Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reflections: Day One

Things are running like clockwork. Here's how I know:

Yesterday, we did a "tech scout" ("tech recce" is another term for it), basically me visiting our locations with the DP, AD, producer, making sure we have a sense of how to tackle them when the time comes.

Our office hallway location was nice, but there were stirrings of trouble. By the time we got home from the trip, an email awaited us: the major Jewish association that owns the building and that coordinates the financing for the organizations housed therein decided they didn't want to have anything to do with our film, so, we can't shoot there.

You'd think a major Jewish organization would be interested in supporting Jewish artists, especially when those artists are tackling such important subjects as anti-Semitism and bigotry. But no, they didn't want to make waves. Fine.

What does this have to do with us running like clockwork?

Today, I showed up on the set for our first rehearsal. The actors arrived, and we got started. We worked 'til lunch, took a break, and worked some more, refining and polishing the lively banter that characterizes so much of this film. Eventually, five o'clock rolled by. Actors went home, and things got quiet.

I sat down with our DP, Rich Waganer, and with our production coordinator, Stacie Jones Gentzler, to talk through the day. While I was working with the actors, they were busily discussing solutions to our location problem. They presented me with options, we picked one, and that was that!

Losing a location just days before the shoot can be very hard to recover from for a little indie film. Since we've got so much of the project's needs already lined-up, and since we have the right people on board, ready to tackle any challenge the moment it presents itself, we were able to recover very quickly, without missing a beat. For me, the amazing revelation is that I didn't really have to do anything. I could trust my producer, my production coordinator, and the rest of the team to step in and solve the problem while I was busy with the rehearsals themselves.

I've never been able to pull myself away from parts of a production like that before. Making short films, I've always had to wear every hat, and to be the chief troubleshooter for every department (mostly because there weren't really departments, just well-meaning folks lending a hand). This isn't to belittle all the fantastic people I've worked with before, of course! It's just that somehow, here, our team seems to have formed in such a way that everyone can independently work to support the production. People are solving problems, troubleshooting, addressing issues, and making things happen without too much of a push from the top. The best part is, we seem to all be making the same movie.

I couldn't ask for anything more from my team. I'm looking forward to the collaborative adventure that the next few weeks have in store.

-Arnon Shorr

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