Getting to know the equipment phase. What I have is great for a one man operation, if used the right way, of course. Funny, or perhaps not, how the length of XLR cables, availability of shotgun and PZM mics, how many mic inputs available on the camera, and a single Riffa light will dictate a lot of what the movie will look like as well as the story. Some of that equipment I wasn’t familiar with (certainly never knew about PZM mics. Wonder what PZM stands for), but it’s no rocket science. I have to thank my good friend Kurtmeister Andronicus (nick name) for a Cliffs Note tutorial that proved invaluable. Never underestimate the instruction manual either. And it’s times like these that I thank myself for spending hours looking for articles, interviews, and reviews on various aspects of filmmaking. It didn’t have to cater to one’s immediate goals, because simply reading interviews with professionals can give you invaluable insight to your own plans.
I am perfectly aware a one man shoot scenario can prove limiting. But that’s like saying the defined chord structure in the middle of a jazz standard is too limiting for Django Reinhardt to reach new improvisational stratosphere. Ask him, he’s still alive and influencing people all over the world. Limited options are best when time is of the essence. It makes one go back to the basics and keep it simple and clear.
There are films that need a specific look, tone and structure, and the directors demand nothing less. Hitchcock films come to mind. Pedro Almodovar is another example, he is even known for line readings. Don’t know if it’s true, but it has worked wonderfully for him.
Then there are (were) directors like Cassavetes, Godard, Winterbottom, Kar-Wai, DeSica who take on a project with ideas, but are not married to it. Some of Godard’s are still a little hard for me get into, but that’s another story. I have to keep mentioning the Maysles brother’s influence here. A perfect example of going with what you’ve got.
Alrighty then, enough talk. These little thoughts that I so willingly share with the Milky Way galaxy inhabitants on this blog, I found, are as much for myself to come back to as they are for dear readers entertainment. Many a times, one goes through a period of ‘What am I doing with my life?’, or ‘I’m not sure of the career I chose’, or even ‘Who am I kidding…I suck!’ phases. If you tell me you don’t go through that, then meet me someday and I will salute you with national television coverage in tow. That phase I have compared to recharging the battery before attaching them to the camera. When the batteries are picked up from the box, they scream “Look at me, I am a mess…I am weak, insecure, and unsure of providing you with 6 hours of camera time as promised by my creator. I know when I started out I was full of promise, strength, and durability but I didn’t care. But now, I have aged and have dents around my body, my electrons are sagging, and I don’t look good around you any more. I don’t want to disappoint you when I give out two hours in the middle of an important shoot…just let me go (sniff sniff)”
I’m being cute here but the moral of the battery reference is, after the re-charge…when the ‘charge’ light goes off, and it’s all juiced up…the same battery screams out, “Bring it on, Scorsese”.
Us humans are, therefore, not so different from our Joe Battery relatives when taking on the challenges ahead needs re-charging…and I mean the re-charge period that is Haagen Dazs eating, Kleenex finishing, calling mom and whining about life being unfair, other people blaming, shoulda, coulda, woulda wondering, miserable feeling, self-esteem vaporizing phase that would even scare Count Dracula.
But I’m glad life is referred to as a circle. I’m glad the clock is round and it always comes to a point where it chimes along with the opening bass intro of a ‘Seinfeld’ rerun. I’m glad we circle the sun and not Uranus. I’m glad what goes around comes around. I’m glad tomorrow is today with a new face. I’m glad we have an ‘Empty Recycle Bin’ component in our memory. Hard to find the icon so we can click on it like a mad person, but it’s, people…always there under the folder ‘Healing’.
I’d said enough talk some paragraphs ago. Don’t trust me when I promise that. This self-indulging blog entry is about me showing off and I admit that. An entry in this blog makes me feel on top of the world for surprising myself with thoughts I didn’t know lay dormant in me. It is my re-charge phase in the last seconds before the ‘charge’light goes off. Right now…12:34 pm…I enter a feeling of unexplained joy. The cup of life will runneth over soon, but the joke’s on life, I drink from a bucket, dammit. I feel lifted…and separated. And that, my friends, as Martha Stewart would say, is a good thing.