Blind Man On The Movie Set – Shooting in a Winter Storm

Look out, here he comes! It was January 18 and Blind River Studios was on the movie set. Our mission was to shoot episodes 2 – 4 of Living The Blind Life. My team of visionaries on this day included Mark Foley (Director), Adam Vnuk (Director of Photography), Augie De La Noval (Camera Assistant & Sound Recordist), John Sheppard (Script Supervisor & Sound Recordist) and of course my wifey, Lauren who we make do everything on the set. The weather forecast alerted us to a winter storm moving in and snow would begin falling around 2:00pm. Yikes! Our shooting schedule would be crunched. How could we finish three episodes of shooting especially when there’s a blind man on the movie set! With that, you know for certain there is sure to be some disasters!

I’m the blind guy so I get to be the star of Living The Blind Life. In these episodes I had a lot to perform. We had action scenes where I drove my wife’s Jeep, kicked John’s butt with my ninja cane moves, demonstrated my white cane skills in the parking lot and had some special male bonding moments with Augie. Then I needed to deliver some entertaining monologues, tell some stories about what I see, if I have any super powers and why I have three different white canes. This was all a lot of work for a blind man. Then it got worse! Disasters struck and it hit us in a storm of three!

I was sitting on the casting couch getting ready to be called to the set when I heard Adam’s words. My blood pressure rose when he reported, “Uh, one of our lights isn’t working.” What! One of our lights! I only have two! This is a low budget production keep in mind so I don’t have any back ups. We had to do all of our shooting with one light. Not very good for cinematography. Adam looked up the broken part for me on B&H and told me it would cost me $250 to replace it. I thought to myself, “Okay, this shoot just got a lot more expensive than I was expecting.” Then, I was told my 24 x 36 framed poster of the logo for Blind River Studios, was somehow crushed. We use this poster as my backdrop for all of the episodes for Living The Blind Life. The poster’s frame was broken, there were two huge cracks in the clear plastic and the poster itself was damaged. It was like an elephant stepped on it. So, I added that to my expense list and thought, “Okay that’s another $100 to replace so we’re up to $350 and we haven’t even shot one take yet!” And remember I’m blind, which is already bad enough. How much more can I take? 

Then Mark was ready for me to face the camera and act happy to welcome people to another episode of Living The Blind Life. When the cameras rolled, I almost started the show with, “Hello everyone, you want to know what living the blind life is like? How about I shove this white cane up your –” “Cut!” shouted Director, Mark.

The snow began falling. It came too early! We finished two episodes. We had one more to go. My team was nervous as they kept looking out the windows from inside North Haven Crossfit. I kept wondering why they all seemed so stressed and had little patience. They were all moving so fast. The snow didn’t bother me at all. I couldn’t see it. I kept thinking, “Maybe they should just stop looking out the windows.” We decided that we would rapid fire the final episode to finish it. I was surprised they wanted to grit it out and finish shooting. I thought they would be running to their cars especially since some of them have some very long drives home, like John who lives two hours away in Rhode Island. I was impressed and encouraged by our team. We wrapped all three episodes and walked outside to some heavy falling snow. They all risked themselves that day to live the blind life with me.

It was a frustrating day. My wife will tell you how much of a mess I was after the shoot. I always worry about if I’m wasting the time and money of my Blind River family who I care about so much. Did we shoot the episodes exactly how we planned? No way, not even close. We had to film them with one damn light, no background poster and all three episodes were rushed due to the winter storm. That’s a lot to swallow when we’re trying to do our best and put out good quality content. There was nothing more we could do. I’m proud of what we accomplished in spite of all the challenges. That’s what my life has been about anyway. So, now you will be the judge. When episodes 2, 3 & 4 of Living The Blind Life are released, you’ll decide how well we did. And, by that time, I’ll still probably be looking under seat cushions for $350 to replace what was destroyed. Thankfully, there is still a lot to be grateful for. I’m writing this blog the day after the film shoot and although, I’m still as angry as a blind bull, I do know that more was gained that day than what was lost. I got to spend time with my BRS family and we’ll be releasing three more LBF episodes out into the world.    

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