Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Lights of Austell

I never thought I'd quote Atlanta filmmaker, Damon Wood, but "I love filmmaking!" When I first heard him say that on the set of Jinx'd, I thought to myself, "My God, what a dork!" I understand now where that feeling originated.

Day 1 - First days on a feature are all pretty similar. You start a new job and all the confusion, excitement, uncertainty and nervousness that in an ordinary job takes weeks to purge must be squeezed out in one day. Our makeup girl didn't show up today or was late and asked not to return - I'm not sure which - so I went au natural before the camera. Carl Th. Dreyer would be proud.
Unfortunately the weather added to our case of the 'first days'. I usually don't bust things, but I'll definitely be busting out the lotion for my hands to combat the frigid temps. Most of the day was concerned with shooting a scene in which Archie picks up a hitchhiker, but has ulterior motives, namely murdering her to fuel the blood car.

We ended the day with a scene in which Archie walks home and witnesses dozens of people enjoying life without gasoline. We had some extras show up, but apparently, some thought it was an audition they were at and not the actual shooting. Alarm bells went off and a mother with her two kids asked how much it paid. She was told nothing except the pleasure of helping out an indie film. She promptly left, with her two kids.

The most dramatic thing of the day was when our DP, Adam, trying to execute a run and gun close-up of Archie's feet dodging the happy people enjoying life w/o cars, slipped on the wet asphalt of Spring St. in Austell and kissed the pavement. I don't think anyone on the crew saw it coming as plenty of crew members subbing for missing extras were riding carts and doing handstands and riding roller blades in the street for the shot. I don't like chalking these events up to bad luck because it implies helplessness, but sometimes it's all you have.

Filmmaking is no longer fun and games when your DP has a bloody face. Nor when the HD camera suffers an injury as well(a broken latch that locks the viewfinder to the camera). Despite seemingly calamitous events, everyone is prepared to work again tomorrow. For free mind you. And that includes me, because as I was driving home, I noticed that almost the entire sector of downtown Austell was aglow with lights; on trees, on buildings, on telephone poles, on store windows, on every inch of that city including a steep hillside, which spelled out, "Merry Christmas Austell".