In the beginning of my Day 1 blog, I explained the phrase, “Screw the shoot – let’s go to Disneyland,” shared by Dave and I, and definitely desired by all three of us. It’s the type of thing you joke about doing (putting aside what you actually have to do and indulging in an irrational decision) and play out in your head how much fun it’d be to attempt, but don’t actually try because you’re a realistic and rational human being. We’ll come back to that later.
The day began with meeting the incredibly helpful Daniel for some Chick-Fil-A breakfast (you have to start off a full day right) and going over camera details and instructions on how we should get footage to him. Daniel ended up being the nicest guy and had no ulterior motive to helping us out, other than just being a friend to some strangers from out of town with the same passions. We were blessed to have the opportunity to meet him and become friends with him.
Driving was the name of the game for Day 2. A lot of the film called for driving scenes, so we drove around Los Angeles for several hours, trying to get B-Roll of the city as well as shots with the city in the backdrop of myself or Jessica and myself in the car. If you are familiar with Los Angeles, you know how much driving plays a part in life over there, so you can imagine how much I was over driving by the end of our stay. We collected some solid film and turned the car around toward Glendora, gearing up for the evening’s group scene.
After Jessica was dropped off, we went to In-N-Out to talk out the film plan (that being our second time at In-N-Out in two days). The plan was laid out as the following: everyone was going to rendezvous with us at the bottom of the mountain at 5:45, leaving there closer to 6:00, and beginning our short jaunt from the parking spots to the location. That would leave us at least thirty minutes before sunset (at 7:08), and we could get some great footage at the golden hour. That was the plan.
Andreos, Dave, and I waited at the rendezvous spot for 15 minutes before discovering that traffic had waylaid a few extras. That’s okay, we thought – we built in that buffer of time for things like that. So the three of us headed up and sent our location to the rest of the folks so they would know where to park.
After leaving thirty minutes passed the projected departure time, Jessica and the crew finally made it up the mountain, reaching more questions than points on a map. After numerous calls and confused u-turns, they finally made it to the turnoff, and the sun was almost completely behind the hills. We had to adapt quickly, and transformed the vision of a scene at dusk to that of moonlight. Portable lights we packed along for the trip were well worth lugging around at this point.
Originally I had envisioned a group of people partying near an overlook of the city, playing around a fire for this scene. The overlook was incredible – the lights of the city shone like their own electric stars beneath the sky. Being in Southern California presented other complications when it came to the fire we wanted to create. There was a drought at this time, so we had to be inventive around the construction of the fire for this scene. In order to keep my government record unmarred, you’ll have to see the video for more details.
After a lot of stress, work, and my terrible acting, we finished the scene and called it a wrap. The shots didn’t go quite the way we had planned, but we were pleased with what we were able to accomplish and climbed down the hill with starlit smiles on our faces.
Driving down Glendora hills, we ran into Foothill Boulevard, and a rush of nostalgia washed over me with the sweet aroma of donuts. I lived just south of Glendora for two years during college, and facing Foothill head-on brought to mind my youthful indulgence: Donut Man.
Dave, Andreos and I rushed over to the tiny hut that holds the sweetest of treats, and jumped into the line that consumed the parking lot. While in line, Dave – being himself – struck up a conversation with the students in front of us, discovering that one of them was an employee at Disneyland. Dave and I both gave a sidelong look at each other and returned to the conversation. By the time we had retrieved our heavenly pastries, we began to part ways and the Disney employee, Nick, told us, “Hey, this is random, but you guys are really cool, and I know you’re only in town for a few days, but if you have time and want to come to Disneyland for free, you’re welcome to use my guest passes.”
Did you just read that? Because when I heard that sentence from Nick, I had to ask him to repeat it. I shook my head in disbelief and started laughing with Dave, as we both remembered one of our first conversations on the trip: “Screw the video – let’s just go to Disneyland!” That idea had never been realistic until this moment. We couldn’t believe it, and both set our donuts aside so we could properly laugh at the irony of the moment.
The day was a success: the three of us were full of sweets and heading back to Northridge for the night. The next day held Oceanside, and, potentially, a day at Disney.