7th Day of Production

by Emon Hassan on August 26, 2005

Yesterday marked the 7th day of production. It was a good day. Good day to learn things, good day to find things, and a good day in many ways. I had promised earlier to write about the project during production each day to, sort of, chronicle the advancement of things. Unfortunately, the nature of the project doesn’t permit me to actually write details of the day’s shoot.

Ideas are coming to me as I film, and as I face obstacles. First, let me tell you why I can’t give more details. The actors are participating with very limited information about their characters. They are also in the process of discovery, as am I, by improvising and finding out as they do the feeling, the attitude, and the character of their characters…for lack of a better terminology.

Now, I’ll give some examples of the process of filming. Let’s say I have a location, character in mind for a certain scene or storyline and for some reason something has come up, let’s say, a big audition for the actor or the apartment being fumigated, then I have to find an alternative solution. In my case, with limited time it only means changing the story. Or, let’s say an actor skinned her knuckles while doing a particular sequence, we worked that into the story.

In short, something is always changing, every day and every other hour. I have to find ways to not let that affect the production and use the changes in the story.

What do you do when the one light you have to work with does not work and you’re shooting in an apartment lit only with fluorescent lighting? You move on. I don’t have the luxury to wait for the right lighting, the right atmosphere, or the right anything. I have to film with what I’ve got, and believe me, it makes for some very big compromises, yet ones that make you keep it simple and clean.

I have to admit there isn’t a whole lot of a difference between a well planned shoot and a shoot that has to go with what it’s given, and that is, again, just my take on this. It’s accepting what was captured on camera. The advantage to the latter is, you are more open to what happens in front of the camera and, like the former, not killing yourself for the best take. After all the best takes are never filmed. The best takes are probably 60% of the best take you’ve imagined. Searching for perfection is a luxury and requires a lot of patience, both of which are scarce in real life. I like the element of surprise in front of the camera, especially when someone gives me something I would have never thought up with the very characters I have sketched out for them.

I tend to go off on a tangent a lot, but the progress is going well. It’s unfortunate that I can’t share the whole story of the movie, or I should say the current version of the story, with anyone. Not even the actors, but they are appearing before me as the characters which is a very good start.

I have less than a week to go. With 6 days of surprises in between.

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