February vacation is coming to a close, and it’s been quite the week. We’ve been filming almost every single day and got a chance to shoot scenes outside of the school, which was really helpful. On Tuesday, we shot a bunch of scenes at Caitlin’s house, and we’re using her bedroom for Jessica’s bedroom. First we shot Jessica’s half of the phone call scene between her and Marina, and it was a relief to have that scene totally done. Marina’s half was the first scene we ever shot, so we’ve been dying to finish it after two months of filming. Next, we shot the scene on the first day of school where Jessica first wakes up. In the scene, her mom wishes her good luck before her mom leaves to visit Jessica’s grandmother, and we used Caitlin’s mom as Jessica and Rachel’s mom. Not only does she look a lot like Rachel/Caitlin, but she proved to be quite the actress! She had such a natural motherly instinct that you would never know that Maria and Mrs. Barry had never met before. Mrs. Barry’s instincts were so good that she even kissed Maria/Jessica on the head before she left the room, which took Maria by surprise! We’re really grateful that Mrs. Barry was willing to act for us, and it made the whole scene so much more realistic. Finally, Caitlin got a chance to act for the first time all year when we filmed the scene where Rachel comes into Jessica’s room after Jessica has a nightmare. Caitlin had the perfect combination of annoyance and concern, and did not disappoint during her first scene ever.
Thursday was a really big day for us, and we got a lot of our scenes with Pontis done! She’s amazing and knows her character really well, so we were happy to have her for the day. Surprisingly, the hardest scene to get done wasn’t our big opening scene, but a smaller scene that takes place in St. Martin’s room. In the scene, Jessica and Marina see Emily for the first time. It was difficult getting the girls’ reactions right, and we struggled with figuring out a way to make their surprise realistic and believable. After spending a really long time trying to get that one small scene done, we decided to move on to something else so the girls could try something else instead. That was a really good decision because the next scene we shot was that big opening scene, and everyone was amazing in it. Caitlin and Valerie were perfect when they were pushing around and bullying Emily, and Pontis did a good job of being tough but also sensitive when she was trying to fight back against Rachel and Liz. The empty school let us do a lot of cool shots and try a lot of things that we would not have been able to do on a regular school day, so the girls could yell and scream all they wanted without worrying about disturbing anyone. We also finished up a scene that takes place in the library where the two girls realize they’re late for extra help with St. Martin, and it was also a relief to get the entire library scene done after shooting parts of it for the past two months.
Finally, today we shot one scene at Peter’s aunt’s house, and we’re using her house as Rachel and Jessica’s house (except for Caitlin’s bedroom as Jessica’s room). The scene takes place when Jessica is at home doing homework and Rachel comes home from work. Jessica asks Rachel about Emily and the two get into an argument about it. As always, Maria and Caitlin were amazing at playing two sisters, and their acting in this scene was some of the best we’ve seen all year.
Because John was away this week, I got a chance to use the camera a lot more than I usually do, which was really interesting for me. I also brought my own camera so we had two going at the same time, which made shooting a lot easier because we could get a ton of different angles and shots without wasting time. And because a lot of the scenes we shot take place at Jessica’s house, I had a lot of fun decorating her room and adding a lot of little touches here and there. I Photoshopped pictures of Stacy and Maria together to frame and put in Jessica’s room, as well as adding books and DVDs and other items around the room. We really got a chance to play with the color blue around her room, and tried to find ways to incorporate the color without overwhelming the scene. I also got to decorate Emily’s locker back at the school, and the journal I’ve been working on for the past few months finally got some screen time in her locker. I also hung up a poster of Stevie Nicks, put some other journals on the shelves, and Peter brought in Fleetwood Mac vinyls to hide at the bottom of the locker. We’ve never shot with Pontis or Caitlin before, so it was fun to finally get to see what all of the costumes and props I’ve picked out look like in action.
With a sleepover in the works and a lot of big scenes coming up over the next few weeks, the Bu crew has never been happier.