Saturday, October 13, 2012

"The possibility of successfully filming a scene with these resources is approximately 3,720 to one!"

On Sunday, I whipped up a batch of ice-cold bantha milk, and my cast and crew got down to the business of making movie magic. We had a hoot and a half — maybe three quarters!

A communications snafu waylaid my Boba Fett (Trish), so we shot the cockpit scene first. I'd had a lot of fun assembling found objects to make something that would read on-screen like a cockpit — a soldering iron, some Christmas lights, a big military decade box, a couple of plastic pen carriers, and (as a nod to the Satellite of Love) a couple of spray paint caps. We wrapped my C-3PO (Herbert) in aluminum foil, dressed my Leia (Kat) and Han (Kendra) in their color-coded jackets, and convinced Rosie to lie on the floor and shake the Wookiee. ("I always knew my film debut would be on my back," she said.) They all crammed themselves into the cockpit and did their best Star Trek lean as the Falcon "was hit by lasers" and "avoided asteroids."

(Those two hot spots of light on the green screen will come back to bedevil me during editing. Live and learn.)

Boba had arrived by the time I got my shot, so we all trooped downstairs to the "Super Star Destroyer bridge" I'd turned my living room into, and my long-suffering actors suited up. Vader (Rosie) wore a black zentai hood and sunglasses that made her nearly blind; Dengar (Yossi) strapped a baking pan to his chest and stood on a rickety stool; the Imperial Trooper (Will) wore a bowl on his head. Boba Fett (Trish) and Admiral Piett (Kat) had less onerous costumes — though Boba did get cardboard pieces duct taped to her chest — and Herbert played puppeteer for IG-88.

Everyone did a bang-up job. Vader hit her mark every time, despite being unable to see. IG-88's head turned just like it was supposed to. Boba Fett slouched to make Vader look taller. Dengar really stepped up — literally, since he had to stand on a stool to make it look like he and IG-88 were looking down from a raised walkway. (It's a shame that only his midriff appears in the scene, since his costume was surprisingly successful.) Imperial Trooper Will, apart from having the perfect slightly confused military-stern expression of an Imperial Trooper, offered deep insights into Star Wars character motivations. Admiral Piett held Vader's train as IG-88 presided over her marriage to Boba Fett:


I spent most of the shoot standing on my coffee table, directing people and framing up shots in the viewscreen of Kat's little camera. (My camera doesn't shoot HD video.) I learned I'm better at building things to go in front of the camera than I am at standing behind it — I don't worry about foam core and duralar getting impatient with me. But I got all four of my shots, and even though nobody drank the bantha milk the peanut gallery seemed duly impressed:

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