Today we wrapped post-production on Project Senium. As I started to lean back the nostalgia began to set in at a faster rate prior to completing the film and a few hours later I realized that EXACTLY one month ago we started principal photography for Project Senium. While we had done preliminary photos and small ads, Project Senium has always been aiming for a longer, definitive cinematic experience of this particular abandoned asylum. So we had a ton of stuff to film and, perhaps foolishly, we set out to do most of it in one 5-day span that I like to refer to as "The Five Days War" as it proved exhausting both mentally and physically and saw a few casualties (to illness).
In addition to the usual efforts in attaining access to places like this, we had to haul a considerable amount of gear and a small crew of friends to haul everything into every building we needed to film in, entering or exiting buildings at least 3 times a day. Seeing some other urbexers later in the week, they were amazed at how much gear we got in and what they didn't realize that what they saw was one of our lightest sets of equipment. Jumping from ledges to windows, throwing gear to the person who entered before you, squeezing through tight openings, all became just a part of the workflow. Due to the fact that we were trying to accomplish most of the film in a 5 day period, the days tended to run long.
Our very first day saw us staying overnight in 2 groups. If you ever wanted to know what spending the night at an abandoned asylum was like just know that it's cold. Freaking cold. During the day, the grounds are open to the public but it closes at night, so there was no safety anywhere except inside, in the dark. The building I stayed in bordered the road, making any noise or light a very risky venture. As we settled in to sleep the darkness encompassed everything. It made no difference if you had your eyes opened or closed. And may I remind you it was cold. VERY cold. Our room had water and ice in throughout the night. There was not really any fear of anything haunted, despite the slamming doors, creaking roofs, and other sounds that accompany old, abandoned buildings. Any fears we had were of getting caught and, fortunately, this did not happen.
Given these circumstances (and the fact that we shared masks), it's not difficult to see why two of us became physically ill. The others would do their best to carry on in the face of exhaustion with whatever friends had not been scared off by the demands of time and body that our friendship seemed to require. With their help and a lot of time and effort, we finished the week and would settle in for Easter before embarking the next phase of Project Senium.
Looking back at "The Five Days War" we probably would do a few things differently, but it's definitely something we will never forget. For me, the asylum itself is the reward. And there was nothing quite like listening to the music that has been written especially for this project in this place. And on top of that, we get to share part of our experience with you through film. And today, exactly one month later, we would wrap post-production and now we're cooking up something pretty fun for the world premiere. Stay tuned.