Guest blog by Director of Photography ... PAUL HOWARD
Day 5 - THE SHOOT: 6am on location outside the Ritz hotel. Cold and dark, full of anticipation for our first shoot day. The students prep the cameras and sound equipment, the director and DOP discuss the particulars for shooting the script without being noticed. The actors arrive and greetings are made. It strikes me how crazy the whole plan is - to shoot a rom-com musical, in New York City, with 10 students, no budget and no permits! Flight to Manhatten - $1700. Cream cheese bagel & coffee - $4. Shooting guerrilla style with Team Randwick in NYC - Priceless!
We move into position for the first slate and I wonder how many times I'd do this in my life. Figuring just the once, I smile big and keep a vigilant eye out for the NYPD, looking to avoid a costly fine. Part of this scene requires us to talk a cabbie into getting out of his car so we can use it as a prop behind our actor. We manage that okay, but then a radio mic fails. A quick switch to the boom and we're off again. There's no mistaking a film crew when the boom mic is up... the cops are circling...
We move quickly, but we're thorough, and after some smooth stedicam work by Mert and we miraculously complete our first scene. Phew!
We hastily move locations to a cafe in Central Park near the Zoo. Central Park is beautiful this time of year so finding great visuals is easy. We check in with the cafe staff, move things around and we're running in no time. But suddenly it all came crashing to a halt - it's 9am and the Zoo security have arrived at work. "Put the cameras down! Sir, put the camera down!" And that my friends is us, getting shut down.
The Producer goes into damage control and we regroup. We have to shoot everything from that scene again as we've missed important shots. The schedule suddenly feels a whole lot heavier.
Our actors save the moment with local knowledge of other 'film friendly' locations within Central Park. 30 minutes and we're off and running again at the new location, The boathouse Cafe, which becomes a blessing in disguise, being more beautiful and allowing us many more areas to shoot other scenes.
The Alice in Wonderland Statue is for our next scene and the more we get away with, the faster, more efficient and braver we become.
The long walk to the stunning Bethesda Fountain leaves us running late, but we succeed in capturing a skilled performance without any problems and our first shoot day is wrapped while the sun still shines.
We are also here to attend the Tribecca Film Festival, so we race to see see the patron of the festival, Robert De Niro, talk about his amazing acting career. What a fantastic day we've had!