Behind The Scenes: Filming “Ask A Dude” part 1

By Irena Flego// Fifth Space Fellow and Spread The Love Team Member

It’s the second week of prototyping! Our focus was on shooting our first video for ‘Ask A Dude’ so we can get feedback and gauge reactions. Just a recap: ‘Ask a Dude’ is all about finding a new way for men to have conversations about sex and relationships. We’re creating short TV episodes, recruiting allies in group homes & community venues, and hosting watching parties to generate topics for the next episodes.

Since film is at the heart of our project, plenty of time was spent envisioning what is it actually going to look like. The main idea was that video will show three “dudes” sitting around a table chatting casually about sex and relationships. Among the issues that immediately came up was scripted vs. non-scripted conversation. We did not want to have proscribed expert opinion acted out, and we also felt that the authenticity of the Dudes would be compromised. The dudes would, sort of, use their own experiences and acting abilities to improvise on given themes. Editing will solve the ”bad” answer cases. For casting, the team draw on personal contacts in acting and filming industry.

Planing stage dealt with checking for the availability of actors, shooting locations, co-ordinating different tasks among the team members, and tons of emails going back and forth with new ideas, documents, reflections, and updates. Then on Tuesday, the team went into film-making mode.

Take One – Tuesday morning we meet at Venables and drive Downtown to shoot the intro with Adam, our first Dude. The idea for Dude introductions which will run at the beginning of each episode came from, of course, Superhero movies. We envisioned the Dudes as sort of funny take on Superheros, where each one is shown at work or doing their regular staff and then the “Dude Assembly Call” comes in.

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Adam the Dudeat his usual table at Organic Tree Coffee Shop; Ian and Hayley setting the scene

Adam is experienced writer and film maker which was extremely helpful as he is used to filming process. There were some hilarious, completely spontaneous scenes that emerged, for example the take of him racing down the street in his wheelchair or putting on his hoodie in a manner of Superhero’s Cape.

And we're rolling:
And we’re rolling:”Action!”

Take Two– Heading for Sky Train Station on Commercial and Broadway to meet with our second Dude, Daniel. Daniel is an Improv Artist and was kind enough to lend us his unique expertize. He came up with the idea to use Hot Dog as a prop, which showed us how important is to have fresh input from everyone involved with the project. The story line goes something like “the Dude No. 2 is going about his business, he is hungry and buys hot dog at the Sky Train Station; his phone rings; he looks at the screen which reads – Dude assembly call; he is looking at the hot dog and then the phone contemplating what to do; he decides to go with the call; he gives the hot dog to the random, puzzled passerby (Bobae); he runs to Sky Train Platform; he enters sky train; close up of “mean” look on his face; the train doors close; the end;”

Luckily, none of the potentially challenging issues like permission to shoot on the Sky Train did not come up.

Important prop: hot dog close up
Important prop: hot dog close up

The shooting involved lots of improvising on the spot, as well as being resourceful with small things such as using our own bus passes, purchasing the hot dog for lunch or persuading cafe owner to allow us to do a quick shoot without disrupting the patrons.

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Filming the film-makers: same thing from another angle
Prep for the scene: “dude assembly” text message coming through
Prep for the scene: “dude assembly” text message coming through

What we learned at the end was that the whole process is the combination of few things: good planning but also improvising when needed as well as patience, relaxed attitude and being able to go with the flow. This part of the video will be edited in a way to hopefully get people’s attention with it’s dynamics and humor. In a way, the success of the whole project will depend on the likability of the main characters and the way they are introduced. Next week we are continuing with shooting “the conversation” piece at the Vancouver Public Library.

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