig.  He said since it was now apparent that we were actually doing this insane thing, we should have the right equipment.

Independent filmmakers, you need people like this.  People who believe in you and demonstrate it in a useful way.  Plus, I’m sure he’ll be asking me for some unspeakable favour when I least expect it.  So it goes.

It’s a very delicate piece of equipment, finicky to set up.  Sweated bullets over it the night before shoot.  It works very well, but beware:  if you are using the Jr. with a lightweight camera (which the XH A1 is, even at around 6lbs.) it’s going to spin like a pinwheel if there’s any wind.   Which there was, of course, shooting on a beach.

The few locals who were out and about were clearly intrigued by the appearance of several gringos, one of whom had a robot arm growing out of his chest attached to a large camera.  But, it being the Yucatan, everyone maintained a polite, unquestioning distance.

A struggle to keep the camera somewhat stable while following actors all the way from the main square to the beach — but in the end perhaps only 30 seconds of footage are steady enough to be used. We shall see.

For the final shot at the beach, asked the actors to just walk along the shore dragging their suitcases until I yelled cut.  It looked beautiful, seagulls soaring and diving all around them at sunrise.  By the time I was done with the shot Rob, Emily, and Phil were too far away to hear me say cut so I had a cigarette and waited for them to get tired and turn around.  Which they did, just before they became specks in the distance.

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