Sunday, July 20, 2008

Nourishing the Rosebud by Working for Citizen Kane Part I: Every Rose Has its Thorn

Hello all. I know, how long has it been. You are reading the courier font and thinking, who in the world is taking up Brecken's space? Well, I have reemerged from the throes of production, and while I am up for air I figured I would spill the details that several have asked about.

First of all, I have been crewing on several short films or "8-12s" as they are called in Columbia post-first-year land. The first one I worked on was a short for a friend that involved playgrounds, and children, ugh--the heat and the wrangling made me think--that is something to avoid, but the story was sweet. I was able to do sound for that one, and Brecken was gracious enough to be a day player (she had lines, extras don't speak)--and Reuben her tag-along. They got paid in craft service beverages and a chic bottle of orange bubbles.

Next, I was on tap to produce for my dear friend Jed. That was an adventure, as the most perfect location that fit his vision was in the outer reaches of the Brooklyn/Queens border called the Lindenwood Diner. It was a sweet place, spacious, classic, and the owners were very generous--but we had to film after-hours. This meant all-nighters, four nights, and hour-long train commutes each way (oh yeah--and I got lost in Queens alone at midnight--scary--but now I know where JFK airport is if you ever want a ride there). Totally doable, but any form of night shoots already makes the general on-set morale go down a few notches, but it all worked out in the end--and the film is going to be great.

After that--I called a friend who I was going to help out for their final day if they were short handed. Turns out it was their first day and I decided that since I was still unemployed, what the heck, I'll grip and 2nd AC for three days at a playground with kids--yes, that makes playground with kids nĂºmero dois. The crew worked well and fast, and despite the DP being a bit of a tough personality at times, I just put on my production hat and my winning smile and did what they told me. This, I thought to myself, was going to be my ticket to recruiting some folks for my own 8-12 film.

My journey continued the following week, out to New Jersey for work on a film whose script I initially wanted to direct, but was too late in pitching it. It was helmed by the right person in the end, and her vision carried the film to wonderful heights. The comedy was delightful and the world was so colorfully tangible--I loved it. I script supervised and did some on-set photography--and the film is going to great. It was also an opportunity to scout out a suburban green neighborhood that Brecken could stand to settle into in the event that I got a job here in the city.

Whew--I was done, now I could sail into two weeks of solid pre-production without thinking about any other project but my own. I worked and re-worked the script I ultimately chose to direct. It was in a good starting point, but I wanted to flesh out some of the character details and also cut down on locations, since a company move (taking the production from one location to another) same-day in New York is basically adding a day of production no matter what--and yes, you guessed it--playgrounds and kids were in the mix. After ruining the script, talking it out with Brecken , and re-writing it a few times I finally got it to a place where the story was clear, the characters were where I wanted them, and the magic of the initial idea was still very much in tact....and then...


1 comment:

charrette said...

I almost wrote "You need to do something incredibly sweet for Brecken now for being so amazingly supportive through all of this"...and then I read about the Dar Williams tickets. Good job!