Most summers around this time, I look forward to spending days and nights in Grant Park, hanging out with mostly kids younger than my kids, taking in the vastness of Lollapalooza, which is my annual crash course in popular music. And while I’ll still be there a bit this year, we’re once again spending long summer days and nights on a movie set. It was just two summers ago we shot “Signature Move” in August. (If you have not seen it, it’s on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play and Fandango Now, so you have no excuses.) This July and early August, we’re teaming up with Jennifer Reeder again to make her feature “Knives and Skin.”
It’s hard to describe how fully immersive the process is, unless you’ve done it. A typical day: Wake up between 5am and 5:30am and do my regular morning things, like check all the bank accounts for the various businesses, check the overnight VOD results for “Signature Move,” read three newspapers, take a quick Spanish lesson, skim new email and grab a shorter run than I’d like. Shower and try to head to set around 7am in hopes of arriving by 8am or so, thanks to traffic and/or long multi-leg CTA journeys.
Crew call at 8am coincides with continental breakfast and the set is instantly buzzing with activity, as the lighting, grip and camera crews scurry to get set up and ready for a 10am shoot time. The first actors will arrive at 8:30am, giving them time for hair, makeup, wardrobe and some rehearsal with the director. As producers, those first two hours are a hodgepodge of check-ins with cast and crew to ensure everything is on track and everyone is reasonably happy, problem solving around the inevitable crises small and large that seem to surface daily and trying to get out ahead of future problems. When the camera rolls at 10am, we’ll either take a space behind the monitor to see how things are looking for a particular scene or, more often than not, get out the laptop and start editing Newcity stories or processing one of the 500 emails we’ll get each day. This cycle repeats itself all day, till we wrap around 8pm and we begin our journey home. A quick dinner at home, some catch-up on projects for the film or Newcity, and to bed by 10pm or so in order to repeat the cycle tomorrow.
See you in Grant Park. I’ll be the one napping in the shade.