Shooting An Affair: Day Seven
We were in the studio today, on our motel room set. I will take a shoot in the studio over an exterior location any day. It's so civilized. Restroom facilities are nearby. A kitchen and fridge, too. I can walk around in my socks. This isn't advisable, but my shoes just aren't comfortable for hours and hours on my feet, so this is how I like it. I can sit there watching the action in my socks, holding a hot cup of coffee. This must be how Hitchcock felt (except I bet he wore shoes) and why he was so reluctant to shoot on location.
We were shooting scene 21 tonight. We had started it on another day, and we still aren't finished. It's quite a long scene, actually, and it's helpful to think of it like a musical piece, with several movements. We were shooting the second and third movements tonight, and the start of the fourth. Matthew and Cora continue to put in fantastic performances. The third movement of the scene is quiet and intimate, and they were so good it made my skin tingle. Here's a picture of them on the set today:
They were not in character here. This shot is just two passionate actors discussing the scene. I love watching them argue about a moment in the script; they're so engaged and on top of things. I told them the other day that in most cases, a writer-director feels like he or she is the custodian of the ultimate meaning of the script and each character's intentions. But I feel like I've reached a new understanding of the process, wherein I realized that the actors and I must work together on their intentions. I have my ideas, and they have theirs, and neither of us is objectively the owner of that answer. It's only through our collaboration that we find the answer. I'll often start a conversation about a line with something like, "When I wrote that, thew character was trying to say (something). What do you think you're trying to say here?" My intention is a starting point. It's not that they would drastically change things. We're talking about fine tuning, about small modulations, but they're often important ones. I love agonizing over the delivery of a few words. I love being that engaged with it.
Another interesting thing tonight - a little more crew bonding. In a lull in the action, I had posted something on Facebook about having reached my "maximum allotment of human contact" for the day. It concerned that point in the day when you're just done talking to people and interacting. When you're directing a film, you can reach a saturation point with interaction pretty quickly, because everyone needs to talk to you. The DP, the actors, the producer, everyone. None of these are necessarily negative interactions, but every human interaction takes engagement an energy. Anyway, I was just tired of hearing myself talk, and I can be quite introverted at times. So, at one point, I was called to come off set and look at something on the monitor. As I exited set, the student crew mobbed around me and shouted "group hug!" They were giving me an additional overdose of human contact. I laughed out loud. As they dispersed laughing, I was struck by how quickly we bond with others on a set. I'd say that I had never met more than half the students on the crew before we started shooting. And now we're all friends and joking around with each other. The process of shooting creates fast relationships, and though professors often keep their students at arms' length, that somehow doesn't feel right in this context, when they're working so hard to fulfill my vision, and when the crew/set context creates such camaraderie. So in tribute to that realization, here's a picture of the crew chowing down at meal time (we provide a meal every day on set, no matter how late we're shooting; sometimes we're eating at 1am, but there's always one good meal provided through a caterer):
And finally, just because the day was a good one and people were in good spirits, here's a photo of lead actor Matt Brumlow doing his best little kid impersonation (which came about because we were "cheating" him higher in his chair by seating him on what we call in the industry an "apple box"):
And now it's 3:30am, which is early by my current standards. What will I do with the time?