After months of pre-production, ready to begin principal photography of Lotus Eyes! The first morning, the entire cast and crew woke up at 4 to drive to the mountains of Western Maryland. We arrived at Greenridge State Forest at 6 AM and began to drive along the dirt roads in the woods to our first location, a river off of Cliff Road. Cliff Road certainly lived up to its name and a sloppy turn could send a car over the edge. After successfully parking, we hiked down to the stream where we were going to begin production. The scenes involved our lead character attempting to spear fish in a river then subsequently bathing in the water, and feeling vulnerable and fearful of the world around him.
As is common on many productions, our film got off to a slow but steady start. We had to set up the camera and talk over our shot list with our Cinematographer, Habib Awan and our Assistant Director, Eddie Fuentes. At the same time, we had to work on making Mitch, our lead actor, look the part.
Some rather time consuming makeup was necessary to make Mitch look like he had been actually starving in the woods for multiple weeks. Luckily, Johns Hopkins Film and Media alum, Abby Harri did all the makeup effects on the film and had a plan from the beginning on how to make Mitch look the part.
We successfully wrapped the first two scenes of the day and were ready for a company move and lunchtime. We had a problem, however. We were about two hours behind schedule, meaning we would need to move quickly in order to finish everything before the sun went down. We had to film a scene involving the lead character running down a steep slope and stabbing himself with a knife. This was a complex series of shots for a number of reasons. First, the blocking itself was complicated and we needed to place the camera in the proper places to makes sure it would cut together well. Second, we also had to create the illusion of a character stabbing himself with a sharp blade. Third, running down a steep hill in the woods with a knife is dangerous in real life and we had to shoot the scene to limit this action as much as possible. Finally, we had only approximately two hours to shoot it. Fortunately the crew worked together to make the scene work as well as possible, and we were able to pull through and make our day. Day 1 was complete.