Sunday, August 01, 2004
Non-Journal, Days Eighteen and Nineteen

I feel kinda crappy. I'm not sure what's wrong -- it's partly just sleepiness, but I feel a little queasy, too. Not like getting-sick queasy, more like I ate something I shouldn't have. And I think I know what it was: Krispy Kremes. At the shoot this morning a large number of warm doughnuts was provided -- and god knows a warm Krispy Kreme is the nutritional equivalent of crack cocaine: bad, bad, bad for you, but soooo goooooooood. I only had two, but as anyone who's ever had a warm, greasy, sugary Kreme knows, two is just asking for trouble. Ugh.

Anyway, we've had a fun couple of days (in the vaguely sarcastic sense, I mean). Yesterday we shot all the scooter scenes (we had a rental scooter, a Bajaj... yes, it's Indian), and Lee is still going coverage-crazy. We had a couple of cops holding traffic for us, and these particular two cops were what we in the film biz refer to as "complete assholes." This is the fourth pair of cops we've had around, and each pair behaves somewhat differently: some use the opportunity to have an impromptu cop convention, inviting all their off-duty buddies to come hang out. Some just relax and shoot the breeze, gently mocking us. We like those guys. Some get a huffy cop-tude thing goin on -- they don't like us, but they can't hassle us -- and start pulling weird passive-aggressive stuff: "Oops, did that car get past me and drive right through your shot? Silly inattentive me!" Joke's on them, though... Lee really will keep them there another hour if he needs to; the guy hasn't the least compunction about shooting over the schedule.

Today we were doing the 10K run scenes (I know this means nothing to any of you, but if you ever see the film, all will become clear in retrospect), and the day started out with problems. When we got to the location -- at the Overton Park Gazebo, which had been secured with a permit and fee from the parks department -- we discovered that a church had esconced themselves there already, set up a PA system and speakers, and were preparing to hold their service there that morning.

Now, you may have picked up on the fact that Lee's not always at his best under pressure, and tends to get a bit, y'know, frantic when problems arise. He was squawking down the phone to David, the locations manager, within seconds... the church people declared the Gazebo a "first come, first served" space, and refused to budge. David turned up with the paperwork, though, and the cops showed up (only to block traffic, but their presence lent us further authority), and the church picked up and moved about two hundred feet along to a shady spot under the trees. Crisis averted.

Then we had an extras failure; only five showed up. We needed more like a dozen. (A word of advice to filmmakers needing extras: always book about twice what you need, 'cause half of 'em never show.) Lee discovered he'd failed to recharge his primary camera battery. The pyrotechnic effects took longer to set up than Lee had anticipated, putting us behind schedule. And shooting runners from the back of a moving car was tricky: they wouldn't stay in formation (or Lee would drive off the agreed-upon shooting path), meaning the takes were dodgy. With all of this going on, Lee took on his full crazed-hamster persona, running around in a tizzy, risking peril and bigger problems. When Lee gets himself into a state, he starts overlooking the details, which seem unimportant but which can render a shoot useless if not attended to. There might be extraneous stuff in the shot because he wasn't paying attention when he was taking it; the crew takes longer to set up because Lee isn't communicating clearly and we don't know what he wants; today he almost ran an extra over because he was so distracted. It is an issue.

Still, as always, we got the footage; I was numb from the hip down from sitting in the back of his Beetle with a tripod in my lap for an hour, and the extras weren't overly enamored of their director, but we got the stuff. Then we went downtown for a few more shots, had lunch, took the day's last shots, and went home. It was a long, stressful day, but should -- and I emphasize the word "should" -- mark the end of the harder part of the shooting schedule. We've got most of the meat of the screenplay in the can (or the tiny plastic tape case) by now, so the rest is mostly supporting material. Lee is doing better in some respects... he's a bit tougher than he was when we began, and I think he actually freaks out less than he did earlier on. So progress is being made.

We crewies still do a lot of hanging around talking, though; the topic of the day yesterday and today was the Enneagram personality test. One of crewmembers is something of an enthusiast, and brought a book, which everyone has been curiously going over, gently pigeon-holing themselves (not in a bad way.) I, as it happens, am a solid Type 9, "the Peacemaker;" Google it and find out what my fundamental motivations are. Or not. I think my mom's a Type 6 (the Loyalist), my dad's a Type 1 (the Reformer), and I expect Smithers here is a Type 3 (the Motivator).

Smithers, by the way, is currently in Shanghai, the lucky bastard. Where's my postcard?
10:54 PM ::
Amy :: permalink