PRODUCTION JOURNAL #2
Still from my production for Trav'lin' Light (2009) - Actress Zippi Diamond having fun in the grass
Production time! Oh the stress! Anything can go wrong...the whole experience is temperamental. Anything is subject to change depending on the mood swings of both your talent and the equipment. Who knows when the camera will suddenly become unfocused and uninterested; ready to switch off, shut down, and explode. Did I mention actors do the same thing? Anyway, even in my small student productions, I've had quite a range of experiences.
From the way Moleque turned out, you would never guess the hell I went through during the production. Every day we shot, something went wrong! I either couldn't get a hold of my actor and we'd start hours late. Or the equipment would suddenly decide to fail me. The Arri-M camera I shot with is so old and complicated; the fact that it's labeled MADE IN WEST GERMANY is proof enough of this. Now don't get me wrong...the equipment might have made my production a thousand times harder, but it was all worth it. Working with 16mm film and the Arri camera is a completely different process and added a lot to the look of the film. It would not have been the same if I had shot it digitally. There's something about the physical process of film that is just so special that in my opinion digital just cannot capture. Besides that, we shot in the middle of the winter. My actor, Marquise Williams, is a skinny kid and no matter how many oreo's and candy bars I stuffed him with, no one could distract him from the cold. Being the good sport he is, he persevered and held on with his freezing cold fingers. Marquise is special and still managed to have a good time despite all the failures, but not many kids would add that on their list of fun things to do on a Saturday afternoon.
Berlin Wall (1989) - Arri-M made in WEST GERMANY. Surprisingly, not too long ago.
On the other hand...
For my last film, which I shot last week, the production ran surprisingly smooth. The film is called Trav'lin' Light (thanks Chet Baker!) and is about a young girl discovering a camera and experiencing the freedom of the photograph for the first time. The project is a photo-roman, which is a film made up of still photographs. Because of the nature of the film, the production was very small; I was the director, camera operator and sound recorder all in one. I shot the whole thing on a Canon Rebel, nothing too old or complicated. Everything I used was made after the Berlin wall fell. So, the equipment was pretty easy to handle. Besides that, my actress Zippi had a great time! This makes sense considering most of what her part consisted of was playing on a tire swing and running around taking photos. Still the shoot went flawlessly and we all enjoyed working together.
Still from Trav'lin' Light (2009)
So...in the words of my film professor Matt Porterfield on the last day of shooting his film Putty Hill this summer, "Enjoy it while you can! They're not all this fun."
Amen to that.
p.s. If you wanna check out my Photo-Roman Trav'lin' Light...here's the link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=phczw0V0Cvo