Where to start?
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.
Hmmm. Like New Zealand, parts of Iceland certainly feel like Middle Earth; more on that in a future post. I suppose, like Bilbo, it is best that I start at the beginning.
Some months ago, my friend Geoffrey Orthwein told me he was working on a screenplay with Andrew Sullivan. They hoped to shoot it in the summer of 2014 and asked if I would be interested in producing the film.
I have produced a documentary, several podcasts and tons of live events. A feature film is an entirely different beast. Many of the mechanics are the same, but the scale and the pace are entirely different, particularly on a low-budget, independent feature film.
Of course, I said “Yes”.
Then, they told me it was shooting in Iceland. Feature films are hard enough to make. Most first films are small; shooting close to home, with simple locations and setups to make the logistics more manageable and increase the chances of success. Not this film.
Of course, I said “Yes”.
The name of the film is Bokeh. As you might imagine, photography is a central theme of the film. Our male hero is an amateur photographer who shoots on an old Rolleiflex left to him by his father.
With this theme in mind, I reached out to Rich Harrington. I had this crazy idea to produce a series of articles showing our readers how a film gets produced. Rich gave me his full support.
I arrived in Iceland on Saturday, May 24th. Principal photography on Bokeh began on May 29th in Reykjavik. We wrapped principal photography last Sunday, June 29th. The last few days, I’ve been wrapping up loose ends and traveling back to our remote locations to shoot still and motion plates for visual effects. When I arrive home on July 7th, I will have been away for a bit over six weeks.
At this point, you have probably asked yourself … How did I miss all of those cool behind-the-scenes articles? Not to worry, you did not miss them. I have not posted them yet.
Much like our friend Bilbo, I set off on an adventure, not entirely sure what to expect. Along the way, I encountered trolls (seriously), majestic landscapes and the magic of making something special with a talented, merry band of rascals.
And so, the first behind-the-scenes (BTS) lesson in producing a feature film is:
There is so much to tell you about the last six weeks. And it all begins with film first. When one sets out to make a feature film, nothing takes precedence on set, but the film. And, making a film is time-consuming for everyone involved.
Simply put, the time I thought I’d have to produce BTS content from the set went into the film. I have lots of notes, photos and video to share, but had no time to put them together in posts while on set.
Once I get settled back at home next week, hug my wife and kids and pay back a bit of my sleep debt, look for a series of posts dedicated to shooting in Iceland. In the meantime, you can learn more about the film by following the links below. The crew was filled with shooters, so there are already a ton of BTS photos in our various social media feeds.
Signing off from Vik, Iceland.
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