"How does it feel?" This is the question I get all of the time these days. How does it feel to go from being an author of a fairly small regional novel long past its publishing date, to being a screenwriter adapting that novel, to being an executive producer on the film....to the first day of shooting?
After four years of plotting, planning, searching for the perfect cast, financing, then location scouting, getting access to the lobstering community, finding crew to come up to Midcoast Maine, and a million other little details, we started shooting the first scene at 8:30 a.m. on August 18, 2022.
We're still casting Maine extras.
To see the characters that have lived in my head well over 20 years be embodied by these amazing actors is beyond what I ever imagined. My head is spinning and I can't sleep. Our first day on set was 12 hours and started with a sputtery, rainy morning--after nearly two-and-a-half months of dry, hot weather. Of course! But as my buddy Dan, a lobsterman said, "It's good that it's greasy--this is what it's really like to go out to haul. Not every morning is picture perfect." So, with Greer and Zak on Dan's boat, we laid out the initial scenes where Jamie goes out to haul with Anja. (Note: I had to build in an entire new opening scene to the script that wasn't in the book as film-making demands a faster pace than world-building in novels.)
It was my first time on a film set and I got to see the crew (from the costume designer, to the AD, gaffers, sound, key grip, props, etc) work their magic. So much prep goes into setting up shots and we have to do the same scene from multiple angles. So one scene can take three hours. Like Greer said, "It's hurry up and wait" in this business. But Greer and Zak nailed it. It's so interesting to see accomplished actors do their thing when they've got 25 people all hushed standing around them as they interact naturally with their lines.
We took a break in the afternoon and resumed at a different dock where Dan and Ryan rafted up so we could shoot some more offshore scenes. Anteres (Dan's boat) is Jamie's boat while Tall Tails (Ryan's boat) serves as the camera boat.
Dan is gnawing on a piece of chicken thigh he cooked all night long in the oven by mistake. (He said it was still really good.) Kurt, standing next to him, has only agreed to be in the movie because there was a craft table. He is now going to be the sternman (The Kid) for Thongchai. Basically, it's Kurt's boat, so he'll pretend to be navigating it during the scene where Thongchai confronts the yachties. Kurt didn't think he'd be saying any lines, but as mentioned, he's motivated by the craft table. And it's not really hard to say in a Maine accent. "Jesus Christ, what are ya facking doing Jamie?"
The yacht is donated by Ryan Post's friend, Doug. I'll tell you--if it were not for Ryan, Cheri, and Dan, we would not have the access into this community, the boats, the docks, etc. They are the reason this film will have authenticity. Pictured here is Michael playing annoying Florida yachtie "Cooper." Yeah, I think the costume dept. nailed this look, don't you?
And if that wasn't cool enough, this beautiful boy, a horsehead seal whom the crew named Gregory Chonkers Whiskerton, kept hanging around, watching us. He got a few pogies out of it. And if you follow me on TikTok, you'll see a video where he came right up to Jamie Steeves, owner of J & J lobster and fed right from his hand.
If you want to see more photos of the film shoot, follow us on Facebook and stay tuned!
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News, musings, and events from a Maine coast writer. Stay Salty!