Sex After Kids – Set Visit

 

“Let the chaos begin,” director Jeremy Lalonde says, repositioning his trademark hat as he returns to his station at the monitor.

“Action.”

And the scene comes to life before my eyes.

It’s mid-afternoon on the set of Sex After Kids and he’s watching an establishing shot of a party in the park. On the screen in front of him, Katie Boland tosses a rubber ball to some children, while Zoie Palmer and Paul Amos talk in the background, to the left of them, an attractive group of ladies, Mary Krohnert, Kate Hewlett and Amanda Brugel are chatting, and Kristin Booth wanders through the frame pushing a stroller.

He waits, watches, making sure he gets what he wants, and moment later, “cut” is called.

For me, this has been an awesome day, for everyone else it’s just another day on set.

I arrived just before 10 in the morning and learned that most of the cast and crew had been up and about since about 6, and on set before 7am! Greeted by Jennifer Liao, who shares producing credit with Jeremy (who also wrote the film) I grab a chair by the production tent, and settle in to watch, from a distance, as Jeremy and his crew work with Zoie and Paul as they film a scene of the two of them strolling through a park talking.

And it’s the perfect day for it.

The sun is warm, dancing on the wealth of green leaves overhanging the park from the towering trees, light flickers back and forth as a breeze pushes the branches about and keeps things cool. Grey-furred squirrels chase one another around the trunks of trees, as people with dogs or children wander about the park.

Between takes, Jeremy steps forward, coaching his actors, as Trina Brink, the make-up artist for the first half day steps forward to touch up Zoie’s hair. Moving back to their first marks, the take rolls again.

Jeremy is happy, and calls a wrap on the scene. A car arrives quickly to spirit Paul and Zoie away for a change of wardrobe as the crew races to change locations, racing the day, the light, and the quick turnaround of a costume change. Co-cinematographer and camera operator Zach Melnick lugs the Red Epic camera over to a bunch of benches, while Dennis Alexander Nicholson maneuvers his boom into a position that won’t show in the frame.

Yvonne Drebert, the key grip, has her people moving and setting up incredibly quickly, reflectors and light bouncers sliding into place under the hand of familiar face of one of our former guests and the producer of The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, Anthony Grani.

Co-cinematographer Ann Tipper sets up the monitor in its new position, and wires up the focus-puller so she can watch the shot from the monitor with Jeremy.

Overseeing all of it, with a ballcap and sunglasses in place, a script never far from her hand is the 1st AD (Assistant Director) Chris Ross.

Minutes later, Zoie and Paul are back on set, settling onto the bench, and after a quick run through of the scene, Jeremy is ready for the cameras to roll.

Around all of this, Toui Manikhouth, the set and production designer, is hard at work decorating trees with balloons, streamers and signs proclaiming Happy Birthday.

That’s when not only the awesomeness of the magic of film hits me, but also the work that goes into it. Not 10 meters away, Paul and Zoie are filming one scene, all while Toui sets up for the party scene. And because of the position of the camera, the angle of the shot, you can’t see any of that.

Jeremy has his shots figured out, though he always listens to his crew for advice and suggestions, and knows exactly what he needs to get for each shot, knowing where the cuts will be from wide, to medium to close-up.

The man is prepared.

I get to say hi to Juli Strader, the publicist for the production, who, through Jeremy’s kind permission, got me on set for the day. She and Jen talk and co-ordinate, they, like each and every other member of the crew help out in any way that they can.

Over by the benches, the camera repositions for another take and angle, and there’s a sudden burst of laughter as Zoie, Paul and Jeremy share a joke.

There is an easy sense of professionalism that permeates the set. Everyone is comfortable and knowledgeable in their positions. They are in those spots, because each one of them is capable, and they all know they can rely on one another to get things done quick, fast and safely.

Make-up steps in to fix Zoie’s hair, and they camera rolls one last time on that scene.

This time when cut is called, Paul gives me a wave as they slip back into a car to race back to change wardrobe, get some errands in, lunch, and maybe even a nap before they are needed back on the set for 2ish.

