Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Chapter's End

Going into the prep phase, two weeks out from our scheduled shoot date, all the thorough planning and organizing was starting to pay off. It was fascinating and exciting to see how it was coming together, how the wheels were turning. It was like riding a wave I couldn’t escape anymore. I had to let go and ride that damn thing, which otherwise would’ve wiped me out like nobody’s business. That’s where I found faith, faith in the process, faith in the crew I was lucky to have, the cast I was lucky to have, faith that we’d get it done. Having that faith, letting go, being able to let life happen was a sublime experience. Not that there weren’t any sleepless nights and countless unexpected, potentially disastrous turns of events challenging my Zen-like state of mind.

The first day and the first night painted a perfect picture of the project as a whole. I had no problem (not to mention any time) to “adjust” to production in any way, which I hadn’t done on this level before. But pre-production had put me on working temperature and the day went surprisingly smooth. We got good shots, at the end of the day we were on schedule and we all quickly seemed to have found our rhythm.

Then came the night. In contrast to the first day the second day would feature mostly first-time actors. Visualizing that second day I had to ask myself whether the kid cast as a getaway car driver actually had a driver’s license or not. I couldn’t recall if he said “I can drive” or “I have a license” when I asked him before. “Hey, you have a license right?” I texted him that night and he says “I can drive but I don’t have a license. Is that a problem?” I choked up slightly.

That same night I also learned that two other youngsters playing the following day still hadn’t received their work permits. Their school wouldn’t release them from class because their grades weren’t entirely satisfactory. At that point I was somewhere between thorough panic and self-pity. I sweat blood and tears.

But then, despite all the stress and long hours, the expectations and the pressure to deliver now, after four years of development, I found myself in a calm, peaceful place. What I had before me wasn’t a problem but a challenge. There it was again, that faith. At this point, after four years of work, nothing was going to stop this train. It was simply not an option. Somehow we will get this done. No matter what.

I knew so many super guys, who I called up and eventually one of them was down for the part of the getaway car driver. The two other kids got their last minute permits because nothing fixes bad grades better than a few disciplinary laps on the school’s track the morning they were scheduled to play.

As production went on I understood that the shooting of this film wasn’t only the culmination of four years of work but the end of a chapter for me, a chapter in a project, which started almost 15 years ago, when I actively started to practice filmmaking.

No comments:

Post a Comment