Friday, May 21, 2010

The Night Shift: Sweaty Like The Wolf

The Night Shift is the on-set diary of Fighting Owl Film's new independent supernatural-adventure-comedy of the same name currently in pre-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.

Sweaty Like The Wolf

Scene: Exterior Cemetery, Night.

A young woman runs among ancient headstones, screaming for our hero to rescue her. The cause of her distress, a snarling wolfman, is hot on her heels. The young woman races to a nearby obelisk, hiding behind it in hopes the wolfman will miss her. He doesn't. Under the light of the full moon, the two play a game of cat and mouse around the old monument. The wolfman sees his chance for attack and swipes his claws at the young woman and ...

 Three of the claws go flying and his nose falls off. "CUT!!!!!!"

Immediately, I (the young woman) jump off the obelisk and run to grab some spirit gum for Brendon's (the wolfman) nose. Brendon and Stacey start searching for claws, while Thomas and Soren adjust lights and discuss the shot, and Khristian wrangles the stray dog who has adopted us as his own. It's about two minutes of pure chaos that, as quickly as it started, ebbed away again for the next take. Then lather, rinse and repeat.

The wolfman has some tough makeup to deal with. Really, all of our monsters do, but this poor guy probably has it the roughest of all. He has three prosthetic appliances, teeth, a wig, claws, fur pieces, greasepaint and a wool and leather letterman's jacket, all on top of a physically demanding role. This kid is running, jumping and doing his own stuntwork in Mobile, Ala. In the Spring. With about 1000-percent humidity and temperatures in the upper 80s. The appliances keep sweating off. The most amazing part of it all, is that he has never complained. Not once. We just try to keep him hydrated and cool, and he keeps us entertained with jokes in-between takes.

We have been very lucky with our actors. None of the makeup is fun to wear in this heat and humidity, and the costumes aren't helping. I just had on a cotton sundress for a few scenes this weekend, and it was soaking wet from sweat when I took it off. I can't even imagine what it must be like in a wool Confederate soldier's uniform, or a cowboy outfit, complete with duster, wig, and boots. Through it all, none of these guys have uttered one negative word. They've all had the best attitudes, and are willing to do whatever it takes to make this movie look as good as it possibly can. As my husband might say, they are made of awesome.

So, if the wolfman can have a positive attitude about wearing the makeup, the least we can do is have a positive attitude about keeping it on him. If that means handing a crew member some spirit gum and appointing them to "Brendon Duty" at the beginning of each night, or reenacting a scene from Noises Off!, with everyone on their hands and knees searching for claws in a cemetery at Midnight, so be it. Whatever it takes.

Next Week: Crypt Capers! Until then, you can follow Fighting Owl Films on Facebook or by going to the official movie site, You can keep up with the movie's progress on Twitter at @NightShiftMovie.