Writing on Location (or, help, I’m in Jail!)

I’m planning to shoot a short film later this year and had need of a rooftop location. Why not an abandoned jail? Well, that’s what e in the business call “a hook”. The jail isn’t abandoned, per se, rather it’s not used as a jail anymore. However, the city does allow people to film there. My friend Adam told me about it and invited me over to scout it while he was monitoring a film shoot. Seems like the perfect place. I was having trouble moving forward with my script, so Adam invited me out again, this time to hang out on the roof and do some actual writing. Right through the door, there’s a constant reminder that you’re in a place designed to keep people in…

…and once you hit the stairwell, you realize that assorted gangs and homeless people have been all over the place in here. The last level going up is in pitch darkness, and I caught this little graffiti on my ascent into the shadows…

It’s an interesting exercise, sitting on a roof, surrounded by barbed wire and chainlink, the sun mercilessly beating down from above… but it gave me a few breakthroughs.

I’ve scrapped the new direction I had going with the script and brought it back to my original concept. I also managed to get ideas for a couple of other things to shoot up there, conceptualized a film festival/screening idea of sorts if I can get everything to take off the way I’d like… At any rate, here’s the location.
One guy, one girl, one last chance at romance (if impending suicide doesn’t ruin the whole thing). With any luck, I’ll be blogging about how you can get your hands on a DVD copy of the whole thing soon! on the way down, in the pitch black stairwell, I couldn’t help recalling the rumors of the haunted nature of the jail. This tag on the ceiling (H LP – surely a gang tag, and not the last frantic scrawlings of a poltergeist victim HeLP!)
Emboldened, I did a little more ScoobyDooing around the place for spooky pictures. Hopefully my next report from jail will be an “on the set” piece!
Perhaps next time I’ll see what’s at the bottom of these stairs…never to return…

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