Three days on set this week, the three most intense working days of my life. My first time directing a film. My first time with a big crew (about 30 people plus 12 actors). I can’t put the emotional experience into words. There’s an intoxicating camaraderie that develops on set that can’t really be expressed, a high as you get immersed in the flow of production.
Filmmaking is beautiful on two levels. One is the level of creating can capturing beautiful images and moments; the output.
The other is behind the camera, watching 40 people work at the top of their game. When we move to a new setup, the camera is set, actors are running lines, art is dressing the set and putting props together, the AC is putting a new lens in, I’m talking to the actors and then the script supervisor to check continuity and talk trough how the coverage will work in the edit, makeup is being applied, wardrobe is making adjustments to a collar, I’m asking another actor how his mother is doing after being hospitalized last night, PAs are washing the windows and making a coffee run, the producer is figuring out how to put up a tarp to stop the rain from leaking onto the costume rack, people are joking, someone is walking in off the street trying to order coffee from the cafe because he didn’t see the sign that says the cafe is closed and then turns around in a daze to see the lighting rigging and a camera in his face, the AD is telling me that we don’t have time to get all the shots I want and maybe we can cut the next close up and use the wide instead, the DP and gaffer are talking in their opaque shorthand, then lights and flags and screens are going up, and 20 minutes later there’s a beautiful image on the monitor.
And it’s like that for 3 days with just constant flow, a constant flow of interruptions and thoughts and notes and side discussions and jokes and war stories and bits and excuse mes because we’re all on top of each other in a cramped space and it’s like that for 12 hours a day and nobody snaps or loses their shit, even though half of us have never been through this before and the other half are doing it for a tenth of their normal day rate.
About halfway through the first day, I stopped and thought “this is what I want to do.” I’m not sure how to do it for a living but it’s what I want to do and I will keep doing it even if I can’t make a living doing it.