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Sunday, December 07, 2003  

"Snap Back to Reality..."
...And to the normal world that isn't illuminated with giant lights held impossibly aloft on seemingly flimsy stands. A world where there isn't long tables of junk food and snacks sitting just around the corner and a world where time passes at a normal rate. Sixty seconds a minute, sixty minutes an hour. I'm been on a short-film shoot for the past three days, and when I'm on set I always feel like I have slipped into a different dimension. I can't yet explain the exact feeling, but it has something to do with so many people expending so much energy to obliterate reality on the set so that a perfect simulacra of reality can be created in the camera.

A film crew is very much like a sailing vessel in my mind. There are so many people doing so many different things, but all with the same eventual destination. The Director is of course the captain, the AD the First Mate, and each department has its specific task that is integral to the ship making it back to port. There is a very well defined hierarchical structure to both a film crew and a ships crew, and this allows everything to operate smoothly. On paper. But a film shoot is like a voyage at sea in that there are so many variables and once your underway the hole endeavor hangs by a hair and everyone is flying by the seat of their pants. (Well I think I've beaten that metaphor to death now...)

This shoot went very well, and I actually had a lot of fun on it. I am always amazed at how much new stuff I learn on a shoot, and I wonder if you ever STOP learning new techniques and tricks on set (another reason that I love making movies,) and this shoot was no different. The whole crew was also super-cool. A really great bunch of people with a very interesting mix of seasoned veterans and people fresh off the boat and on one of their first sets in LA (in fact no less that 5 crew members had been in LA less than 5 months.) The whole energy and vibe on the set was really cool, and I think it has something to do with it being a "freebie" (a shoot where everyone works for free.) When you have 20+ people putting in 13-18 hour days and NOT getting monetary compensation the passion for filmmaking really comes to the surface.

posted by JMV | 12/07/2003 02:16:00 PM
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