Thursday, June 9, 2016
'How We Ended Up Shooting at Sunset on Point Dume State Beach' by Guile Branco
by Guile Branco
How We Ended Up Shooting at Sunset on Point Dume State Beach
Day one was upon us, and after successfully finalizing some very complex boat scenes a mile off the coast of Marina Del Rey, what could go wrong? After all, I had just swam out in the open sea with a GoPro attached to my forehead despite warnings that sharks roamed on those waters. I was finally on land, all my limbs attached and well - and after puking from sea sickness I was ready to move on - onwards we had on schedule our next scene and that one has proven to be our most complicated.
The opening of the film had called for two villains shooting machine guns at a beach. Sounds simple? Well, the number one problem was our tight budget meant we had no permits. No permits meant the shoot was illegal.
Problem two, I had with me an M60 machine gun replica - if you don't know what it means, that is the machine gun RAMBO used to shoot helicopters and hoards of soldiers, it's damn huge and heavy. I could see the worry in my directors face - Gui Pereira was very concerned.
We were all very aware of people being arrested, innocent filmmakers being framed as terrorists. I wouldn't blame anyone for calling the police upon seeing what appears to be maniacs out in the open with guns. I had in mind this location in Malibu and the moment we arrived we instantly knew it wouldn't work. The freeway was right next to us.
Our problem number three was that it was almost sunset, and if we couldn't get that scene in the can, the whole sequence would be transferred to animation. One of our actors suggested Point Dume - and off we go, there's no time to waste.
Well we got there and couldn't find parking. Seriously. It was 5pm, on a Thursday and all spots were taken. We wasted another 30 min circling around and I kept watching the sun as it traveled down. At this point I am almost giving up - animation it is. Art Kulik, our villain along with Lou D'Amato shouts out: "There's got to be parking near the beach, down the rocks" - I didn't believe him but at this point I'm going with the flow.
Our convoy drives down to Point Dume, which basically is a scenic pile of rocks and that's when I remembered that there is a secluded beach down there and if we can find parking, that's our last resort.
We did find parking. Rushing out of our cars I had the guns wrapped in plastic garbage bags to hide them. We had to run towards the rocks and do some climbing to get to the beach.
Problem four... a POLICE car parked right there, on the sand, in front of us. Trust me, if you saw an M60 machine gun wrapped in black plastic garbage bags, you would say that's exactly what I am hiding, a giant weapon of mass destruction. I stood there in a daze. The sun was almost at the horizon.
Suddenly as I stare at defeat they drive away, just like that. I scream: lets go!!! Art and myself grab the guns and dash toward the rocks. The director/DP Gui Pereira follows behind. We climb the rocks up and down. Art is in front of me, he suddenly turns and says: "we can't do it, there are people at the beach." I looked and there were about 15 people ready to watch the sunset. I told Art: "hold on" and gave him the huge M60.
I approached every single person on that beach and said: " Hello, I am a filmmaker and we are about to shoot a scene with fake guns. If you are NOT okay with this we will not do it" To my surprise - or not - every single person was super excited about the shoot, we became instant celebrities. They took pictures of us - some had traveled from Turkey and couldn't believe they were watching some "Hollywood magic" We shot the scene during sunset - which wasn't planned.
If it weren't for all the obstacles the scene would have been shot with normal daylight. BUT NO, now we have the most amazing sunset footage!
It all works! I hope you enjoy watching So Far!