11 August 2008

Blood, Sweat, and Drywall

Filmmaking is a complicated thing with all the small pieces having to come together just right. To do that is difficult; to do it and stay on schedule (or at least catch-up) is a feat.

We made it through the introductory phase. You have to realize that a film set becomes a bit of a fraternity, a crew, a dysfunctional family. I mean, when you're sitting there with your hair and clothes sticking to you as sweat runs down your face and you know you must smell two houses down.. it's nice to know your fellows in the trenches are suffering equally and not judging just as equally.

Forget the classic office setting of water-cooler conversations and polite professionalism. On set, it's blue, dirty, sexually-explicit and completely lacking in PC. If you can't take a jibe, joke or innuendo, it might not be the place for you.

For me, the weekend was uncomfortable, mainly because we were shooting in a hot, suffocating atmosphere and I was walking around with a steady cam that only got heavier as my eyes began to droop and my stomach began to turn from the heat. I'm from the North. Heat and I have never gotten along. Take away air flow and I'm done for.

Not that I haven't been in pain on set before. On set for The Apartment, I nearly broke a toe; for A Hit to the Heart, I had to peel the camera strap off my badly burned neck; Last Days, I lugged coolers full of ice and water up a mountain in high heat. But the show must go on.

It's a fact of the biz that you have to be prepared for all conditions. Whilst on bigger sets, the actors and top of the line folks might get carts, assistants, tricked out trailers; but down here at the up-and-coming level, we fight through whatever the Universe throws at us and we do it for free and we do it for the love of doing it. Even when it seems like the love is gone, once you find yourself back at the day job and all you want is to be back on set.. well, then you know.

But, forget the heat. Truth is, I laughed my ass off this weekend. I laughed until I cried; I got to be silly; hell, I even sang out a tune or two. All the things people in the office setting would have referred me to HR for. There's nothing like being around a bunch of other creative people equally as crazy as you to endure this.

It was a tough first weekend, there's no doubt. But Megan likes the footage; we didn't jump the 180 line; the actors knew their lines and were a ton of fun; Shannon, Porshe, Caryn and I are already working on a spin-off of the film; the blood covering Dave was all fake (and freaky looking); and we only damaged a chunk of drywall.

Not too shabby for a day's work.