Sunday, October 20, 2013

Three Brothers

This semester I have the unimaginable privilege of contributing to the lore of one of the most popular fantasy worlds of all time. The world of Harry Potter.

After two years of negotiations one of my video teachers here at NESCom announced to a collection of the students here that he had obtained the rights from Warner Bros. to film a short based on J.K. Rowling's short story "The Tale of the Three Brothers."

By the time the semester started and I arrived at school there was already a script in place and auditions were scheduled for the end of the first week of school. We had 43 people show up to audition and even more contacted us, usually from across the country or the Atlantic.

Since then it's been a whirlwind of planning, meeting with the cast, and long days of shooting. Well, two long days of shooting. We are only shooting on Saturdays. My friend Brandon Doyen is directing the short, Jim (my old roommate) is DP. My job is key grip. Which means I'm handling a lot of lighting and other gear like dollies and jibs. 

Just yesterday I woke up at 4:45 AM to make it to crew call at 5:30. We loaded up the equipment by the light of the full moon and set out in a caravan of five to the town of New Portland. Our destination was a beautiful suspension bridge built in 1866. 

When we arrived we discovered that our equipment truck exceeded the maximum weight limit for the bridge so we had to carry our equipment across by hand. We filmed the entire day. The poor camera crew didn't even get a chance to eat because we were so strapped for time. We could only close the bridge down from noon to five PM. Even after five we still filmed several more wide shots of the bridge, asking our actors to step aside whenever a car happened by.

By 3:30 we were fighting the fading light and had to invent some creative solutions, including working the light level difference directly into the script.

We finally wrapped around quarter to six with all our shots and some b-roll.

If you're interested in following the film as it progresses I've been using the hashtag #3Brothers and #NESCOM on Twitter. You can also check back on the official NESCom page, as it updates frequently.

If you ever visit the bridge for yourself you might find a small piece of graffiti hidden amidst the thousands of tourist notes scrawled into the bridge with a line from the script about the bridge.
Below is the animated clip from the seventh Harry Potter film depicting the Tale of the Three Brothers. We are giving the story our own twist but I don't think we'll upset any Harry Potter fans with our version except those who insist on perfect canon.