23 October Update–Travel Day

6:00 AM: Just got off the phone with Mark. He’s been picked up and is en route to the airport. Should be plenty of time for him to get on his 9am flight. So far so good.

7:15 PM: Problem. Mark is in line at American and the ticket, supposedly paid for the night before, hasn’t gone through Credit card declined. Unbelievable because I know I used the one card I have with enough money on it to pay the ticket. Mad phone calls….Mark waiting in line. Calls to the bank…yes there’s money there. No, no charge from AA has been declined. Calls to AA – yes, charge declined. Call to bank: no, there are enough funds for the ticket. Now it’s 8 o’clock. Finally AA admits it was its mistake–they never put the charge through. But now it’s too late for me to pay. I have to go to LAX to pay and that’s an hour away. Mark comes to rescue, pays from his credit card. Thanks, buddy.

10:15 AM: The film commission emails me a PDF of a document with customs stamps all over it saying our equipment is approved for import and re-export. They tell me that they have also sent hard copies to Customs at the airport in Freeport — that they have it and are expecting Mark, eerything is good. Great. Only problem is I want Mark to have his own copy just in case, but it’s hard to get it to Mark, who is en route but hasn’t landed yet in Miami. So I email it to him, figuring in a worst case he can show it on his laptop to the Customs Officer in the Bahamas. He gets it in Miami — it’s on his laptop. Everything good. He’s due to land at 9:15pm EST, 6:15 PM our time out here. I’m by the phone, on the computer, waiting.

12:15PM: I’m working on the shotlist for all the dolphin shots, putting them in sequence, making diagrams. Mark knows all of the shots about as well as I do, but UNEXSO wants it on paper. I get it done, send it out, along with a proposed shooting schedule and sequence. I’ll probably post it separately on here for fun.

3:15PM: With Mark on the ground in Miami, we hold a production meeting by phone — Mark, Paul Mockler (underwater DP), and Sarah Hamilton (underwater assistant). Paul informs that Veronica at UNEXSO wants us at UNEXSO, camera ready, in wetsuits and dive gear — at 9 am. So we go over everything

5:00PM: Just sent off the following shotlist for the UNEXSO portion of the shoot. Mark generally knows all the shots and will be the on-site second unit director — but as “Mission Control” I need to submit a list, especially so that Veronica and UNEXSO are comfortable that they know what we want what they have to help us get under our deal. Here it is:



Near the end of the movie Rasca is released from the “Navy Pen” on Andros Island and “races to freedom”, following the sound of a re-call pinger which leads her to a reunion with Hawk and Alyssa. Mark will show you the sequence as we have it now – and the holes we have in it. Basically we need:

• A single dolphin swimming fast from A to B
o Different Angles
o Different environments (i.e. shallow green water and deeper dark blue water)

The key thing is – single dolphin swimming fast in a straight line from as many angles and in as many environments as possible. (Note : It would be particularly wonderful getting a shot of a dolphin racing past the rocks at the end of the jetty.)

• It would be great to get shots from above water of a dolphin racing just beneath the surface (not riding a bow wave but swimming fast—with the shot taken from the bow of the boat looking down at the dolphin).

In the early part of the movie we introduce the idea of a “recall pinger” as the way that Hawk and company call the dolphins into the facility for training or presentations. In the original shotlist – we had the following which we would like to get if possible – but this is a second priority:

• Two dolphins (Bogie and Bacall in the story) are in an ocean environment “doing their thing” (whatever is natural) when they hear the pinger and suddenly turn and head for the facility.
• Same as above with a single dolphin (Rasca)
• We are also putting together a title sequence that is essentially shots of dolphins behaving naturally in nature, particularly shots that show any socialization between them. If there are opportunities to grab any shots that might fit into such a sequence – go for them. (Mark will show you the kinds of shots we have already).

We are lacking shots of Rasca as if seen from the diving platform reacting to the situatioin when Alyssa is unconscious. Also various other above water shots of Rasca near either the platform or the boat. The idea is that if we can get the camera in position on the small skiff – Mark will describe the kinds of things we’re looking for and we can hopefully just shoot for 10 minutes or so and get the various reactions. We’re not looking for anything that’s not already part of their normal repertoire of behaviors – but would like them to run through.

We need:
• Shots of Rasca in the “Navy pen” taken from outside the pen looking through the gate as she swims back and forth or in circles.
• Same kind of shots but taken from inside the pen.
• Shot of Rasca racing out through the open gate.

(Veronica if it were possible to get a re-shoot of a dolphin opening the gate, that would be unbelievably helpful – but I’m assuming that’s a training thing and we’re not prepared so I’m only mentioning it – not saying we must do it. The shot we have is a bit overexposed but we can make it work and I know that’s a behavior that they haven’t been asked to do in over a year.)

At some point Mark needs to record as many different dolphin sounds as possible. We need both natural sounds that they make on their own – and whatever sounds they make on command or as part of a behavior. It would also be great if we could record dolphin sounds underwater – Paul, I recall that your mini-DV cam records sound beautifullly underwater. I should have thought of mentioning this sooner – but if it turns out to be possible to record underwater dolphin sounds as well as above water sounds – that would be awesome.

(Note: Mark, have I forgotten any dolphin shots?)

We need any “dolphin POV shots” we can get. These are shots that don’t involve the dolphins – just the locations where the dolphins are. For example
• In the facility, shots as if we are seeing what Rasca sees as she is “imprisoned” in the Navy pen.
• In the facility, shots as if we are seeing what a dolphin sees as it comes out through a gate.
• In the open water – any kind of shot we can cook up that gives a sense of fast forward movement through the water as seen by a dolphin. Mark and Paul may have some ideas for this.

6:30PM: Call from Mark. My first words, thinking all is well: “So are you having a Kalik at the hotel?” Answer: “No, I’m stuck in customs, they don’t know anything about the approval and they won’t look at it on my laptop. They say they’re going to seize the equipment and I can’t getit out until Monday. And they’re closing the airport in 5 minutes.” I’m not kidding–that’s the exact download. So I asked Mark to stay on hold, then — heart in throat, seriously — called the cell number of Eureka Glinton and miraculously got through, even though (as I later learned) she was at some cocktail gathering in the hills where there is no cell signal — but she got the call and took it. So I conferenced her in with the customs official……after 10 minutes of Eureka brilliantly cajoling him,somehow Mark is through. But we stay on the phone with him because by now the airport is closed and there are no taxis for him. Ten more minutes of drama and we have him on a taxi headed for his hotel.

Whew. We got him in, with all the equipment. Call it a day.

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