It’s 9:45 on Monday night and I’m sitting in a rented Dodge minivan with Sin Bin stars Michael Seater and Brian Petsos, screenwriter Chris Storer, and the film’s set PA/driver Greg Brecher. In just a few minutes, Seater and Petsos will hop out of the minivan and into the Sin Bin van, where they will film a driving a scene.
It’s a tricky scene, because Petsos will actually drive the van, while acting and smoking a cigarette. Under ideal circumstances, a trailer would tow the van. That way the drivers could concentrate on their lines and cues and not worry about operating the vehicle.
Not the case tonight. Instead, Petsos will drive, act, and smoke—with a $50,000 camera strapped to the van and a giant light shining through the passenger side.
“It’s independent filmmaking at its finest,” said Sin Bin producer Gary Giudice.
This scene will take place along Belle Plaine Avenue in Park Ridge—the Chicago suburb where Storer and Sin Bin director Billy Federighi (and this blogger) grew up—in live traffic, while two vans—the one I’m in and another—flank the Sin Bin. On screen, it will appear as if Seater and Petsos are alone in the van, when in fact it’s quite crowded. Crouched behind the actors are Federighi, director of photography Seamus Tierney, sound mixer Tom Beach, and prop master Vanessa Conway.
A few minutes pass and the scene is ready to shoot. The actors step out of the minivan and walk to the Sin Bin for their “last looks,” that is, when hair and makeup give them a final touch up before the director yells action. Now I’m alone in the minivan with Storer and Brecher.
But there’s a problem with the Sin Bin, which everyone on set lovingly refers to as “Sinny”–it won’t start. Storer explains (and then we see and hear a few minutes of the scene from the minivan flanking the Sin Bin.)
(Storer mentioned 1st A.D. Matt Corrado and key set PA Meredith Nunnikhoven.)
After this scene, the crew reassembled at the current set on Prospect Avenue in Park Ridge, which is the home shared by Seater and Petsos’s characters, who are brothers.
Federighi , with the help of Seater and Petsos, explains what’s going on.