Monday, January 23, 2012
losing the light
years ago while working on a camera truck, i thought of how the positions on a film set could be broken down into two categories: those who want the day to end and those who don't want the day to end. for most of the crew, you work, then you usually have some down time, then you work some more, and the cycle repeats until they call wrap and you go home. you can leave work at work and just enjoy your evening on the rare event that there actually is anything left of your evening.
but there are a small number of jobs that are not running down the clock but racing against it. the director, the producer, the cinematographer, and the 1st a.d. are spending their day doing all that they can to be as productive as they can, to wrangle the crew and the talent to make the day's list of shots. and when the day is done, they regroup and discuss what to do the next day. the next morning, the race starts all over again.
i've been on both sides. yes, it's fun to be calling the shots and the day flies by, but there's something to be said for, when they call wrap, just being able to ship up the day's film as fast as you can and not having to think about it until the next morning after your breakfast burrito.
as i'm entering my fourth semester here at grad school, i've thought of how i look at my days. there's so much expected of me that, if i was just going through here like a below-the-line crew member, the hours would be easily flying by. and i sometimes find myself in that mode, staring at the clock and telling myself that i'll go home at 11:30 and so i begin dawdling some, browsing wikipedia or rereading a friend's blog for the fourth time as my "breaks" between work become more frequent. soon enough, i've made it through another day and let myself go home. after all, i've got things i need to take care of there, too.
but the people who are racing the clock on set--the director, the producer, the cinematographer--they are the ones with the creative control. that weight rests on them because they are making the artistic decisions and working to make the movie as best as it can be; it's their responsibility. and in this one-man show, that's me. i'm not here in school just to get to the end of each day. i'm here to get the most out of each minute, and whether i get something done today or tomorrow, it's not going to get done unless i do it.
so that's one of the paradigm shifts that i'll be working towards this year.
in other news, the oscar nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. you'll hear my thoughts here soon enough.