Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rug Burns - Production - Day 1 - Part 2

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Cherry Street

It was getting close to 9AM and every location was becoming more crowded with civilians. As ridiculous as it really is difficult to shoot anything with fake guns in complete broad day light. Our hopes were that by starting early, we'd be able to avoid the crowds...but having to wait for the fog to dissipate at Polson Pier meant we we running behind by about a half-hour.

Also, I guess I didn't do my homework on this industrial section of town, but we eventually realized there was a security company that provides services for TPS located right down the street (Intelligarde International - Private Investigations, Bomb Detection, Security Patrols, etc). Over the next hour cops continually passed us as we shot scenes in three different locations.

Cherry Street Bridge
We also ended up having a couple run-ins with some pedestrians and joggers. Apparently, having a fake gun tucked in your waistband while strutting around is not a good idea...lesson learned!

Do your shooting early. 6-8AM on Saturday and Sunday are great...after that you're just asking for trouble.

Unwin Avenue

We had one final walking shot to film, and I wanted Pat to be holding the Mac10. Fortunately, Pat was a little bit more cautious, or perhaps aware, and insisted he only carry the handcuffs...that decision might have saved us dearly.

[I'm not very familiar with the law, but from what I understand, it is illegal to spray paint any toy gun. Also, most toy guns come with a red plastic tip on the barrel, so that they are not easily mistaken for real guns. Apparently, if you tamper with those red tips, you could be in a heap of trouble. In fact, if you commit a robbery with a fake gun, it's the same charge as if the guns were real (just a heads up to any future felons out there).]

In any case, the trunk of my car contained something like a dozen, fake, modified, and spray-painted guns. On top of that, we also had an exact replica of a Beretta. From what I've been told, these are now altogether illegal in Canada.

And on top of having a trunk full of guns, we were also shooting in an industrial factory area, with plenty of "Keep Out" signs...

So I guess it was just a matter of time before the cops wanted to chat with us...

Right as we were about to leave, the cops rolled up and asked me what we were up to. Not being able to think of a lie quick enough, I told the truth:

"We're shooting a short film."
"Yeah? What's the film about?"
"A vigilante cop."
"Yeah? Is he a good cop or a bad cop?"
Immediately, I answered "A good cop!!!"

They laughed and went on their way. I felt scared. I was sweating bullets (PUN). I was so thankful they didn't ask if we were using any guns...we dodged a huge bullet (PUN).

In all seriousness, I knew we'd have problems shooting in certain locations, but having no money for a sound stage, and at the same, really wanting the location shots to look cool as fuck, I took some risks. I'm not sure I'd take the same risks again, but I do know the next time I plan something on this scale, I know I have to choose wisely the people I work with. You really have to be able to trust the crew you're working with to make smart decisions.

I also learned that it's best to tell the truth when dealing with law enforcement...but don't tell the whole truth ("Officer, we got ourselves a trunk full of guns over there!")

Westwood Cinema 

I gotta say after arriving back in Etobicoke, I definitely felt like we were pushing our luck. I decided to dramatically cut down the scenes taking place at Westwood Cinema (an abandoned movie theatre, which was actually supposed to be demolished this summer...). 

I thought I would be happier getting my two best scenes, and getting the fuck out of there, instead of getting all ten scenes and end up on the evening news (Westwood Theatre is down the street from Toronto Police Division 22).

We arrived "on set" at around 1PM, having already pre-planned the whole thing to go down in a matter of 5 minutes. Me, Pat, and our pal Simon (playing 'Bad Guy #5') made a b-line for the rooftop...

...while Team Beta (Adam and John) were to set up the wide angle camera, and build us a nice pile of boxes to drive through...

Remember to douse the boxes in flour to make the whole thing look balleristic...
I really wish we'd had more time to spend here...I would have shot the box scene from a tripod, and not to mention I goofed on getting a cool/simple action sequence, all because I didn't have time to re-read my shot retrospect, more time, a third camera, and a production assistant would have all helped at this location...

...but with that being said, how fuckin' sick does this shit look? I'm pretty happy we were able to incorporate a piece of Etobicoke history into 'Rug Burns', considering the whole thing is being converted into a courthouse and parking facility in a matter of months...

After packing up our boxes and dusting off the car, we called it a day!


Up next: Day 2 - Cemeteries and Interrogations!


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