There’s been a death in our film… a character, I mean, nobody on set has died… yet. The scene to be shot last Saturday required a fresh grave and since we didn’t much feel like tilling up the soil in a graveyard (or going to jail for it), we determined that we’d better get our hands dirty, and get our hands on some dirt. I had a great construction site selected and was ready to go… but it was raining and we needed dirt, not mud. So I waited. And waited. Friday night it stopped raining, so I headed out of the house at 10pm. Halfway to the site I took off my beanie and gloves – it’s best not to dress like a criminal. With all the smoothness of a montage from Oceans Eleven, I parked my car under the dim puddles of light in the adjacent used car lot, grabbed a rusty shovel and five gallon bucket from the backseat, and crept into the shadows and over to the edge of my targeted construction site. After a sly glance over my shoulder, I threw my body over the barrier and felt my left foot hit… no, heard my left foot hit a muddy sinkhole. I flailed around awkwardly and toppled into the orange, rain-soaked mud.
Now more concerned with looking like an ass than with my trespassing, I glanced frantically around me. Ah ha! No wandering pedestrians had seen my blunder. A slurping sound broke the silence as I extracted my leg and the attached foot, ironically clad in New Balances and a fresh layer of heavy mud. From a drier spot, I shoveled five gallons of wet earth into the bucket, and carefully hobbled my way back to the car.
Imagine how wonderful it was to discover the next morning that five gallons covers enough ground to make a grave for an amputee at best! Sounds like a job for After Effects.
What have I learned? A fake grave requires 10 gallons of dirt, at the least, for a full-sized human. Oh, and don’t procrastinate. Hmm…