The Director(s) of Photography
When we first set out on this journey nailing down the right Director of Photography (DP from here on out) was first on our to-do list. The DP would determine the look of the movie and, being that Reunion was written to be very dark (literally -- most of its light is meant to be from candlelight), we wanted someone who knew what they wanted, how to get it, and how to get it fast. We wanted quick light set-ups and changes so we could work fast and keep to a tight schedule.
Through friends that had attended Seattle Central Community College's outstanding film program (save it!), producer Matt Ralston knew Christian Sorensen Hansen. He joined the team and we were thrilled to have him. He's an amazing DP.
Unfortunately, after he helped us develop the look for the movie, scheduling conflicts intervened (as they will do on no-budget films). Christian was not going to be available for large parts of the shoot.
While that was a huge disappointment, there was a huge silver lining. And his name was Jacob C. Rosen! Once Christian knew his schedule was going to create some issues he found Jacob for us. Jacob was a lifesaver. He ended up shooting the bulk of the movie.
However, Jacob was brought into the Reunion fold late and he already had some prior commitments that kept him from covering all of the days that Christian was unable to shoot. So we had three more fill-in camera operators: Rylan Morris Scherer, Phillip Harvey, and Griff Johnston.
Five people handling DP duties is not typically how you want to shoot a movie. But, on a no-budget movie on a tight schedule, things happen and you adapt. We did, and it all came off beautifully.
Christian did an outstanding job planning the look of the film, working with Jacob to maintain a consistent feel (one day they were both able to be there and ran two cameras). Christian was great on-set and gave us gorgeous footage.
And what can we say about Jacob? Again, losing Christian was a blow, but meeting Jacob was a boon. He stepped in and fit into the Reunion crew immediately. He worked fast and knew how to get what he wanted from any given shot. Amazingly talented and great to work with, Reunion would absolutely not have happened without him.
Rylan, Phillip, and Griff were all short-term fill-in guys, but each of them came in and worked with us to maintain the on-set dynamic we had set up with Christian and Jacob. Using earlier footage as their guides, they bent over backwards to match the look of earlier shooting days (except Rylan -- he was shooting in a room we were in for the first time and was able to develop his own stunning look). Mission accomplished.
Huge thanks to Jacob Rosen for stepping in and doing a fantastic job. And Christian, we missed you when you were gone, but you gave us the look we needed. Special thanks also to Rylan, Phillip, and Griff for stepping in and helping us through some tight spots. Reunion is in the can because you all worked your butts off for us.
Photos below all ©2011 Adam Smith (www.theadamsmith.com)
1. David Nail and Christian Sorensen Hansen set up a shot.
2. Brian Sutherland and Jacob Rosen between takes.
3. Jeremy David Bell, Alison Monda, and Rylan Morris Scherer.