Monday, September 6, 2010

God and the Devil

My great-grandmother user to say that “every experience you have in life has both God and the Devil in it.” Of course she also used to put her cigarettes out in the mash potatoes and poke the family spider monkey in it’s cage with her cane…But that’s a whole other story.

Upon finishing our 1st complete week of production on Monsters in the Woods in Big Bear, her words rang louder and truer than ever. On one hand, this portion of the shoot was the best and most creatively satisfying set experience of my life. The cast that has been assembled for Monsters is the best overall of any movie that I’ve had the pleasure to direct. From the 1st call of action to the last call of cut, they gave 110% and clicked like gangbusters. Aces! I may be biased, but I fell the script is already pretty strong. However, this cast raised the material to a whole other level. Embellishing what was there and adding great things that weren’t. They created complete relationships and histories that were merely hinted at in the script or didn’t exist at all. Minor characters that would be just filler became lovable 3 dimensional beings. It was just magical for me to watch this cast work. And I haven’t even mentioned Glenn Plummer, a great fucking actor and an even better human being. Without him we’d have never finished so strong. Not only did he bring his game, he raised the game of everyone working around him.

I feel the same way about a lot the crew. We had varying levels of experience, but even the newer folk brought a lot to the production. It was truly a special shoot.

However, on the flip it was also one of the most problematic shoots I’ve ever been on. Organizational issues, 1st day hiccups, missing materials and one major conflict I can’t discuss nearly brought production to a standstill on the 1st day. There was a few times on that 1st day that I thought we wouldn’t make it. But, we did. We soldiered through and everything we got was good. Then we came back stronger for a glorious 2nd day and finished out everything we needed.

In the end, everything worked out. There were joys and there were trials. Upon review all the footage I’m STOKED. It’s definitely the best work I’ve done and I only hope that the rest of the shoot can live up to it.

*my great-grandmother didn’t really say that stuff at the beginning. I just thought it was more dramatic to attribute to her than to just outright say it. Sorry for betraying your trust dear reader.


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