The home stretch

The home stretch

One of our “new” scenes was the final Henry/Clyde confrontation – a unique and challenging one for Joel and Addison, requiring Addison to fight himself. As if that wasn’t difficult enough, we were given a new obstacle to overcome…

 

 

Just as we were ready to shoot the final Henry/Clyde scene, Add lost one of his top front teeth...needless to say, a very noticeable change. Of all times! In desperation, Joel stopped at the drugstore on the way out to shoot and bought some Fix-o-Dent to glue the tooth back in. At first we were hopeful it would do the trick… Joel was able to push the tooth back up into its spot and it looked pretty good. But as we worked our way through the scene, the tooth slowly began to slide down and push its way forward out over Add’s lip, an ooze of pink goo accompanying it. Well, maybe this wasn’t going to work so well…We finally gave up and pitched the tooth, deciding we’d have to make do without it. Our dilemma was solved in Clyde’s case by his beard, but Henry was a little more difficult. Nonetheless, we managed to eke by, figuring a toothless Henry was better than Henry with a protruding pink tooth!

 

 

Back to the rocket car scenes...

June 14, 2009

We just finished two very intensive, exhausting weeks on the rocket car scene – and we’re still alive (but barely!) to tell about it…We set a new record: 6 straight days of outdoor shooting. By the end, Joel and the kids were beyond maxed. (Although I have to say, kids are pretty resilient – they bounce back pretty fast!)

A challenge we faced during our shoot was the unusual weather. In Oregon, thunderstorms are rare. It’s the talk of the town when a clap of thunder is heard. Amazingly, while we were filming, we experienced TWO storms in a week – complete with driving winds and rain, lots of lightning, and even reports of a tornado nearby! It was bizarre, to say the least.

 

Journal excerpt

Yesterday Joel tried shooting for most of the morning and part of the afternoon, but finally called it quits because the sun was just too bright. He packed everyone up and headed for home, but on the way he realized that it was clouding up – the conditions were much more favorable for the camera. His dad called on his cell phone to confirm it was great light at the property. So Joel turned around and went back. The kids got in costume, Joel loaded the gear into the Kawasaki, and the crew headed back down to the shooting location (which is no small task). Joel had just yelled, “Action!” when a thunderstorm broke loose in all its fury… panic  - scramble – it was a mad dash to get everyone out of the woods before someone got struck by lightning…!

It was indeed “one of those days.”   

That morning, even before the weather disaster, nothing went right. The ever-changing lighting was frustrating to deal with - then one of the tripod feet came off.  With the dense undergrowth and brush, Joel figured it was lost forever – but to his amazement, one of the boys found it! One small comfort in an otherwise trying day…

 

On Monday, Joel was able to piece the scene together for the first time – some holes still, but it was starting to tell a story. Yay for progress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another milestone today: we received the first completed music reel: the tribal scene! That was an awesome moment, realizing that this is original music composed just for our movie – wow! I had no idea the music would be such a time-intensive, challenging part of our production. All the hours of meetings, and the days upon days that the music guys have poured into composing and transcribing and hammering the scenes out…what an incredible amount of work! But we are thrilled to see how much the original music is adding to our movie. It is well worth every bit of sweat, blood, and tears!

 

 

Father's Day, 2009

As the kids spent hours excitedly preparing their little gifts for Joel this year (I finally had to tell them to stop), :) I was filled with joy and gratefulness in thinking of how much they love their daddy. It wasn’t this way a few years ago, when Joel was at his corporate job. Of course, the children have always loved their daddy, but their time with him on a daily basis was so brief, and his work was a big unknown to them. (In fact, one of the little guys called Joel’s place of work “Daddy’s hotel” – a rather apt description!)

Now they not only know what he does, they’re a major part of it. They spend all day, every day with him – they know they’re valued and special to him – and as a consequence, they are his loyal admirers. When it’s a choice of going shopping with Mommy or staying home with Daddy, there’s never a decision to be made – it’s Daddy every time! But I don’t mind – I’m delighted that things are this way. Even if this movie is a flop, I wouldn’t trade this past year and a half for anything!

June 30, 2009

If we had kept with our original plan, the recording in Prague would have been finished now (June 23-27)! But considering the fact that only 2 reels of music are complete and we still have to re-shoot the prison scene, it’s probably a good thing we postponed till August. The guys’ plane tickets have been purchased now, so there’s no turning back!

