Collection Day 6: The Shooting Range

It’s been far too long since my last post, but I’m happy to report that things are beginning to really ramp up on the production of my thesis film, Collection Day. Last night I went to a local shooting range with two of my actors (Kayla Esmond and Rachel Hampton), our associate producer (Stephanie Stephens), our photographer (Carly Fehlberg) and our trainer (Wade Powers). The purpose of this visit was to instruct Kayla and Rachel in basic firearms use, give them a real guns to shoot, and let them actually fire them.

Why was I doing this? Since their characters are near-future government agents who have some gunplay in the film, I wanted to give them some real-world shooting experience. Our airsoft gun replicas will look great, but they are quite tame in comparison (non-lethal, very little kick), so I wanted the talent to know what real firing felt like. Both characters shoot semi-automatic pistols and Taylor (Kayla) uses an assault rifle at one point.

I also took the opportunity to do some shooting myself. As a director, I don’t want to ask an actor to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself, so I took the basic instruction and fired both the pistol and the assault rifle. I’m not a stranger to shooting (though it’s been awhile) and I was glad to bond with part of my cast and have fun at the same time. I also recorded the whole experience which will be featured in the upcoming Kickstarter video as well as a stand alone video of its own.

We also had an excellent weapons trainer, Wade Powers, who is currently serving in the military and was invaluable to us last night. You should always have someone with knowledge and experience running this kind of thing, as firearms are deadly weapons and should be handled with care. We all had to watch a safety video at the range, but we received additional training from Wade, who was also there on the range assisting us. He also provided the weapons, which he knew very well. Wade will also be a consultant on the film and is helping us create some realistic military uniforms.

I also want to thank Nathan House of Arkansas Armory, for allowing into his range, letting us shoot video of the whole experience, and giving us a break on the lane fees. He was very supportive and being a sci-fi fan, very interested in our project. Working with Nathan is an example of how local businesses can be very willing to help you out (for locations or training, or whatever) if you simply ask nicely and treat them and their establishment with respect. It’s a win-win.

In the end, both actresses enjoyed shooting off several magazines and I hope it helps them get into their roles. I had a great time bonding with the talent and discovering a great resource in Wade. It was a productive evening and another step toward the successful completion of our film.

Up next, the table read!