A roaming documentary approach was taken with the focus placed upon following the protagonist. “Handheld is beautiful,” remarks Riegel. “I never wanted it to feel like we’re doing these huge setups. I wanted to stay on the pulse of Ruth and of this environment. I like to make rules before we film so that I don’t get too crazy with the camera. That was another lesson that I took from the short film. I didn’t make rules so I did all of these crazy shots that didn’t add up to a cohesive vision. One rule for this was that we would stay on the pulse of Ruth. Even if during a party scene she had no dialogue, we’re still with her. The sound of her breath and footsteps was also important. Hands were important because this is a place where there’s lots of manual labour and people are still working with their hands. We wanted to remind people of this part of the country that it’s still happening.” A discussion took place as to whether the nighttime scenes should be captured digitally. “When you are in Jackson, Ohio or anywhere in southeast Ohio at night, it is pitch black. It was a bold choice to say, ‘We want to do this on film at night. When it’s dark, let it be dark. Let’s not use a lot of artificial lights.’ There were times where we had to break that rule for important emotional scenes between Ruth and Blaze, and use lights.”

Principal photography lasted 19 days in Jackson, Ohio (Riegel’s hometown), Chillicothe, Wellston, and Bainbridge with producer Adam Cobb (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) doubling as the location manager. “The bigger locations like the food factory and scrapyard, we formed strong bonds with people who ran those places,” states Cobb. “They were open to our schedule shifting all of the time and having to come to do night shoots. At the same time there were peripheral locations that we couldn’t figure until we got down the ground in preproduction. Originally, we were going to shoot in the summer and then it moved to winter. Certain locations changed depending on the weather and others fell through. I literally had four hours to drive to any sort of industrial place nearby to look at the breakrooms, send photos to the whole team, and ask, ‘How about this one?’ Finally, I ended up going to this auto glass place and was put in touch with this guy who was managing it. It turned out that he went to high school with Nicole!”

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