I had no idea that making a 90 second book trailer for the trashy Alex Garfield spy novels would take an entire day, but it does if one has a professional film crew. Thanks to Key Bridge Creative and director Dave Gedney and the whole team we accomplished a great shoot. Alex Garfield had two kills, managed to wear Armani, Prada, Louboutin, Hermes, Halston, Cartier, Gucci, Judith Lieber and Jimmy Choo. Not bad for one day!
I watched as our actress drove an Aston Martin while wearing a vintage Halston evening dress, Alex’s signature black pearls, carrying a Judith Lieber purse, all the while with a Derringer in her garter. To get those few seconds of image for the trailer, it took over an hour of driving the car around and around the circle in front of the house where we were shooting. Our expert cameraman shot the scene from at least six different angles and then sat on a moving dolly which was pushed and pulled by two others as he circled the car. Our fantastic actress was worried he would scrape the car that was kindly loaned to us by Aston Martin Washington D.C.
The break-in scene was fascinating to watch as the director and crew worked with Alex to have her jump the wrought iron fence without impaling herself on the fence’s spikes. This took almost two and a half hours due to the complexity of actually safely jumping a three-foot metal fence after she lock-picked open the gate.
Our actress was so good about this scene and so trusting of the crew to help her complete it properly. The crew made certain she safely landed every time so no ankles were turned.
I never knew how tricky lighting was for film during the daytime. The lighting staff spent hours fine-tuning the added lights and filters so the final product would be perfect. They added and subtracted lights and intensity over and over again until the cameraman and director were happy. We were shooting this scene at midday, which means you can guess how tricky the lighting became at night.
Our first scene of the day was at Al Tiramisu (Link) because we needed to shoot when no one was there to eat. In the scene here, Alex Garfield used a waiter to pass a note to one of her contacts and then met her current lover for some wine and Carpaccio. This vignette took the longest to shoot primarily due to getting the lighting right and the furniture placed. Luigi Diotaiuti, the owner, was so gracious as to let us move booths, paintings, and tables in order to get the shots just as the director wanted. One of his waiters volunteered to be at the restaurant at 8 a.m. to let us in and help with the setup as well as to be the actual waiter in the shoot. He must have gotten exhausted over how many times we filmed his arms putting down a martini, taking a passed note, and serving red wine! For seconds of the trailer, it took three hours to set it up and shoot. I have an even greater appreciation for actors, directors, and crews.
The scene that was the easiest and quickest to film was the bedroom scene. The lighting was set very quickly and there were only a few takes. Luckily, the Halston dress is perfectly made for being shed quickly, and, of course, the Louboutin shoes were left on for the shoot. Although the scene is not as explicit as the sex scenes in the books, it does give a great hint of what one can expect.
All in all, it was a fascinating day. Hopefully, as the Garfield novels get turned into more books and then either a television series or movies, I’ll get to spend more time on sets admiring the talents of the entire crew and the actors. It certainly takes a finely tuned set of eyes and ears as well as great patience to create a visual story. And it is an amazing feeling for an author to see one’s characters turned into reality. I got a hint of what Tom Clancy, David Ignatius, Vince Flynn, and others have experienced in their lives when their books have become movies. Now all that is left is to find the producers to make it happen!