Last week was production week for the short film “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre“. One day of set-up, 6 days of shooting, 9-10 hour days that by the weekend became 11-15 hour days. Everyone worked very hard and very well. I am extremely grateful to Jason, Austin, Ja’Rel, Harry, Nick, Mara, Anthony, Bethany, Stephen, Martine, Mark, Mathew, Henry, Ed, the on set crew and cast.
I have tons of on-set pics and videos and stories to share, and hope to regale you with them on this blog over the next months. All while busy in post-production and eventually bringing our little gothic musical short film to the world at large.
So, to start off the Tell-Tale Shoot Diary series here on Notes from a Composer, I thought I’d share this fun video shot by best boy/key grip Austin Nepri (who also took the photo at the top), giving you a good glimpse into the monitor showing what the camera is filming while watching the performance live in the same frame (you will note that the monitor is a smidge time delayed).
It’s a cool example of getting the on set experience simultaneously with the unedited take right as it is being shot:
You will note that I am performing along with prerecorded tracks blasting from the theater’s sound system. As is typical with musicals and has been especially necessary here for budgetary and practical reasons, the soundtrack, including vocals, is pre-recorded and I am performing along with it, while being filmed. The soundtrack is blaring too loudly for you to hear me singing live on set, but I did sing along with every take. Hour after hour. Day after day. While also directing.
No wonder I am so exhausted this week.
Jason Chua, our director of photography, is following me with the camera on this take. Catching angles from the right side, after having already shot masters from the front, and before catching more angles from the left, plus additional inserts. Other shots previously recorded on location in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn, will also be edited into the section filmed here.
By the way, this take was shot near the end of our longest day, around 1am. From where I was still siphoning energy to perform is a mystery.
Whether any part of this take will make it into the final version is an open question. There is at least one significant moment this shot is supposed to have captured that I hope I performed more to my liking on other takes. I believe I can even remember thinking to myself “well I got that one wrong” while I was doing it; and it looks like that was the take Austin captured here.
As to what is happening in the story at this moment? Fans of Edgar Allan Poe who know the Tell-Tale Heart well should be able to pinpoint with ease where in the story we are. The words I am singing are direct from Poe’s first person narration.
As to other questions you may have about the film and the shoot, like, for example, what is up with those floating chairs? I’ll leave your eyebrows raised for now. I may or may not explain some later time …
After all, this is just the first peek …