UTV has long been a resource to NAU film students and has offered its student the freedom to gain the necessary experience of creating a film start to finish with a large group of people. As a team, we have worked to perfect the studio method and create outstanding films as a result of it. In Due Time, our latest production, showcases the years of experience gained over the years. And if you are reading this, you are most likely an Indiegogo backer and are ensuring UTV had the chance to produce this film and for that, UTV thanks you.
This blog post is a look at what occurred behind the scenes of this production and how strong communication ensures its success.
UTV begins selecting its projects out of multiple script submission and finds one that is producible, marketable and well written. In Due Time was written by our staff writer, Jason Ferguson, with the concept that perhaps what you are searching for is right in front of you. If you aren’t familiar with In Due Time, it is the story of a normal guy who has suffered from a bit of bad luck recently. His girlfriend broke up with him and stuck him with the task of picking up her dog from the pound. This serves as a reminder that life is not going as planned. In a effort to start over, he purchases a watch that can predict the moment you meet your soulmate. Sporting this watch throughout town, (along with the dog he never wanted) he attempts to confront multiple woman with the possibility that the ringing of the watch at their presence means they are the one. This comedy takes a look at the concept of “soulmates” and how first impressions aren’t always correct.
During pre-production, we reflect on the advice of Miguel Alvarez, In Due Time’s director, who strongly states that “communication is always key”. Along with keeping a cool head during stressful times. The staff and crew use pre-production as the time to lay the foundation for this film. This team, along with Miguel, consisted of Santos Barbosa (the executive producer), Sarah Weems (the Producer), Ryan Boivin (1st Assistant Director), Megan Deschaine (2nd Assistant Director), Asha Hopkins, Hannah Wheeler and Magdalene Lim (Production Coordinators) and Megan Babbitt (Director of Photography) and many other cast and crew members. Asha and Magdalene had the task of casting one of the most important roles, the dog.
These two managers found Second Chance Center for Animals in Flagstaff, AZ, a resource that was more than happy to lend us their space and one of their dogs for production. It was there that they found Roxie, a pit bull mix that would soon steal the hearts of everyone on set. It is because of the kindness of Second Chance to use their facilities and animals that we were able to shoot critical scenes in the film with ease. The rest of the location use you can find in our previous films and around Northern Arizona University. After ensuring locations were secured, we scheduled crew members and started composing a shot list. Organization is key when you only have four days to ensure all necessary shots are captured. From Friday, March 3rd to Sunday, March 5th and Tuesday, March 7th, we devoted the whole days to shooting.
The cast and crew found that the set process was exciting and eventful after many challenges presented themselves. For Azul Trejo, an Art Department Assistant, the process of creating a pregnant belly on one female actress was educational in the event he needed to do so in another professional shoot. The process of shooting was quick and efficient, with every member performing their designated task, to ensure smooth filming days so re-shoots would not be necessary. Kendall Harter, a Lighting and Audio Assistant, spent the long filming days learning how to perform different lighting techniques even with the process of having a midterm during a filming day. Kendall was present when needed and performed her duties to the best of her abilities despite the setback. When every crew member goes in with the same goal, the best outcome becomes possible. Brianna Shinn, Camera Assistant, was worried that she would mess up on set or cause issues but instead she shined on set and learned set etiquette.
Hannah Wheeler, the Script Supervisor, reminds us that smooth filming days are not always so easy. It takes a true dedication to your role to ensure continuity. When you have a high profile role like hers, she states you have to know your team and know how to do your job right. And beside from her position on set, Hannah had one of the most exciting and rewarding roles during filming. Read her testimony: “The best part of this film for me was getting to temporarily “foster” our star dog, Roxie. At the end of filming, we had to return her to Second Chance and I was sad to see her go… After spending four days with her, I knew she was a sweet girl who deserved to find a real home. Thankfully, she was adopted the very next day! A post I made on Facebook actually helped Roxie find her new loving owners, so it made me very happy to know I was able to help her find her forever home.”
After speaking with multiple cast and crew members, the one lesson that they agreed they learned was communication is key. You may remember that Miguel mentioned this in the beginning of production. When working together with such a large group, you have to not only hope it will work out but take the necessary steps to insure this. Even though the cast and crew are students at a university and are still learning the benefits of strong communication on a film set, the chance to try and fail on projects like these are priceless. Every film is not only a chance to gain better technical skills, but better communication skills. It is only when we work together as a unit that we can watch this film and afterwards and know that it was only possible because of every cast and crew member.
Currently, In Due Time is in post-production. This is being done by UTV’s Post Production Supervisor, Samuel Oshins. We are excited to move on towards our next semester project, Emily’s Picture.