Friday, May 14, 2010

The Night Shift: Deja Vu to You

The Night Shift is the on-set diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in production in Mobile, AL. Over the course of the next several weeks and months, you'll get an insider's peek at what it's like for filmmakers to craft a new entry of paranormal pop culture from Erin Lilley, a producer and actress on the film.

Deja Vu to You, and You, and You

This week's night shoots gave me the strangest combination of deja vu and out-of-body experience. I know those are two great tastes that don't normally go great together, but I can explain. When we filmed the short version of The Night Shift, I played the cowboy vengeance demon, Trigger ('cause when your husband casts you because you look shriveled and corpse-like, well, how can a girl refuse?). And this week we shot some of Trigger's first scenes.

Now, when I played the role, the costume was a little weak, and the make-up consisted of an old mummy mask we hot glued to a full-face ninja mask. This go round, the costume and make-up are much higher quality, but it's still very odd to stand there, boom mic in hand, and run audio on someone else saying your lines and performing your actions.

Especially since I'm not the audio person.

That leads me to another little instance of deja vu: 
Multiple Duties.

The first time we shot The Night Shift, I didn't just play Trigger. I also played Claire, a tresspassing teenager, a child ghost and was make-up artist, set decorator and Herbie puppeteer. I have fond memories of being stuck under my guest room bed, covered with pillows and blankets, trying to maneuver Herbie while Khristian (Rue Morgan) sat on top of me. Thomas was writer, director, producer, cameraman, lighting designer and occasional Herbie puppeteer. Soren played Herbie, a tresspassing teen, worked the audio and composed the score. I could keep going with the rest of the crew, but I think I've made my point. This was a group effort, and everyone had to pitch in wherever they were needed.

We still have that. Sure, we have a good number of people who have volunteered to work on the crew, and each and every one of them is appreciated. However, since they are volunteers, it's rare that we have the same crew two days in a row. It is generally whoever can be there for however long they can stay. That means that everyone on set gets a job or two. Currently, I'm playing Claire, helping with make-up and if I'm needed, run the audio. Actually, one of my favorite moments on this film came the other day when one of our actors asked me who was producing this movie. I stopped applying a prosthetic appliance for a second, turned to him and waved, then dropped everything to grab my ringing phone to answer a crew member's equipment question.

Any given crew member might help paint a zombie, then hold reflectors for a bit, or maybe run lines with an actor. The actors aren't off the hook, either. They help move lights and put down dolly track.

We are a team. Live or Die. Sink or Swim. Win or Fail - we do it together.

I wonder if we can get jerseys?

Next week:  The Wolfman Cometh!  In the meantime, you can follow Fighting Owl Films on Facebook and by clicking the appropriate links at  You can also follow the progress on the movie by following @NightShiftMovie on Twitter.