…We have continued to see the Lord’s faithfulness to us over the past two weeks…It seems we go in “good week, bad week” cycles, but I guess we can’t expect smooth sailing all the time…
Two weeks ago, we filmed the City of Refuge ending scene. The weather was idyllic that day. As we were shooting Sam’s crossing the bridge, the sun began to set, casting a beautiful warm glow over the village. It was perfect!
We also recorded the scene with Ike and the crashed rocket car. Tate was a trooper – he really got into his part. He did a good job standing in his spot [he was 22 months old at this point]– in fact, then we couldn’t get him to go anywhere else! The piece of wreckage he was supposed to hold caused him great consternation at first – he didn’t like the feel of the board, and there were tears - but then he got used to it, and we had the opposite problem – we couldn’t get him to give it up!
Joel found the goggles for Ike among our collection of antique tools…They were extremely old. (Grandma showed us a picture of her brother wearing them at age 5, but they must have been his dad’s or grandpa’s before that.) We didn’t think we were going to be able to use them, for there was no strap, and the piece between the eyes was too big. But Joel’s dad worked them over for us and got them to fit just right, to our delight. A great addition to our scene!
After our good week of shooting the closing scenes, we had a not-so-good week trying to get started on the rocket car scene. We fought lighting problems, wind, cold, and the challenges of taking a 4-year-old and almost-2-year-old out on outdoor shoots. Grandma and Grandpa were gone, so we didn’t have their help…it felt as if we were working ourselves to the bone, but getting nowhere! It was one of those weeks where we wondered, “What in the world are we doing? We must be crazy to think we can make a living doing this!”
At times my faith feels very small, and I’m tempted to doubt that the movie will really go anywhere. But then I stop and reflect on all the answers to prayer over the past year, and I see the Lord’s faithfulness to us. And I know that aside from the success or failure of the movie, the experiences we've shared working together as a family make the whole endeavor worth it!
Although - yes, we had our moments....
October 15, 2008
This week, when one of our little guys got stuck on a dialogue line, our filming sessions were total frustration. It took us three entire days just to capture one usable line. We were at our wits’ end! At one point, when we stopped for a break, Grandma (who had been praying through the shoot) eagerly asked our little guy how it was going. He replied wearily, “It’s not a very good life, Grandma!” :)
October 26, 2008
Joel spent the first three days of the week moving the zip line out to the woods. He also invented a great system for raising and lowering the zip line to make it easier to load Tate into the rocket car.
Thursday we all trooped out there and spent the day filming the scene where Ike picks up Sam. [Tate’s first time in the rocket car on the zip line.] Overall, the shoot went well. The weather was perfect, and Tate did a good job enduring a long day out there. He was a bit insecure as he whizzed down the line the first time, but then he got used to it, growing quite placid in his pilot’s seat. The smooth high-end pulleys, combined with the back and forth of numerous takes, had an effect on Tate similar to a baby swing. At the end of the day, I looked up and noticed that his head was drooping and his eyes closed – he had actually been lulled to sleep in his rocket car!
We lost a bit of momentum in November, with holidays and family visits and birthdays. But despite the delays, by Christmas, production of the main body of our movie was complete. We had a few pick-up shots to capture, and loads of editing, but we were ecstatic to think the end was in sight.
…Or maybe not…
Our Christmas trip to the Midwest included a meeting with our music producer in Dallas and a week in San Antonio for a Christian film festival and filmmakers’ academy. Stepping away from our movie for a while gave us a fresh perspective -- and a realization that we needed to seriously re-evaluate our work.
The first discouragement was the plain and simple fact that our movie was not long enough. When the first edit was complete, our movie was still twenty minutes under feature length. This was not just a minor problem – this was a big deal. At this point in the game, to come up with twenty minutes’ worth of “story helper”? Filler is never a good thing.
After watching the rough cut, the general consensus of our feedback committee was that the story lacked depth and clarity. The challenge of five kids’ playing multiple roles was revealing itself. We agreed with the criticism. Clarification was needed. Again, a rather daunting hurdle to face at this late date…
So…other than being way too short, and having a shallow and confusing storyline, the movie was great! :) We were reminded of a quote from our sound engineer: “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?”
Back to the drawing board…
We had no choice but to tackle the problems the best we could. Joel created twelve new scenes for the movie, to sprinkle throughout the storyline. To address the clarity issue, we set to work recording dialogue replacement and adding captions.
In March, Joel was off to Boston for an intensive three days of meetings with the music guys. Meanwhile, I was at home with the kiddos, in the throes of morning sickness, expecting Baby #6…[Little did we know that our new little one was destined to play a huge role in our second movie!]
Weekly Skype calls with our music guys, hammering through the rocket car scenes, lots of editing – and before we knew it, June was upon us. How could it be that the first half of the year was already gone? The busyness of daily life with five children and one on the way…the “tyranny of the urgent” seemed to keep us always busy, always working at maximum capacity, and always tired - yet with not much progress to show for it. We still had a long ways to go...
Can’t wait till you guys start posting the sequel of The Defense of New Haven!
My husband and I just watched both of your wonderful feature films last night. We are so amazed at how persistent you were through all of the setbacks. God is good! We know these were finished years ago but since your website is still up, we have tried to direct family members to it. We hope that you will continue putting out family-friendly, entertaining movies w/ depth of meaning again one day. We are praying that all is well with your family as we know how difficult it can be w/ homeschooling children in a world where this is not always encouraged. Your children have benefited so much already!
God bless you!
Elizabeth (and James) Prieb
Wow! Loved reading this post guys! Thanks for another behind the scenes :-) You guys really had some rough spots with this movie. But, I have to say, It is amazing! Thanks for sticking it out, and producing this awesome film. We love watching your movies.. Can’t wait to read behind the scenes from The Defense of New Haven :-) Keep it up Steeges!
I am so happy you decided to post another one! These BTS posts really give an insight into what y’all went through with this production we simply watch while sitting on the couch. I never heard that quote before concerning ‘Mrs. Lincoln’, but it gave me a realization of what people don’t realize actually goes into making a film. It’s so wonderful that you persevered! I can’t wait for the next…update!