Monday, February 21, 2011

She Got Me Under Pressure

It's been an "interesting" pre-production week with some highs, lows, moments of anxiety and disenchantment...

Feb 15th

I wake up and prep for a few meetings and do a conference call with a producer in LA to discuss a possible passion project of mine for many years. It's a nice talk and a chance to let my mind wander to a hypothetical alternate reality future as well as a possible return to the land of 80 degrees, fake palm trees and faker tits down the road. My main focus has to remain on "Things" until at least Memorial Day when I'll hopefully have a fairly decent assembly edit to show around and get some notes to edit down into a final pass before moving on to color correct/sound in the Summer.  Minutes after the conversation the first seeds of life after "Things" begin to sprout and push through my membrane. I'm realizing the long haul of what this film, the way it's being made is going to mean for me again and my future. I'm deferring any payment from "Things" in order to maintain the budget and adequately pay my cast/crew as well as the other sacrifices that will come in post and the festival circuit/promotional push. I see the upcoming battle and despite my resolve to swing away and the great support of a talented team/unit some cracks form. I grab a late bite with a friend to catch-up and put on my legendary poker face and charm to hide any hints of what's going on. Late to bed and soon to be early to rise--

February 16th

Awake to an email from across the pond citing a possible conflict with, Lisa, our actor who is currently involved in a play in England that was meant to wrap up in late-March allowing them to be in "Things". Producers unexpectedly are extending the run and I'm off drop a line to Grant and set-up whether or not we can alter our tentative schedule to accommodate this possible conflict. I work on casting a few day-player parts with the help of Grace and a few old NYU acting recommendations while mediating a disagreement between production departments. I think most people see the director, especially on bigger budgeted projects as someone who should be in a cocoon and unaffected by the back and forth and issues that arise on set, unconcerned with hashing out dilemmas and soothing egos. I've had bad previous experiences, especially on this level, with not always knowing what was going on (especially in the case of pervy, sociopath-ninja sound men on set) because people thought I should be shielded. At this level and my own involvement in producing this and my previous film, I feel that part of my job is to step in and make decisions and asses situations, sometimes running interference and mediating. Some may disagree with my position or feel it's unnecessary but I'd rather be "in the know" and work on keeping things together than let things fall apart out of principles or high-strung emotions.  There's also the disenchanting moment where you realize the financial and personal sacrifices you're making to keep the engine roaring, your personal belief in treating those you work with fairly and compensating them as much as you can amidst others arguing for what's is essentially "pennies" and "principles", but it's the nature of the beast and we all have to feed ourselves and our families.  "Family"... there's that word again.

February 17th

After a script read through for a friend's project is cancelled and location scouting day moved I, not having anything else scheduled, I make the day a mental/personal health day to clear out the bad juju that seems to be consistently swarming in my head. I play music, I try to write, i catch-up on laundry and grocery errands and yet it all seems a bit mechanical. Something is gnawing at me and churning in the back of it all that I can't quite run from. My old escape of lifting weights isn't even enough as I can't even focus enough to curl or push... Frustrated! I find myself pacing around the city trying to exhaust nervous energy and conflicting thoughts. It's oddly familiar as times I've had nowhere to go I'd make use of my dear Gotham as a living treadmill or video game, soaking up and the sounds and sights or ignoring it completely to whatever song played on my disc man, hours and hours till the sky turned purple and orange and the day started anew. I don't pace that long this time and I make it home and use my nearest and dearest friend, Mr. Bottle of Whiskey to come any last frayed bit of nerves and bring on slumber.

February 18th

A warm and sunny day--perfect weather for location scouting in Greenpoint. I meet up with Grant at our number one pick for a loft space on N.Henry. The space is nice with a great view and lighting and also packs the perks of having it's own music studio with instruments which would play great as Remy's area and save production lots of $ on props/design. Some issues with space and being able to move/re-design as needed for the shoot are discusses over a beer and pierogies(when in Polish Brooklyn!) and a walk through McCarren under the lovely weather. We also discuss our meeting with a post-house about a deal on color correction, deciding to approach for overall color scheme and some title work and high-end mastering. I leave Grant and come home to an email from Storm about the awesome band he's putting together and a date to check out our possible concert scene venue in Park Slope on Monday. I thank him for his awesome as always work, having touch based with Vita our composer and sent him some ideas for the different music (score, source, band) that we'll need with examples. I also give Storm some more congrats as his boy Luke Matheny (director/actor of the Oscar nominated short "God Of Love"--VOTE!) for some press in the L Magazine.  I write a query letter for other back-up loft and location spaces and do some research on VFX for the film involving a particular blood effect and possibly adding cold breath to the actors, as we're shooting in April and the film takes place on a cold Fall between Halloween and New Year's eve. I come across an oddly perfect article about breath effects that quickly answers my question, "Who really notices breath effect quality?"

February 19th

A brutal 180 windy day to the previous days early Spring and a few hours work in the library putting together some query letters, responding to emails, personal writing and fighting a lack of focus/clarity. Receive an email from Molly to show off the initial phase of the Violet make-over and hair-style. One word: "bangs"... Do a bit of pacing and watch a screener of "Inside Job" to see about how the financial collapse in 2008 might not have been my fault but instead the collective work of a group of evil financial ork-like vampire dicks that are still out there today. Grant shoots me an email that resched'ing Lisa shouldn't be a problem in the last week and might have happened anyway. I put together a tentative rehearsal sched for main cast and crew and touch base with our French actor Hugo about his arrival into the states while grooving to the new Radiohead album (which sounds like Kid A fucking The Bends) A late drink with a friend and some much needed rest leads to stranger dreams and a lack of sleep.

February 20th

"You're a talented, talented man... and a very good person". Soothing words from the great Lisa Eichhorn as we discuss her situation with the play and rescheduling not being a big issue. It's maybe the nicest way to cure the strange feelings that have been brewing all week that I confess is the pressure of not only making a feature film but what this all means for the rest of my life. I've often mentioned how much of this year is a new chapter, a new decade in the city and the focus on what the next chunk of my life will be like. I'm not itching to get it "just right" as I don't truly believe in that... Whether anyone else wants to admit or not, the responsibility at the end of the day for the success falls on me. There are a million hands in making a film, a million egos and insecurities, obstacles and achievements, ups and lows... I'm in charge and responsible for them all. This is my baby, I'm the boss and it's not the glamour of that which drives me but the understanding that at the end of the day, at the last breath I will be the one making the final and big decisions and driving the truck. Telling this story right is the most important thing in the world to me... the other opportunities, relationships, material things that I have to sacrifice in order to achieve that for myself and for those along for the ride happen without blinking... I just have hope that when the moment comes I can still play ball, I can still make the right decisions and be strong enough to support the mistakes and moments when the shit comes. That I can bring this baby home and be proud of what we've all achieved together. That I can still lead...

Guess we find out April 3rd.

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