Episode 8: Longest Episode, Longest Shoot.
This past weekend, the English Weirdness team and I completed photography of our longest episode, and longest shoot to date. Intended as our special Halloween episode, and scheduled for release in early October, episode 8 was written as the first of our new 30-minute episode formats. This longer-form video may not suit those in search of quick Youtube thrills or tutorials, but English Weirdness has always been intended for a curious audience determined to learn and understand English on a deeper, more meaningful level. Shooting this monster, however, involved far more time, and in the end spanned over three entire shooting days over a three-month period.
After intense preparations in June, we began shooting this episode on a Monday evening in July, at the ELS school campus where I work and where most of the Weirdos have studied and graduated from, after classes finished at 4pm. It was a regular school day, so the school was packed with students and noise until they vacated the building after 4. We needed to shoot the video at night to get the right spooky effect for our scary story’s needs. We began setting up and shooting soon after 4, and worked non-stop late into the night.
The shots we captured were amazing, the performances great, but by the time we got to around 0400, it was clear that everyone’s energy, ability to concentrate and think clearly, were close to spent, even though we had only shot about 1/3 of the 30-page script. After a brief conference, Uriel and I chose to wrap the shoot, send everyone home to rest (most of us had to either work or attend class the following morning), and schedule another shooting day to complete the episode.
Cut to: August 10/11, and the re-shoot. We shot all day Saturday, and all day Sunday, both days from 0800 until close to midnight. It was exhausting, but by the time we wrapped Sunday night, we had captured everything we needed, with very little compromise, to complete episode 8.
That brought to a close a very intense, grueling and busy summer of shooting English Weirdness. The EW season is not done–we’ll shoot the last two episodes in the winter–but we’ve got enough material to move into an Autumn packed with editing and releasing several new episodes. As well, at some time in October or November, EW will move to its own “TV” channel, on which you can subscribe or view the various episodes, so there’s still a lot of work to be done. Nonetheless, it is nice to feel a bit of relief at having gotten ‘in the can’ a summer’s worth of great footage. I am thrilled to have been able to watch the EW team accomplish what they have. This time, we added some new members, or ‘Weirdos’. Camilo joined us as our Uriel’s Camera Assistant/Gaffer/Sound Recordist, and did a great job. Eduardo joined Guilherme in providing all-round muscle and production assistance. Aaron returned to provide me assistance supervising script and continuity. Their hard work and dedication to realizing the Weirdness vision, as always, inspires me to continue this project. So, onward we go. Next step: editing and releasing.