Just got off doing Production Design on the shoot for the “A Thousand Bayonets” trailer. I know Josias Tschanz (director) and Joel Mark Harris (writer) mainly because I worked with them on a previous trailer called “I Am Vengeance.” They made a feature film called “Neutral Territory” that showed at quite a few festivals over the past year and they’re working to capitalize on that momentum (as well as the buzz surrounding the novel) to try and get their next feature funded and made.
As with I Am Vengeance, this trailer shoot was both hectic and professional. Josias has great contacts so he can usually get quite an experienced crew and gear to film his projects. That said, shooting a trailer with 11 locations in just two days is no easy feat.
On Day 1, we began at an office downtown which I dressed as a newspaper office, complete with logo and some fake newspapers. I also generated a ‘file’ on the principal bad guy in the trailer, played by Blu Mankuma.
Next we moved to Ceili’s pub which, after some major rearranging of furniture and the addition of my home-made-home-depot stripper pole, was transformed into a strip club. The originally cast ‘stripper’ never showed so it was a mad rush to find someone at the last minute to fill the role! Dressing this set also included an impromptu visit to a porno store on Granville to try and find a poster of a ‘stripper’ to put on the wall in the background. We managed to make it work with a 3 page fold out spread from Penthouse.
Last but not least we moved to a fantastic apartment in Gastown. Up on the 41st floor there was an incredible view of the city which set the backdrop for the scene. Then came a sexy bedroom scene (and a closed set.)
On Day 2, we headed out to a Langley farm where we were able to film scenes in a stable, garage, barn, and a small creepy room – all within about 50 feet of each other. In the stable we got to work with Bounce, a lovely horse who had quite a personality.
Then on to the garage which was so full of tools and things it hardly needed any set dressing. All we did was add the car.The creepy little room was my chance to really ‘design’ the space and I turned up the crazy. I even added a dead bird (found on site) to the scene, which Josias teased me about. This was also a chance to see the dog tags I had made up close.
Finally, we got to our big shootout scene. Taking advantage of the full loft space of the barn, and with the guidance and professionalism of Jon Funk handling our weapons and stunts…I think we pulled off an amazing scene, despite running later than scheduled at the location.I have never been on a set where there was live ammunition (blanks) in the guns and we were getting REAL muzzle flashes and bangs (vs. adding them in post.) It was exciting and a little scary (and very loud) but in the hands of Jon, I felt safe.
All in all, tired, sore, smelling of barn and ears ringing… I had a great time.