Behind the Scenes of Guerilla: My First Time on Set a College Production

The shoot starts at 8 am and I’m waiting for the T at 7:40 am, half-awake but excited to finally be able to work on-set a college production. I had done smaller projects in high school, but nothing compared to the larger-scale sets I always see BU film students posting about on their Instagram stories. The T arrives and I’m en route to Allston to help film Guerrilla, a visual album film written and directed by BU senior Giancarlo Lobo. 

Image Credit: Bradley Noble

The story revolves around Marco, a 20-year-old man battling with crippling anxiety and struggling to make sense of the reality of the world around him. In an attempt to reconnect with an old friend and find meaning in his existence, he goes on a bike ride that takes him throughout the most transformative moments and relationships of his adolescence. 

I’m assigned to help assist with the production design team in creating a disheveled kitchen and a breakdown scene in which the main character scribbles in a journal full of his own chaotic thoughts. The PD team and I spent the prior week gathering a myriad of props: a notebook, a 1950’s style phone, empty liquor bottles, and a scrapbook full of childhood memories. Multiple trips to the Dollar Store were made and many cups of Starbucks matcha lattes were consumed, but everything is gathered on time for the shoot. 

I arrive at the apartment where we are filming and even though I don’t know many people working on set today, I’m welcomed warmly. The cast goes through casual introductions over hot cups of coffee and a box of Dunkin Donuts. I can tell everyone is genuinely excited to be here, and so am I. Equipment I have never seen before is laid out in the living room and lights taller than me are being set up in another room. Giancarlo is checking up with everyone and as the clock strikes 9:30 am, the first scene of the day is being filmed.

In the kitchen, the PD team is at work to destroy the kitchen for a scene. We get to work by overturning furniture, spilling cereal and plastic utensils on the floor, and setting out half-eaten donut on the table. A kettle is boiling water on the stove because we need steam for a shot and during the whole time I’m talking with my fellow castmates and getting to know them better. Anna has done a study abroad program in LA that I’m interested in, Hannah’s taking a directing class this semester, and Sam has never watched Good Will Hunting before. 

After cleaning the kitchen, we move to the bedroom to reorganize furniture and take down posters. I’m decorating a journal full of drawings and the PD team is crumbling papers to imitate a messy desk. We set the 1950’s phone on the desk and Hannah snaps a photo of me with a disposable camera that everyone’s passing around. As we’re preparing the room for the next scene, any cast member that pops their head through the doorway compliments our work. I’m proud of our efforts and I love the fact that everyone is so supportive. For the final scenes of the day, everyone piles into the room to film and behind the camera, I watch the set we designed come to life. 

Image Credit: Hannah Lee 

I was always self-conscious about the fact that I never had on set experience, but you can’t expect opportunities to come your way. Working with the cast of Guerrilla was a great first experience and I’m really happy that I took the initiative to be involved. Even though I had little to no experience coming in, everyone was nothing but kind and helpful.

The crew worked together well and after every good take, Giancarlo’s cheers of enthusiasm could be heard echoing through the hallway. The shoot finishes an hour early and as I’m waiting for the T at 8 pm with a new friend from set, I’m half-awake but excited to work with this team again. 

 

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