“Like a work of art,” she repeated, looking from her canvas to the drawing-room steps and back again. She must rest for a moment. And, resting, looking from one to the other vaguely, the old question which traversed the sky of the soul perpetually, the vast, the general question which was apt to particularise itself at such moments as these, when she released faculties that had been on the strain, stood over her, paused over her, darkened over her. What is the meaning of life? That was all — a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.
The Englishman in this photo is not, in fact,dead, although he certainly appears to be.
In Hollywood, I’m told, 18– to 20-hour days are routine. We weren’t doing anything close to that — more like 12 hours — but still, it got to be a grind. Some of us are not used to rising at the crack of dawn to start loading and unloading equipment. This is what leads to scenes like the one pictured above.
The first day or two, I was too worked up to notice how tired I was. But by Wednesday I was entering a fugue state, and by Friday I was in full-on survival mode, struggling to hold up my end while grabbing a little shuteye between takes. It took me about a week to recover completely. (more…)
Life on a film set is a strange mixture of frantic action and abject boredom. People had told me this before, but it wasn’t till Fort Bragg that I came to appreciate it myself. You race around to get the shot set up, and then most of the time you end up waiting: waiting for the actors to be ready, waiting for the light to be right, waiting for traffic to pass, waiting for the fucking sound guy to get his act together.
Thus it is that filmmaking, although often a high-speed, high-pressure activity, allows many moments for quiet contemplation. This is especially true during that one minute out of the day when the F.S.G. calls for quiet on the set so he can record the room tone, i.e. what it sounds like in this particular location without any added noise. It’s only in situations like this that you begin to appreciate just how long a minute can be — long enough to have a dozen different cascading trains of thought, to experience epiphanies and regrets and fantasies and anything else the human mind is capable of. (more…)
Watch out, these woods are infested with film crews.
It was a fine August day when I arrived in Fort Bragg (Mendocino County, not North Carolina) for my first day on the set of the movie that was then called Homeworld-X (it’s since lost the “X”). I had only the vaguest idea of what to expect. The others who were there had already been working together for a couple of weeks, so at first I felt lost, an outsider who doesn’t get any of the jokes.
Fortunately, I was given what may be the best job on a film set: second assistant camera, or to name it more accurately, slate guy. (My only interaction with the camera came during handheld sequences, when I occasionally held it between takes so the director could rest his arms.) This involves kicking off every shot by announcing the scene and take number, clapping the slate, then quickly moving to a safe place out of the frame and remaining quiet and stationary until you hear the word “cut.” Then you update the slate with the new scene or take number, and do it over again. (more…)