Monday, December 18, 2006

DAY FIVE

There’s been a minor tempest brewing over my Blog.

Apparently there have been phone calls and vaguely threatening faxes delivered to our producers regarding my “insulting” and “abusive” words. There was even a comment posted by "A Mother" calling me "evil"!!! (Perhaps she inadvertently left out the second half of her name?)

I of course am THRILLED! I feel like Truman Capote after his fall from New York High Society!! Who knew I would develop an actual READERSHIP in such a short space of time!?

But I guess I should’ve expected this. Having lived in the US for the past twenty years, one gets used to the idea of Free Speech. And since this is MY blog, it really only works if I am completely honest and say exactly what I think and how I feel.

And so far, it’s all been true. Trust me, you can’t make this crap up!

The weather has changed again, so we move back outside and try to shoot more of stupid scene 90. With the constantly shifting weather patterns and the sun moving in and out of clouds during every shot, the “big bike race” is going to look like it’s lasted for eight weeks across six different climate zones.

I have been watching Kim, my trusted cinematographer, struggle with everything from mutinous crew members to hopelessly inadequate equipment, and still he remains a calm, zen-like presence in the eye of this hurricane.


I, on the other hand, am ready to go postal.

On the way to set, I stopped my Third Assistant Director and asked for some “sides”, miniature script pages of the day’s scenes. He looked at me as if I’d sprouted a second head and said “Sides?”, clearly having no idea what I was talking about. Since one of the Third AD’s traditional jobs is to hand out said “sides”, it was once again apparent to me that this guy had absolutely no idea what he was doing.

I’d have fired him on the spot, except of course here in the cinematic equivalent of Goodfellas which is the Montreal Film Industry, he got the job because he’s a friend of the producers AND the First AD. I am afraid that if I so much as raise my voice to this ninny I’m going to end up with a horse’s head in my bed.

Which, given the hideous décor of my hotel room, might be an improvement.

We still don’t have Robert Wagner yet. The movie he’s finishing has been delayed by a day, so I am forced to stage my scenes in a piecemeal style, shoving the actors into one corner of the room and shooting just their parts of the dialog. This is tricky at best, and in with our time and budgetary constraints it’s even more of a challenge.

But once in awhile, magic happens.

We were doing a rehearsal of a scene where our Dennis awakes on Christmas morning and finds that indeed Santa Claus HAS brought him the bike he’s been dreaming of. It’s a simple little moment technically, and the crew is standing around watching it with vague disinterest…until Max, our Dennis, enters. He trots across the living room, touches the bike with awe, turns around to us all and with his angelic face glowing in the warm light says “He IS real! Santa IS real! He brought my bike!”

Just typing this chokes me up a bit...



Even though it was a FAKE moment, with a FAKE bike and a FAKE tree, there was a truth and honesty to Max that overwhelmed us all.

The whole crew stopped dead in their tracks, silent for a moment, as this little boy reminded us all of exactly why we’re making this movie. There was a hush around the room, and we all just looked at each other and grinned, and I know I saw more than a few damp eyes…

Of course the moment was shattered instantly by the bark of my First AD – “alright, let’s get to work!”

But I don’t think I will ever forget the look on that kid’s face.