The two of them, like everyone else here, are doing this in what free time they have. Everyone has a daytime job, whether on another production, in an office, or a warehouse, it’s a miracle that they all have the energy they do.

The lovely, and charming Amanda Brugel arrives on set with her wonderful son and mother in tow. We’re introduced, and have a fun little chat with one another, watch for that podcast!

Although I’m not involved in the film, I don’t think I could’ve cast these roles any better than Jeremy already has. He has amassed some of the best, most attractive and talented  people, in front of and behind the cameras. I felt stunningly handsome by proximity!

Shortly after, I was delighted to see two of our former guests arrive, wonderful ladies I am fortunate enough to know and call friends, Mary Krohnert and Kate Hewlett.

After a round of hugs, we all wander over to the next set-up, a swing-set which marks the first meeting, on-camera, of Mary’s Kate’s and Amanda’s characters.

Jeremy invites me behind the monitor with him, and I watch the scene play out, the few lines of dialogue I hear (I went out of my way to not listen to much of it – I don’t want any spoilers) are sharp and funny, everything I would expect from the writer of The Untitled Work of Paul Shepard, and after one wickedly delivered line by Kate, and a horrified look from Amanda, the set descends into raucous laughter after cut is called.

They shoot a medium and then a wide, the crew moving fast to move reflectors around, and work to keep the camera cool, sitting as it is in the hot sun.

Jeremy runs the scene again, and then calls out, “That’s lunch!”

It’s just after 1 in the afternoon, and most of these folks have been on the go since 6.

I’m invited to join in the lunch, and after visiting the craft services table, I settle in and chat with the crew, who are laughing and telling stories. Lunch ends up feeling more like a picnic as we sit on the grass and blankets enjoying the sun and the company.

I feel welcomed and right at home, and my geeky Yoda shirt gets some bonus points. It’s a fun time, and I’m thankful that they let me join in and feel like a part of the group.

They talk about geek things, as well as some of their own projects, but above all, it’s fun. Each and every one of them is happy to be there, putting together this film, following Jeremy’s vision.

As 2pm draws closer, more and more folks arrive on set, the brilliant Katie Boland arrives and we have a quick laugh and catch-up with one another, I also get a chance to say hi to Kristin Booth and Paul, who is back on set to shoot another scene.

As soon as lunch is over, the crew leaps into action to frame a scene for Paul, Amanda and Kristin, and once again, while I’m close enough to see everything clearly, I do my best to block out the dialogue flying around, but Kristin’s eyes sparkle with each line she delivers, she’s really enjoying herself in this scene.

I slip away while they reposition reflectors and move to a close-up on Amanda, and I sit down and chat with Kate and Mary for a few minutes (which will also be up in a podcast, stay tuned). The two of them together are so much fun, and there’s a fun chemistry around the table we’re sitting at.

Where does Jeremy find these amazing people?

It’s now time for the party scene, Toui has made the last adjustments on the trees and the table, and the cameras are in place.

It’s later in the afternoon, and Jeremy knows he’s working against the sun now. He explains to his crew exactly what he wants, positions his actors, and shoots, and shoots and shoots.

He starts with a wide establishing, and then breaks each group of actors into a separate shot filming one after another, methodically and patiently, getting what he wants and moving on.

As the clock brushes 5, Kris Holden-Ried shows for his appearance. He, like everyone else, is working under an extreme schedule, but says hi to me as we introduce ourselves to one another, before settling into his script and waiting to be called into the shot.

“Let the chaos begin,” director Jeremy Lalonde says, repositioning his trademark hat as he returns to his station at the monitor.

I don’t know about chaos, I just saw a wonderful cast and crew, on a fantastic day in Toronto working on a film that I and so many others are waiting to see…

Sex After Kids.

Advertisements

One Comment Add yours

  1. Smellycat says:

    Awwww Tim !! Thanks so much for this awesome writing about your journey on SAK set !! Thank you very much for those who can’t see it and participate to it, thanks to you we had thechance to share a journey in SAK world, to know better how it happen, and know more about the crew 🙂
    It seemed to be an awesome day !!! thank you !!! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s