Frugal yet Filling

Has anyone here wondered how they’re still making movies out there or whether or not production is still actively alive? You hear all these things saying production is moving forward with new restrictions, or the postponement of films that were supposed to be big hits this season (Mulan, I’m looking at you).

Quarantine set a new record for the longest time I haven’t worked on a set since I embarked on the film school journey nearly two years ago. You can’t possibly imagine how excited I felt when I wormed my way back on set last month. I got to work on a couple of projects in July – and boy were they something! 

Filming in the midst of a pandemic is definitely an original experience. Between the total number of personnel reduced, gloves and face masks part of on set gear, and the attempts to maintain at least six feet apart from everyone else, it all comes down to one thing: safety first. It’s no longer “strength in numbers” but rather “less is more.” Prior to getting on set, everyone had to be tested for COVID-19. A good thing too, because that way we were able to work without worrying too much about the virus being transmitted unknowingly. There was a grand total of seven of us, cast and crew altogether. The usual number often runs a lot bigger – some of the larger scale productions I’ve been on have seen over 15, and that number is intensified in the industry.

The set culture was hands down extraordinary. I’m rarely ever on a set that I dislike -most of the time, people are pleasurable to work with. I was stressed a few days leading up to the shoot and after (personal covid-19 scare reasons, nothing happened though) but I think everything that led me up to this moment was all worth it. The film itself is called Sand, a coming-of-age story about two sister-close besties with contrasting personalities who deal with the fear of friendship loss and new changes. I was one of the two actors and played 16-year-old Ava, an extroverted, genial and affectionate dreamer of a girl who struggles with the idea of a big change. 

Ava was so much fun to play – she’s an enneagram type 7 which is pretty different from my type 2. I found myself relating to her in subtle moments though – due to the respect in privacy for the production I can’t go too much into detail about what exactly happens in the film but it was exhilarating being someone else the entire day. 

We filmed at a beautiful location in Marshfield, Massachusetts – thanks to Mark, our wonderful Sound Mixer we were able to film it all on his property. Oh, and did I mention it was HOT? It was a 12-hour shoot all outdoors under the searing heat of the sun in 90-degree weather. Clothes were drenched. Hair straightened about 30 minutes in (I had braided my hair the night before so it would be wavy for Ava). Make-up melted in less than half a day – I didn’t even bother reapplying. Oh, and I guess calories were burnt too. Being in the heat – it was so worth it for the storytelling!! 

Some craziness also happened…

Can you guess what happened here? 🙂

From the talent to the crew – everyone was so enthusiastic, kind, willing, and fun. I’m so grateful I stumbled across this opportunity – here’s to low-budget COVID-19 filmmaking! [Cue photo dump of more behind-the-scenes taken by Sound Mixer Mark Gardner below]

10/10 experience, you guys. Definitely one of my favorite memories from the summer!! Let me know down below what your favorite memory this summer was! ❤

Until next time,

Grace

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