Saturday, June 1, 2013

creating a/broad, June 1, 2013

Filming (Part II)
by Cameryn Moore

When we last saw our intrepid heroine, she had just finished her first day of film production for the movie version of Phone Whore, and she felt like she was going to die, that it was too damn hot in the apartment where the film was being shot and all the water in her body had been expressed out through her forehead, and furthermore she was a talentless wooden puppet of a performer who had neither the stamina nor the style to make it through the rest of the shoot.

Things got better.

For one thing, the weather turned to shit, which seems like it should be a bad thing, but remember, we were indoors. And if I’m going to be trapped in an apartment where we can’t open the windows because a refreshing breeze might blow the amber gel out of alignment at a crucial moment…. If I’m going to be stuck in that apartment, then a difference of 5 or 10 degrees outside makes a HUGE difference inside. I no longer had to mop my brow, or have someone do it for me, every 10 minutes. It also seemed like a steady, sullen grey outside made controlling the lighting inside a lot easier, so yay for that.

Film, my god. What a strange, chopped-up way of capturing action and the passage of time!

And then I started loosening my grip on linear thinking. I won’t say that I completely succeeded, but it did get easier for me, on the second and third days of the shoot, to step back from the scene that we had just done, or look ahead to the one that the assistant director said we were doing next, and not mentally resist about carrying a mug that I didn’t know where it came from, or get terribly tripped up about exiting a room that I had already exited, in terms of the shoot, the day before. Film, my god. What a strange, chopped-up way of capturing action and the passage of time! I can’t say that I enjoyed it, but I started to relax a little more into it, and while I never really understood those out-of-sequence moments, I just learned to not stress about it as much. Not my job. That’s a mantra I repeated to myself a lot during filming.

In some ways, though, filming Phone Whore was quite similar to performing the stage play. I bonded intensely with the crew, sharing breaks outside, snarfing down some food during the hurried lunches, talking about our next gig running through the phone calls sometimes three or four times, with the sound guy crouched over in the corner of the room, out of my sight, out of the frame of the camera, knowing that he had flinched at my description of this call when I ran through it with the crew beforehand, worried about their psychological well-being, feeling the familiar tinge of “what will they think of me”, and then coming out of the scene afterward to their smiles and appreciative words.

The end of the film shoot came very soon, sooner than I think anyone had expected. We had originally set aside five days for the shoot, and we finished at 11pm on the third day. (Everyone involved assured me that such an early wrap was unprecedented; I was just happy that people could leave the pressure-cooker apartment and get back to their lives.) 

The last scene, the “window scene”, was out on the balcony. I was grateful for the rainy night air, although my feet got chilled pretty quickly, even in the fuzzy leopard-print slippers. The shots went quickly, and then they were done. I couldn’t believe it was done. It felt like the night of a theatrical premiere for me: my part was done. Even though I knew the director still had three months of editing to do, the relief and adrenaline flooded my nerves, lifted me up to my feet, and propelled me forward to cling tightly to the PA. 

“You’re done,” she whispered in my ear, before rushing off to start doing dishes and packing boxes. “You’re done.”

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