I was recruited to join this project after working on the feature film Dragonfly this past summer. The Light at the Laundromat was created for the 2015 Z-fest Film Festival — it was written and directed by Maribeth Romslo, the director of Dragonfly. I joined the crew as the second unit director, the man responsible for making sure the director, assistant director and camera crew had everything they needed to make sure the project was successful.
During pre-production I sat in on the meetings to plan our two days of shooting and also was along for location scouting. My point of focus before our shoot days was to coordinate all the variables of the shoot with the first assistant director.
One of my main responsibilities was on set — I was in charge of keeping the shoot on schedule throughout the day, managing the extras and production assistants, and consulting the director, cinematographer and actors from scene to scene.
All four of our shooting locations had what is known as a “hard out” — that means the production had exact times in which our shoot days had to conclude. Our first day had three different locations, all three with exact times we had to be wrapped. Our last shot of the day was a news reporter on scene at a bridge collapse (pictured above).
In order to make this happen, we got a permit from the city of Minneapolis to shut the street down for a few hours. We staged a traffic jam with crew members’ cars, got an old school ambulance to show up, set up a multitude of lights (sirens, a helicopter search light, etc.) and utilized our many extras to create a scene of chaos. As the second unit director, the coordination of this complicated shot was my responsibility — despite the below freezing temps, everything went according to plan.
Our second day of shooting was, Super Bowl Sunday — if you know me, you know missing this pinnacle of competition is a huge deal. I love NFL football. Our shoot on this day was 11+ hours at a local laundromat, with a “hard out” at 1 a.m. The set up of a film production in a functioning laundromat presented many challenges for our crew — despite falling behind our shooting schedule early in the day, the first AD and I were able to use our problem solving skills to cut the fat and streamline later shots to finish the shoot on time.
In the end, we produced a dang good short film. So much so, that the film won Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy film at Z-Fest and was ranked in the top ten of the movies submitted in 2015. The film also had the honor of being named Best Minnesota Made film at the Speechless Film Festival.
Check out the trailer below!