Principal photography has now been completed for my second feature Claustrophobia, a horror/thriller shot handheld on PAL DV in one Los Angeles house and starring Melanie Lynskey , Sheeri Rappaport, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. It was a chummy set, as several crew members had worked with me on Foreign Correspondents, Mel and Mary Lynn had acted together on the Reese Witherspoon comedy Sweet Home Alabama, and a quarter of the crew were all good buddies from New Zealand.
Other than that, it was the usual hell of production: trying to film everything within a very limited amount of time (nine 12-hour days, with the weekend off), having to deal with technical difficulties (setting up more lights than I thought we'd ever need, microphones that didn't always work, avoiding telltale boom shadows), personal difficulties (our sound recordist had an impacted wisdom tooth on the first day of the shoot!), location difficulties (limited parking choices at the house where we filmed, homeowners who would freak out over every smudge left on their walls and floors), noise difficulties (construction on the building across the street from the house, garbage collectors, LA's notorious police helicopters), etc. Though I'm happy with the results, I wish we'd had more time, so that I could have collaborated more with the cast rather than just telling them "stand there, walk there, we gotta get this shot before the guy across the street turns his leaf blower on." But they put in fantastic performances and the crew was amazingly professional and talented as well. It was so moving to see everybody working so hard on my tiny little horror flick. I got a big, big bang for my buck. To put it in perspective, I saw Insomnia during our weekend break and, knowing that film's budget, I concluded that I could have made over 1,600 Claustrophobia-sized films for the price of one Insomnia. And say what you will, there's no way Insomnia could possibly be 1,600 times better than my film! Now comes the post-production process. I can't wait to start cutting all this footage together. My editor and I have a lot of great stuff to work with. So for all of you who worked on the film in some capacity: Thank you. I am truly grateful.