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Saturday, 8.14.04: Week in Review

Saturday. Like I said, we needed to reshoot a scene to replace the actor who was going to jail. Maria was in the Adirondacks for the weekend, so J. agreed to be my all-around production crew. We set up at Maria's (our set). The two actors arrived for the doctor's office scene. The new "Doctor" was excellent, knew his lines and we wrapped up quickly. I felt great. I went grocery shopping, then sat down at my editing station to capture the new video and finish my movie. It'll be done by Monday morning, I told myself.

My favorite character on HBO's Deadwood said, "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh." Saturday afternoon, I heard a sardonic chuckle from the direction of heaven. I started to transfer the tape to my computer AND THERE WAS NO SOUND.

I was stunned, like I'd just stuck my keys into a light socket. And then I was nauseated. I floated down to Jim to tell him the news. Warned him not to come near me. Back to my chair. Toyed with the ridiculous idea of matching the first actor's lines with the second actor's visuals. It would have been a typical Susan move -- spend 50 hours doing something the hard way because it's "easier" than the extroverted move of picking up the phone and gathering a bunch of people together. The extroverted stuff was supposed to be Maria's job. Besides, this was purely my fault: I neglected to switch on the power to the mic and didn't even notice no sound was booming through my headphones. Could I feel more like an idiot???

My lurching stomach and hot flashes told me to get over myself and pick up the phone. I got my "Leo" actor right away and he was willing to reshoot on Sunday. But my "Doctor"! His wife said he wouldn't be home till Saturday night. I called again at 8 P.M. No answer. Left a message. No response.

Sunday. No response from my actor so I called at 10 A.M. Wife said he was not available to answer the phone and definitely not available to reshoot today. Maybe he'd be home late in the afternoon. My day was spent in an agitated state. No call. At 8 P.M. I called again. Wife said, "Wait a minute." After about 5 minutes she got back on the phone: "Can he call you back?" Can he watch my head explode?? About 10 minutes later, he called back. He could reshoot after work on Monday -- 6 P.M. Of course, "Leo" was available all week except Mon - Thu after 6. Okay, let's shoot. I'd figure out how to cut the film together a different way.

Monday. Maria was back. Wanted me to spend the afternoon by the pool of a friend of ours who lives about 20 miles away. I was way too anxious. The Mental Health people wanted to review the final product on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. My whole being was focused on getting the 6 P.M. shooting done. At 6, the "Doctor" arrived. Jim stood in for "Leo" and I shot close-ups. We looked at the footage before we left. Ah, sound! Jim took me out to dinner, in hopes that a couple glasses of wine would ratchet me down out of my adrenaline fever.

I started editing in earnest about 9 P.M. Things fell into place. By midnight I had a review version of the movie on DVD. I was flying. I spent another hour figuring out how to hook up little speakers to my portable DVD player so that the morning's audience would hear beautiful sound.

At 1 A.M. I collapsed into restless sleep.

Tuesday. The preview with our clients went well. They spotted a few things to fix. They brought 3 others into the room to see it. It was amazing to watch the audience engage, laugh, talk back to the screen. I felt great!

Wednesday - Thursday. While the sick, stomach-churning anxiety over the actors had subsided, there was still plenty of room for the everyday anxiety of getting the damn thing into final shape and out of my computer onto tape and DVD. I'd produced a DVD, but there was a strange flutter in it that had to be dealt with. Because the final product is nearly 18 minutes long, every time I wanted to try something, I needed to tie up my computer for 20 minutes to an hour to have the new version "render." I was determined to drop off a VHS tape to the Mental Health Association Friday morning for their final approval.

Friday. I woke up at 3 A.M. worrying. Went back to work testing my options. Wound up downloading a "bug fix" upgrade of my DVD-authoring software, which solved one of my problems. Discovered that I could make VHS tapes from a DVD right on my TV's DVD-VCR combo. Duh... That solved my other problem of flawed results trying to print my movie back to mini-DV on my camcorder via the firewire.

The VHS tape was delivered by noon.

The rest of the day was not very productive, except for planning the cast & crew party next Friday. We also paid close attention to the weather reports -- Jim's son lives in Tampa and was a target for the hurricane till it veered into Ft. Myer.

Writing. You'll note I didn't spend my daily entries talking about the above. I get tired of myself when I whine. I decided to work on memoir entries. It was a good move. Spending time in another era trying to remember little details was a great tonic for taking myself too seriously.

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