For two of my scenes for Lights, it was important for me to have a good location and extras. This was necessary to give the film a little dimension. It’s an extremely small cast, focusing mainly on one character, so establishing this in the beginning of the film was crucial in my opinion.
It was necessary to show that my character (now known as Mia) had responsibilities to attend to. The film begins with her leaving a building at night. It’s ambiguous, but it can be said that she works nights. The next scene shows Mia leaving her house in the early morning where she arrives at college, establishing that not only does Mia have work obligations of some sort, but she is also taking classes that have responsibilities of their own. I want to establish these responsibilities in the beginning, so that when Mia becomes invested in her documentary, and the story focuses on just her isolation, the audience understands that her obsession is harmful to her.
When writing the script, I made sure to aim for scenarios that were doable. I was familiar with the locations, and I planned for those in ways I knew were possible. I’m talking mainly here about the three scenes that I filmed on a college campus. I had particular locations on the campus where I wanted to film, and I okayed this with the campus security officers nearly a month in advance. They knew I was going to be there with minimal equipment, minimal crew, a handful of extras and for a certain amount of hours. That wasn’t too difficult.
Getting extras on the other hand? That proved to be far more difficult than I had anticipated. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard to get people to agree to help me out by being present for a couple of hours. I put out calls for extras repeatedly over the two weeks prior to the shoot where they were needed, and I received no responses. None? I was expecting very little, but getting none surprised me.
I was lucky enough to have three absolutely wonderful peers at my university agree to help me out, taking away from their time to do their own film projects. I’m very grateful for their help. I’m looking forward to an opportunity for me to return the favor.
Of course, these are all involved in pre-production. The actual shoot where all of this would come into play had its own set of difficulties, ones which I will describe in another post.