This week Joel spent most of his time editing – both the rocket car scene and the next reel to send to the music guys. The rocket car scene is essentially complete, although I think Joel would like to get a few more background plates for his green screen shots.

Now on to the prison scene, take #2…we have to start from scratch and build the set all over again! [Note: The prison scene, our very first to shoot, was the one we cringed at the most out of all our scenes. After a year of gaining valuable experience with the camera and acting, we decided we could “make a better one.”] :)

 

We still haven’t come up with a name for our movie…some of us like “Quest for Rest” – my favorite is “Henry and the Quest for Rest,” but because of Beverly Cleary’s Henry Huggins series, the Google search is glutted with that name. “City of Refuge” is already in use – besides, we’re not sure we want to give it away in the title. Joel suggested “One from Ravenshead”; the music guys had a similar idea: “Escape from Ravenshead.” I suppose one of these days we’re going to have to settle on something!

 

July 23, 2009

The edit of the rocket car is complete and on its way to the music guys! Whew! What a relief to have that grueling scene finished.

Time is short! Recording is less than a month away…Just received music reel #4. We’ve got to get the prison scene done soon so the composers can have that next without delay. Though it is a pressure, I think the recording deadline is good for us. We need to be pushed along.

We are definitely hitting burn-out stage – it’s been a long haul.

 

Today will be our third day of filming the prison scene. Unfortunately, because of the heat, we’ve had to wait until evenings to shoot. By the time we work two to three hours, clean up, and have a snack, it’s midnight – we’re not in bed until 1 or 1:30 a.m. A taxing schedule for young kids and a pregnant mommy!

July 30, 2009

IT’S A WRAP! Hooray – hooray – one thousand times hooray! Our last night of shooting was another late one because of the heat. We’ve been setting record temperatures: one day reached 106. [This is extremely rare for Oregon. Naturally, we have to experience all the record-setting, rare weather patterns during production!]

The kids and Joel drove out for the shoot about 9 p.m. Once they began, they got on a roll, and everybody voted to push through to the very end. The last take was finished at 3:30 a.m.!  

I had stayed home with Tate, but I awoke often during the night, praying for the shoot and wondering how it was going. When I heard the garage door open at about 4 a.m., I popped out of bed and hurried downstairs to meet the crew. They were amazingly bright-eyed and cheery – exhilarated by the novelty of staying up all night! They did admit, though, that bed sounded pretty good. :)

It wasn’t until several days later that Joel waded through all the footage and decided he had enough to work with. We had been holding our breath until the announcement…but finally it came: we were officially finished shooting! Even then, we were numb for a few days until reality sank in. For over a year now, it’s been on to the next scene, push, push, push – happy to get a scene behind us, but no time for a break because the next scene must be planned, built and filmed. To be free from the pressure at last – we could hardly believe it!

We celebrated our momentous occasion with a family outing to let the kids each pick out a reward for their hard work. Practical Mommy suggested the kids pray about how to spend their money… I was slightly disappointed when they all chose LEGO sets, but they quickly assured me they had indeed prayed about it, and felt confident that they could honor the Lord by playing nicely and sharing their toys. :)

 


3 comments

  • Rebekah Polder

    We really enjoyed reading this behind the scenes post. You guys really had to persevere! I don’t know if I would have had the ummph to keep at it after all that.. But then again, if you mad it to such a point, you’d want to finish what you’d poured so much energy into! We watch Runner from Ravenshead quite often, and never tire of it’s humor or message. :-) Thank you for such an awesome film. Keep going Steeges! We can’t wait to see the new movie. :-) Blessings to each of you <3

  • James Staddon

    Just finished watching this again (for the umpteenth time!) with another family who hadn’t seen it in a long time. :) Always fun to read the backstory

  • Maggie Nelson

    This made me smile so many times! The darling humor and the fascinating, amazing, crazy stories! Wow and double wow! Yes, playing nicely with LEGOs is definitely a good way to honor God. ;-)
    I loved all the pictures of everyone. Nice horse statue…!
    All the ridiculous setbacks really showed me that there was spiritual warfare going on over ‘Runner’. Although having to redo and fix things that shouldn’t have been broken in the first place can be upsetting, it is almost encouraging to realize that the devil wouldn’t fight something that wasn’t going to bring God incredible glory. I know first hand that if something is going to impact God’s kingdom, everything that could go wrong, no matter how crazy the odds, will go wrong. I’m so glad y’all pushed through! What an encouragement.

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