BTS: Simpatica – Preproduction



Simpatica from Dean Merrill on Vimeo.

Simpatica came about after I visited Grace Restaurant for the first time. I remember being in awe of the scale of the building, and how it would naturally lend itself to a romantic film. Long after Local Muscle Moving Co. held their first Valentines film festival which I was unable to submit anything to due to time constraints. This year I was prepared with a general concept which I approached writer Erin Enberg who then crafted a fantastic, intelligent script about 2 months out from the deadline. While Erin was busy crafting the script I approached Gary Robinov to help put the film together and act as Co-Director in the film.

After sorting through many actors we arrived at Dana Packard, Jennifer Nichole Porter, and Kat Moranos. Dana and Jennifer came and and blew us away with the intensity, professionalism, and kindness. Kat was able to quickly come in and work with us, which was a delight.

Shortly after Gary coming onboard, I approached Anne who owns Grace Restaurant about using the space during one of they days they were not open. She welcomed the project and allowed us to use the space for 12hrs. Days after Gary and I did a location scout where we looked at some basic blocking, and I metered all the light levels to know what we needed to do. This week was very busy consisting of putting together a 10 page storyboard, collecting actor information, and securing the crew for the shoot.

The following week we had Dana and Jennifer come back to do a fitting with Allison Slattery who was in charge of our wardrobe. Allison came in with a stunning dress, which was exactly what we were looking for and more! It more over it mirrored the central theme, snow.

While having the talent there, I did a quick camera test to see how 30fps conformed down to 24fps looked. The test went very well, giving us just the right amount of flow to the dress.

Finally after securing the cast and crew, I turned my attention to plotting out the lights. Since I had gone to the location before, I knew exactly what I needed to do to bring up the ambient level, where I wanted to hide accent lights, and what I wanted to use for a key light.

Since we had to move quickly I spent some time figuring out the different setups, and which ones to shoot first. In general my approach is to start with the wides to move in, and it would work out very well as we had time constraints with extras.



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