Some time ago, a small group of people came together to film a movie. No one had any experience in doing anything like this at all previously. It was just something that we felt we could do. I got in contact with Mr. Schuylar Croom ( @crucialdude ) to see if he would be interested in playing a role. I never expected him to even answer me, let alone, agree to do so. Over the next year, we worked around tour schedules, location changes, and a myriad of other complications we had never even considered. The project was put on hold.
In December, of that year, Schuylar contacted me and said he had four days off coming up in February and could come down to Texas if we could make that work. I had estimated that the shoot would take about two weeks so, of course, I said yes.
From then on, we scrambled. At that point, we still didn’t have locations locked down. We called neighbors, friends, and family to see what resources we could pull together to make this happen. We got as much as we could planned. We never saw the interior of the cabin, which was the main set, prior to shooting. So, what we could plan, wasn’t a lot.
We then booked, quite possibly, the worst flight available for Schuylar, but it was the only one we could get with frequent flyer miles. He was kind enough to have someone drive him two hours away to catch a flight to Houston. That flight got delayed a couple times, if I remember correctly, and I picked him up somewhere around midnight, I think. We then had to drive two hours to the set. We stayed up that night, going over the script and drinking whiskey. Schuylar had so many amazing ideas that we never got to film because we were so short on time. I was honored that he took the time to make notes on my script and cared about the project.
We started working a few hours later, when the sun came up that day. We broke for what should have been lunch, but ended up being naps, at noon. Instead of sleeping, I got to work, with the help of Dave Burch and his Dad, on building the fire set for that night’s scenes. After nap time, we shot the rest of the woods scenes. As night fell, we started all of the fire scenes. We shot until around two in the morning. We then sat around and listened to He Is Legend’s new album, Few. It was an unbelievable, and very surreal, night.
We slept for a few hours, and then started working later that morning. This morning was the first time we got to see the inside of the cabin. It was…well furnished. We had to move out nearly a house full of stuff before we could start on the actual set design. That cost us a lot of time. We rushed around and dressed the set. We shot all through that day and night until around midnight or one with hardly a break. We then had to drive almost an hour back to where we were sleeping. The next morning, we had to make the trip back to the cabin. We shot until around eleven or noon maybe. I can’t really remember. What I do remember, is that the last thing we shot with Schuylar was the scene of him taking a shot of whiskey. After that, we all took a shot and then had to take him to the airport back in Houston.
The whole experience was a blur. We were all exhausted. He had to leave for Europe in a few days and we all had to get back to our jobs. It was at least a few weeks before we started sorting the footage. Editing was a weird process. We all had to learn as we went, as we had never done this before. During the process, we learned that we did not get to film as much as we wanted to originally. We also didn’t get to film all of what we needed to make the story work, as different people’s schedules didn’t work out. We had to make some big changes and cuts to get anything together. Eventually, we were able to cobble together, maybe not a groundbreaking story, or even a cohesive one, but something really special.
We had to compromise and change things to get this thing put together. If we ever had the opportunity to revisit this story and work with Schuylar again, sure, we would do a lot differently. This is what we got with under the restrictions we had. I dig it.
So, here is Campfire. It’s not everything we wanted originally, but it’s something I am definitely proud of. Hell, with the exception of Schuylar, no one that worked on this film had ever stepped foot on a movie set, as far as I know. That’s pretty fucking cool.
I hope you like it.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
Happy Halloween!
-Cullen

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