The synthetic man shoot day #1 – I almost get stabbed to death

The first shooting day for my new feature film The Synthetic Man went relatively smoothly with only a few slight hitches. The day started out early for me with a nice uplifting scene where our lead character Richard Chase (played by the excellent Jeff Hartley) kidnaps an old woman (played by the equally-excellent Beverly Promersberger) and beats her to death in the woods. I’ve earned a special place in hell for even writing let alone planning and executing such a scene. In every film I make I try to do an homage to a classic album cover – in Frankenstein it was Peter Gabriel’s Car, then I don’t really remember what happened with Scars of Youth but I think this scene looks like that first Wild Man Fischer record, only instead of a paper cut-out I did it with the real thing.

Then comes the point in the day (later in the day around 6:45-7:00 PM) where we shoot the end of the scene, where a crazed intergalactic warrior tries to kill our hero (?) with a stone knife. Exhibit #1 – The Stone Knife:

Angel Ribolla was a late replacement for another actress but she came in and did a slam-bang job. I slapped on a thick coat of Fuller’s Earth and Ben Nye Plains Dust and she charged through the woods with this stone knife in this tyrannical rage, screaming her head off like a banshee. When I initially envisioned the shooting of this scenes, I was afraid the actress wouldn’t be able to work themselves up sufficiently; what I wanted was less a clean fight scene and more a struggle for life and death, crawling and scraping at each other. This is exactly what she gave me.

She got totally crazy, wildly stabbing into the air until I got too close and she cut my thumb. Then, like a complete idiot, I get behind the lead guy’s head for some low angle shots as she’s stabbing directly down into the air, right in the direction of my balls – this girl is going absolutely nutzoid and tyrranical with her blade on this rather deadly flight path as my thumb pours blood over the record button. Well I immediately freaked out and yelled cut (actually it was more like “stop stop stop stop stop”) but then continued. But all in all, everyone was a real trooper.