Thursday, February 17, 2011

Diary of a Director

Like a bolt of lightning, and now it’s over. Production lasted a whopping four days with minor casualties, minimal collateral damage, and a victorious ending. Honestly, I feel I’ve been immersed on the battlefield – a troop of soldiers fighting to survive against the clock. However, after 48 hours and several beads of sweat, we finally can say we’ve won the war. Did we lose some along the way? Of course. Well, not really. Nobody actually died. Though, we combated hurdles that often arise with any production. Hurdles that inexplicably makes us stronger and much more wiser.

Each morning and each night I kept a mini-journal to give you a glimpse of what I thought throughout production. Be warned: It was early! I may not be the most articulate - I may not even make sense - but I spilled words on paper with hopes of sharing any and all insights within my cluttered, little brain.

Day 1 – February 11th, 2011

Morning -- I made it to base camp (i.e. the set of ‘A Boy’s Life’). Right now I’m the first one here. It’s kind of cold and this Starbucks Caramel Macchiato hasn’t kicked in yet. I didn’t sleep well last night because the adrenaline sped through me – ultimately keeping me from a peaceful slumber. Actually, wait. I think Luke is here. He’s the man with many hats – our Executive Producer, Stunt Coordinator, Caterer, Crafts Service… I get scared just thinking about the amount of work he has in front of him. People are showing up. I best be going.

Night -- Exhausted. Today was an extremely long day, however an amazing one. On every set I’ve directed, I feel really strongly that the first day must set the tone of the entire shoot. Well, let me assure you, a tone was definitely set. We completed a vast amount of scenes including one of the most emotional ones. The cast and crew were immediately hardworking and just all-around enjoyable. I’m a firm believer that making a movie should be professional, but also incredibly fun. Today definitely proved that theory correct! Oh, btw, Melissa (our Production Designer) designed the most incredible boy’s room. I’m ready to move in immediately! Alright. Bedtime.

Day 2 – February 12th, 2011

Morning -- I’m sitting in Starbucks going over the storyboards and shot lists. Man, we have a lot of scenes to get through. Our AD – Joe Papa – has his work cutout for him (he’s fantastic, btw.). I hope I wasn’t too ambitious with the amount of footage I want to get done in four days. I’m not too worried – though today we have some very difficult scenes. Our boy, Griffin Gluck, will bring his A-game today. I’m sure of that.

Night -- Wow. What an amazing day. I’ve worked on a lot of fast-moving crews before, and this one definitely joins the ranks. Towards of the end of the day, we completely moved through the shots like they were popcorn. Wait. Does that make sense? I’m sorry, the deliriousness has set in. We didn’t make it to Scene 20 tonight (the ending) – I’m a little glad we didn’t get to it yet because it’s one of the most difficult in the entire film. Time to hit the hay. See you tomorrow.

Day 3 – February 13th, 2011

Morning -- Coffee! The game plan going in today… fast decisions and amazing time management (Go AD team!). We have the long monologue scene happening and this means there’s no time for lollygagging (what a strange word). Let me just tell you, I was encouraged yesterday to cut the monologue to shorten the scene (and time to shoot it), but couldn’t bring myself to do it. I went through at least 6 revisions of completely changing the monologue and I wouldn’t know where to start in the cutting process. Ugh, f*&k this monologue – although it’s one of my favorite scenes…

Night -- Three days in. I’m in love with this team. We’ve blasted through the day (I tried not to blink) and captured some amazing footage! Aaron (DP), Evan (1st AC), Bob (Gaffer), Jorge (Key Grip), Igor (BBE) and the rest of the camera department painted a freakin’ canvas. Swoon. And we got to set off the traps today (another awesome collaboration with Melissa and Luke). Go team, GO! BTW, the more I write upon arriving home, the less I seem to make sense. It gets this way during production.

Day 4 – February 14th, 2011

Morning -- Happy Valentines Everyone! Last day and it’s going to be a great one! I can’t believe this production has zoomed by this quickly. Honestly, I’m going to miss this crew and really did my best to stay present during the making of this film. I know I get really caught up in the scenes, so it’s really crucial to take in everything and enjoy moment. Last night was definitely an eye-opener because having the boy on set for a limited amount of time really pushes all of us to really concentrate. Concentrate on the scene and stay focused. That’s what we have to do today. Let’s do this!

Night -- What. A. Day. It’s 1a.m. and I’ve had a very interesting last day. We got everything we needed to compile a movie and all the footage looks fantastic. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this team and can’t wait to show everyone what we created. Yes, most of the hurdles hit us this morning (let’s just say, our Producing team really were beyond amazing! The cops were called, but that didn’t deter us one second. They handled it flawlessly!), but with this teamwork and collaboration, we did everything we needed to do to get ‘er done. Congrats everyone on an awesome shoot!

There you have it. Sure, I may not be the most articulate while I’m in my REM haze (caffeine may be my best friend), however it was a very small look inside my mind during the shoot. Looking back, I wish I got into more specifics – moments that stood out, memorable dialogue from the crew, or perhaps silly anecdotes. Though, I’m not sure it would really make much of a difference. Much of these experiences can’t be repeated. Most of these experiences can’t even be shared. They just have to be felt. Like I said on Day 4 – I had to stay present during this production or it might slip away. That’s exactly what I did – stayed focused, enjoyed every second, and remained present throughout the process.

I couldn’t be more happy with the people I worked alongside, and as I put the final touches on the Production phase of A Boy’s Life, I’m eager to enter Post-Production and promise to enjoy every single second of this special little film.

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