Today we shot the final images for the dream sequences.
A friend brought her two children to represent myself at the age the incident happened. The idea is that we'd see these images in slow motion alongside other beauty shots, such as the American landscape, etc., to represent the "dream portions" of the film and help us transition from one section of the film to the next.
Directing children is a bit of an art form in and of itself, because you have to be the most free with what is already naturally happening.
"You are on a magical blanket where anything can happen," I told the young actor of seven years old.
"Oh, you can tell him what he's actually doing," his mother said. "He's a realist."
Then she proceeded to tell him that he's acting like his uncle when he was a little kid and that he couldn't do any dabbing or other modern dance moves. This got him really excited and he started dabbing immediately. That cracked me up. It also told me he needed no real direction, but rather games to play, so I just asked him to do things like I would back when I taught physical education as a substitute teacher back when I was a college student.
"Race your brother," I said. "Now run around him three times."
Then, I figured we could tire him out a bit, so it was a balance between letting him do what he wanted and then encouraging whatever was working. That's why I let him keep spinning in a circle once he started.
"If you go for three more minutes, you'll be the champion of the world," I said.
He went for another minute before he fell down.
After that, I had him lie down and look at the sky. To keep him focused, I just asked him how many leaves were in his favorite branch.
"Two," he said.
"Can you count them?" I asked.
"1-2," he said.
"Now," I said. "Find a bigger branch. How many are there?"
As he counted, I grabbed a bunch of leaves and poured them over his head. This made him laugh and he immediately grabbed them and started talking about them.
"Can you make them talk to each other?" I said.
"Oh, hi," he said from one to the other. "Oh, hi."
Then I told him to pretend the leaves were him and his brother. He did this for about two minutes before he got angry at the leaves and created another game and wanted to smash them and throw them on the ground. This was when I got him to lie back down and describe the clouds. Luckily, Aaron had already asked him about his favorite basketball player, so when I asked him what the name of the cloud was in the sky, he said "Stephen Curry."
"What does he like to do?" I asked.
"Play basketball," he said.
These shots got us these great images, where he was engaged with the world above him and could serve as his imagination or these dreaming states I was hoping for. I could see that we could potentially split the screen, overlay images, or just let it play as it was and have it jump between images of other things.
This was where, in your head as a director, you're already editing the film as the same time as it's happening. This can be difficult, because you're seeing it in real time with the imagination you're also holding editing the piece. So, your mind is tracing back other images that were caught, and you're seeing this go with that. Once you have at least one sequence that's working in your imagination, you can start directing back in the live moment happening in front of you.
Some of this is mostly instinct. In this case, I knew we needed more motion shots, so I asked him to walk hand-in-hand with his mother. He let this go for exactly two minutes before he wanted to change it. That's when I followed him with that idea and asked if he was ticklish. His mother took this cue, and the two of them began to play naturally.
"Can you both lie down and look at the sky?" I asked.
He did this for a minute, before he wanted to lie down with his mother as a pillow. She tried to get him back in position, but I said that this was perfect. Then, they just naturally played together and were mother and son for a good five minutes.
To end the day, we had planned to get the brothers ice cream. This was another great moment, because the parlor had blocks for them to play with, which added to the fun of seeing them try to eat each other's ice cream and getting upset when one's blocks were knocked down by the other.
At one point, the youngest one dropped his spoon on the floor and dipped it right back into the ice cream and went at it.
I did a little shout and let his mother know. She just smiled at me.
"The amount of bacteria these kids consume, it's going to be okay," she laughed.
This was like mother supreme moment #723 for her. I've met a lot of mothers who are good at balancing motherhood with life and go with the flow. She was exceptional though. I made a mental note right then and there: "If ever having kids, they will consume bacteria, so don't sweat the small stuff. Also, be as cool as this human."
When I showed one of the images to my father, he was ecstatic. "The one in the red shirt looks like you," he said.
"Yeah, dad. That's why we thought of using him," I said.
The similarities are pretty uncanny -- even down to the missing front teeth.
There's only a few interviews left. Aaron suggests I let someone else edit. I'm not sure yet. The lazy part of me is all about someone else editing. There's also the issue of having real objectivity, but I am concerned about finances, and me doing one more role would help cut down those costs. Time will tell. We haven't gotten any funding from grants yet. I was thinking of applying to another this weekend, but maybe doing a fundraiser simultaneously would be wise. There's no guarantee with getting any funds, and we've been successful on sites, such as Indiegogo in the past, but Aaron is suggesting we try Seed and Spark this time, because as a non-profit, we'll be able to save on taxes.
I'm at this point, where "all of the above" makes sense. This means I'll start editing the film this week, and hopefully, put together a super rough trailer, submit to another grant, and start a fundraiser before the end of June. I figure if I do these things, the ball will be rolling. If someone else comes on board to edit later, then, at least there'll be a framework. Maybe that's what I need to do anyway: lay down the foundation.
Who knows? Watch me edit this whole thing.