[Editor's Note #1: In honor of this week's release of Preston Miller's movie God's Land, we are republishing the set diaries that Preston and producer Jeremiah Kipp wrote during filming in 2009. This is a joint effort with Fandor, which will post the even-numbered diary entries on the same days the House posts the odd-numbered entries. God's Land will open at the Quad Cinema in Manhattan on Friday, October 28th. You will also be able to watch the film for free on Fandor from Friday, October 28th until Sunday, October 30th. Click here for more information. Our thanks to Kevin B. Lee.]
[Editor's Note #2: The following is the ninth in a series of on-set reports by producer Jeremiah Kipp on God's Land, a feature film written and directed by Preston Miller, whose previous feature, Jones, was covered by The House Next Door here (review), here (interview), and here (podcast).]
Days Sixteen & Seventeen
My God, just when you feel like you've got a hold of something, or you're moving forward at a good steady clip and sense that karma is on your side, things can rapidly take a turn for the nightmarish. Day sixteen is easily, without a doubt, the worst and most painful day of shooting on God's Land. After a week of scheduling with the actors and striking out with his location scouts, our fearless director Preston Miller suggests we just go into a famous department store chain, head straight to the grocery section, and proceed to steal shots there without benefit of insurance, paperwork, clearance or permits. I'm no coward when it comes to this stuff, but it's an insane proposition when you're stealing shots involving over a half dozen actors, most of them Asian-Americans dressed in white cowboy hats, hoodies and sweatpants—and involving three pages of solid, crucial dialogue—and involving child actors—and involving said child actors crashing shopping carts together for fun. Trying to shoot something like this is just madness—maybe even stupidity. Maybe we could have done it another way; but we decided to go for it to get those scenes completed and behind us.