We filmed the scenes that are the final two in terms of the film's runtime around the middle of the summer of 2007. Did this mean we were done with filming? No!!
The final dialogue scene involved Craig and me. We used the same office we did earlier for Tubba's interview scene. Once again, Craig gave a phenomenal performance, with just the right balance of comic timing and sentiment. It was just the two of us present for the filming. We would set up the cameras for one angle, perform the scene, move the cameras for another angle and repeat the scene. In all, we performed the scene about three times.
The final scene (which was not the last scene filmed) involved only me in front of the camera. There was no dialogue, so not many takes needed. After these scenes were finished, I still had another month of summer in order to film more scenes.
No, I did not make another Airport sequel while filming Slim. I did have two scenes that I filmed featuring an "airport". With TSA regulations the way they are, I decided not to bother asking any actual airport if my no budget movie could film there. Like any no budget filmmaker, I had to improvise. I knew that all I really needed was a nondescript background and a counter for tickets and luggage. A freestanding clothing rack became the metal detector. Sound effects would need to complete the illusion. Physically, the set didn't change much between the two airports, except one had brighter, more direct lighting.
Alissa was not available for filming that day, so instead of rescheduling everybody for another day, you guessed it--we improvised. One of my friends had a gigantic suitcase--so for these scenes, Snarion was traveling inside the suitcase.
The guest star of the day was my friend Katie as the ticket clerk. For the South American airport, she wore a normal business outfit. For the European airport, she simply modified her outfit a little.
Would anyone be able to tell that both airports were the same set? Of course! Does it matter? Of course not!
Why have a soundstage, when you can have a space with easy access to the outdoors as well? Over the years, my garage (without cars in it) has become a multipurpose filming location. The existing lighting is even, and can be enhanced by opening the garage doors and letting in natural lighting. If all the junk is cleared out, you have your choice of blank walls. If the scene requires a more industrialized setting, the metal doors themselves can be the background.
For the interior of a prison camp, a combination of these backgrounds was perfect. Blank walls puts the focus on the performers while closed garage doors show the possibility of escape. Of the scenes filmed here, I ended up cutting most of them, but it was an enjoyable experience for all of us involved.
The first scene that I remember filming (it has been 10 years so I will not swear on the chronological accuracy of everything recorded here) in the summer of 2007 was a scene titled "INT. SAD BAR". As I was only about 17, I had never been to a bar. I still do not know what would make a bar sad, but I guess it got the somber mood across.
As the day's filming began, there was a thunderstorm. It didn't change our plans, as we were only filming inside. I thought it would add to the atmosphere to have thunder rumbling in the background and raindrops hitting the roof, and it did. What we did not expect was for the power to go out right as we began filming.
When you are making a movie with no budget and using amateur performers, scheduling is not easy. So there was no way I was going to reschedule the day's filming. Instead, we lit the scene using candles and flashlights. Thank goodness it was a sad bar and not a bright, happy bar. It also meant that we had a limited number of takes since the camera batteries would not last forever.
The master performance of the day came from my friend Ross, who played the sad bartender. As I had written his lines, they were very bland and provided exposition to lead our main characters to the next scene. Ross did an extraordinary job injecting his own take on the character, which is exactly what I wanted. His sad bartender character is hilarious. He turned a minor character into a memorable one with just one scene.
As with the writing of the previous year, the scenes I wrote during the school year of 2006-2007 were inspired by the film texts I had read and the movies I had seen since filming. After two years of filming, why would I still be writing scenes? I thought I was doing what was necessary to fill in gaps in the story. If I had been more knowledgeable of the screenwriting process, I would have eliminated superfluous scenes and not wasted the time filming them in the first place.
About half of what I wrote during this school year were scenes that fit between ones that had already been filmed and the other half continued the film from the end of what had been filmed.
Just like David Lean and James Bond had inspired my writing one year earlier, to this inspiration I had discovered the filmmaking of Blake Edwards and the film music of Henry Mancini. Both working together, and separately they had a profound impact on me.
The reader might be asking at this point, why did I continue to add scenes and not just call it good at this point? That is an excellent question and one that I may never be able to answer.