“Deadly Renovations” www.deadlyrenovations.com releases Nationally on Aug. 21st, 2012 via Midnight Releasing. Director Robert Gwinn shares a few of his highlights from the filming of his 1st full feature film.
- This film was a challenge on many levels. It was my first feature, so I really had nothing to base the experience on. I knew how to shoot and I knew how to tell a story. My smaller films and projects I had worked on, I was typically doing everything myself. I had never really had to delegate to a crew. Suddenly I found I was leading a small team of people through the process and I was having to really step up my game.
- We shot the film at the real abandoned hotel Del-Sol in Yuma. It has been vacant for over 20 years, and it was in really rough condition. There is no power to the building and we only had two small generators for power. We would be in the middle of a take, and the genny would quit! Suddenly we would be standing around in pitch black, in a hotel known in local urban legend to be haunted. It was very easy to get the cast worked up and at least a couple of the reaction shots in the film are from an actor being really frightened.
- We were very blessed to have a great cast. A lot of them were people I knew from my years in Las Vegas, doing gangster shows and commercial work. So we had strong roots at our core right off the bat. When D.J. Perry and CDI got involved they had their little family as well. It was like a big “Brady Family” of actors who had all worked together at one time or another. The two groups blended quickly and had a great mix of experience levels. I took every opportunity to learn from them. Many of them were learning from each other, feeding off of each other, and contributing to the creative process.
- This was a film of blood sweat and tears, in the most literal of ways. We had several minor injuries due to the shear nature of the location. There were nails sticking out everywhere, collapsing ceilings, weakened floorboards, broken glass or some other risk factor throughout the building. We took as many safety precautions as we could but we were all running and falling and largely in the dark. No one was seriously hurt but there were a couple of close calls. Personally I think the biggest challenge was sleep deprivation. We would shoot all night and I would head home at sunrise. I would take a shower, lie down and as soon as my head would hit the pillow my phone was ringing. Soon it was time to get ready for the next night shoot. I think in that seventeen days of shooting I got maybe a total of twenty hours of sleep and that was because we took off Sunday.
- The biggest highlight for me was just being there working with people. I really enjoyed doing what I really love to do. It’s only hard work if you don’t care about what you are doing. This is all I have ever wanted to do and to be able to do that and share it with such a great and committed cast and crew – that was a really rewarding experience. I will take this experience with me forever. My first feature film!