Friday, July 22, 2011

Conversion Shooting Diary :: Day Thirteen

3 September 2009

Um, oops. OK, I didn't mean to take a break from the shooting diary. Sure, when we released the trailer, there was a bit of a high and that had me a lot more focused on the future than on thinking about the process of actually filming and I've been sufficiently distracted by other things that I haven't come back and then it started to seem really embarrassingly long, which made the whole task seem so onerous and there are a lot of reasons why I haven't finished this, but really, there's only one big one... It's because I really didn't want to write about this particular night. And I know that no one's forcing me to do this and I could say "Oh, I forgot", but I'm the kind of person who would be so bothered by that sort of omission that I'd probably develop a rash or a tic... That's just me.

So you've probably figured this out: This is the night where everything was terrible. Worse than running hours late and having to cut scenes from the schedule. Worse than people not showing up. Worse than the roof caving in. This was the point at which tempers just came to a head, when things got ugly- permanently ugly. The one redeeming feature of the night was that there were so few people working (we were trying to be lean and quick and get a bunch of things done that had fallen through the cracks on previous shoots). In retrospect, there is absolutely no reason why things on that one day should have resulted in people blowing up at each other, in arguments and recriminations, but when you have weeks of tension on your backs, small things can tend to get thrust under the microscope.

When I say that this was the worst part of filming, I mean that it was the one time that I really thought that we were going to fail- that we wouldn't end up shooting the entire film. And that idea, having become as passionate about the project as I have about anything else in my life, was unbearable. In the end, I think that the only reason we did finish that night, let alone the rest of the film, was that the people involved couldn't bear it any more than I could. The only thing worse than having to work together at that moment was the idea that the time we'd put in was time wasted. It was truly one of the worst nights of my entire life.

Almost two years of post-production and time to reflect has given me a different perspective on things. That night, I was a basket case, desperately trying to think of solutions that would not result in a principal player walking out in a huff. Hey, it wasn't one of my best moments either. I take a small amount of comfort in the idea that it was a good lesson in terms of what to watch out for in potential coworkers, which I imagine might be useful in the future. It kills me to think that, the individuals involved being who they are (and, to be clear, I include myself in this), I don't know if there's a way that the ugliness that ensued could have been avoided. But I've seen the final product and I feel proud of it and I can honestly say that it is in part the result of those same huge, flawed, fragile egos working, however briefly, as a team. Does that make this bad night worth it? Actually, no it doesn't. I have a feeling that reconciliation will come when the film is out in the world and I get to find out if other people can see what I see. For now, I'll content myself with saying that, while this was one of the worst nights of my life, it was not a defining catastrophe of my life.

Lucky day #13. And now, let's never speak of it again.