Dina Peterson told me that a film was being shot at Urban ReThink (625 E. Central Boulevard). I had several hours open before I went to Full Sail that night. She told me that an entire room would be filled with balloons and that there would be a line of extras waiting to get inside. There were no actors around when I arrived, so I sat across the street and started blocking in the architecture. The last time I drew this building it was the Urban Think bookstore which had to close because of the recession. It was a vibrant artists hub then and it is even more vibrant today. This is where I would experience a fraction of Seven Lives of Chance.
As I sketched, Banks Helfrich, the writer and director, parked his car and pulled out a dozen balloons. He and an assistant were dropping off some equipment at Urban ReThink. He stopped over to say hello and let me know that the cast and crew were right down the street shooting outside a Publix supermarket. I don't know the story behind Seven Lives of Chance but there are plenty of balloons involved. Banks described the first day of shooting which involved recreating a digestive tract using urethane foam. As he spoke the balloons he was holding kept getting blown in front of his face. He batted them aside.
Rather than rush down the street, I decided to keep working on the sketch I had started. Banks let me know they were coming to shoot at ReThink next in half an hour. They were a little behind schedule. Actor, Richard Regan Paul, said hello. He seemed to know me, yet I couldn't place him in my rattled brain. He was in a scene with Jodi Chase. The scene was shot from inside a ReThink conference room looking out at the actors on the sidewalk. After a take, Banks ran out to the actors on the sidewalk and he described their motivaion with animation and plenty of gesturing.
Dina Peterson waved hello and she shouted out the shooting schedule to me. The line of extras wouldn't arrive till after I was gone. Dina directed several extras who walked behind the actors in the scene. As one shot was being filmed, Dina raised her arms in panic. A pedestrian was walking right into the shot. She couldn't stop him. This was a small production that couldn't afford barricades. Perhaps this unsuspecting extra will end up in the film.
A giant red balloon was inflated in the conference room. It must have been incorporated in the shot somehow. The sound man kept the mic above the actors out of the shot. I couldn't hear the dialogue, but it looked like Jodi was ready to leave and Richard wanted to tag along. When I finished my sketch, I crossed over to thank Dina for inviting me. She was discussing schedules with the extras and she looked like a thousand derails were buzzing in her brain as yet unresolved. This was a 90 minute feature film being shot in seven days. They had just one chance to get it right.