Just plain crazy!

I just realised I haven't used this place to bitch. What's a blog without a good bitch session. Actually... that's not my style. Le choisir la vie*, and all that. And this really isn't a bitch session it's more of a 'what the hell, I can't believe that happened' session spiced with a slightly bitchy attitude.

So I'm doing a DOP** role on this other Directors doco. You know that thing directors supposedly say, 'Lights, Camera, Action'. Yeah, a DOP is who the Director is talking to on the first two, Lights and Camera. Now, we are shooting a hard scene. It's a group of six people*** who don't know each other around a dinner table having an open and frank discussion on their views of modern marriage. All covered by two cameras and only one boom. So? I hear you thinking. Screw you, you ignorant git! This is incredibly hard on a scripted shoot, people win Oscars for getting this type of thing right... nice work Woody Allen! But for a documentary it's a situation only the bravest filmmakers put themselves in, let alone students. Eh, I can fuck it up, "I'm only a student!". Yeah, let's shoot it, why not.

So anyway, I rock up to this house. It's chaos. Now a film shoot is normally chaos. But really! Its organised chaos. Anyone who's been on location can walk into the bedlam and see exactly the calm little centre which is the focal point of a talented group a frenetic techs and artists working towards a common goal. So when I say 'it's chaos' I mean, there's no direction here at all, it's a complete and utter shambles. This is not good. This is in fact, very, very bad. Right, two hours to show time. I'm slowly gathering people to a common focus. Lights go up. Hidden**** microphones are set about the place. Replacement cameramen are sourced for someone who's not coming due to sickness. Briefings are given on the game plan. Lots of questions asked. Lots of answers are given. An hour to show time it's starting to look like a location shoot now. Frenzied but focussed.

Breathing easier. My french speaking Director comes over, 'can you have a look at this for me and tell me what you think it means?'. Bring it! It's only one more thing! Oh. My. God. Is this a recipe? For the dinner party you are giving in an hour? A quick search of the kitchen confirms all the hub-bub going on in in there for the last hour was really only the boiling of water and the cutting up of chicken... Oh. My. God. You do know how to cook this dinner right? No? You do know that you're cooking a pan risotto for the main course which will take a lot of time and attention and at least an hour right? No? You do know I'm suddenly feeling as ill as the other cameraman who was coughing up blood? No? ... ... ...I think I need to lie down for a second. Ah, nup. You can do two things in a situation like this, you can let your director and their project die, die, die a slow horrible embarrassing death and laugh maniacally while it happens (oh sweet Schadenfreude, don't tempt me), or you can FUCKING COOK DINNER FOR TEN PEOPLE!

Forget the shoot plan... I'm now a fucking chef. It's a flurry of wooden spoons, pans, and stock absorption into Arborio rice. 20 minutes til people arrive. Director, 'Richard, I vant to do a veb houk-up to a LesBian 'o is married. We can 'ave zi compuutor on zi table so she can talk vit di dinner guest, yes?'. The hot pan hits her in the face, I held it there long enough for the smell of chicken risotto to be overpowered by the sweet aroma of cooking flesh. When the police arrived they slapped me on the back and said 'well done' and stayed long enough to compliment my excellent risotto and drink a glass of fine Barossa Shiraz with the toast of 'Fuck the French!' At least that's what happened in my mind. How are we going to record the sound of this person? Who's going to film her? Do you understand what the term 'dial-up internet connection' means? Are you for FUCKING real? Don't be coming into 'Ma Cuisine' and fuck with my dinner preparation over a stupid, stupid, stupid idea like that! I think I said, 'You're crazy'... and that's when the first guest arrived.

Oh dear, we've missed the guests arrival. Second camera, get a fucking tape in that tape-recordy thing and start filming. Oh, you're trying to hook up a Web interview for the dinner party? NO YOU ARE NOT. START FILMING... Oh, you're going to do what the Director says and not me. Sure. Why not. Let's miss the guests arrival shall we Ms Director? Good. Great. 20 minutes later. Risotto is ready. Guests have arrived. Web hook-up doesn't work... say it with me, 'Dial up connection isn't great for streaming video'. 'Yes, Ms Director, I can certainly take over organising the crew while you drink wine with your guests. Not a problem*****. '

We taped the dinner party minus webcam. For a discussion on modern marriage boy did that Christian couple talk a lot about the wonder that is a life knowing Christ. Four hours of tape later... I tuned out somewhere along the way... the camera was set on a wide angle a lot... I was unfed by a dinner I had cooked... I was tired from standing on my feet for two hours behind a camera after cooking a dinner for ten people... I stole a random glass of wine from the table and just started drinking it... I don't know whose it was... It was shit, cheap red wine... I don't care... I drank it... and another... and hell why not another... and no, sorry Ms Director, I don't care what you say. THAT was NOT a successful shoot.

Note to self... Next time I encounter a film shoot that unprofessional, walk out and be damned the consequences. Although it may be the first time in the history of film that someone gets the credit, 'DOP and Head Chef'. I wonder if I can take an Alan Smithee.


*'To choose the life'. Some sort of flippant motto of mine when penguins start bitch'n about their self created situations. Kind of a 'Hey, you chose to be there and do that so don't start with all that 'woe is me' crap.

** I like to think it stands for Director of Pornography but unfortunately the P stands for penguins.

*** What else would they be? Penguins?

****I'm really a CIA agent... yeah, OK, the mics are only hidden from the penguins... ah, cameras...

*****Fuck the French
Penguins !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Take: 22

Blogger Gnat of Glass mused...



Thu Oct 18, 10:40:00 pm

Blogger concerned citizen mused...

I'm happy to hear you are back in form.
░ "band-aid"

Fri Oct 19, 09:05:00 am

Anonymous rICH mused...

I've added another picture just for you Gnat!


Fri Oct 19, 09:20:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

Oh no, L>t, I'm not back in form. I'm just keeping myself busy.

Thanks for the Band-aid. I'll use it to tape Director's mouths shut.

Fri Oct 19, 09:22:00 am

Blogger Diana Crabtree mused...

That is fucking hilarious! I wish I could see a "making of" segment. Maybe you should have had CIA hidden cameras too!

Fri Oct 19, 10:53:00 am

Blogger concerned citizen mused...

I thought I'd come back & actually read the post this time.
Jeez, it all sounds so stressful, maybe some day you'll get the opportunity to pay that Director back in kind.

Do you get your name on the credits?

Fri Oct 19, 11:30:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

Ha! I know Diana, I know... Actually, I make it sound funnier than it probably felt at the time.

I did get one of the crew members to take photos of me cooking dinner. Of course, I made it seem like, 'ha isn't this funny, you sooo have to get a picture of me doing this'. Whilst in the back of my mind I was actually thinking, 'If the producers of this Doco say one word against what I shot, lit, or didn't include in the shoot schedule (like missing people arriving) then I just going to pull out photos and the tell the exactly what the environment was like to work in'.

Fri Oct 19, 11:43:00 am

Anonymous Rich mused...

Nah, that's not my style L>t. I like for everyone to be as stress free and easy going as possible on my film shoots. Doesn't always happen but I like to think I at least try to take care of my crew.

I will get my name on the credits as DOP but I'm not sure that what I shot was very good considering the lead up to shoot time. That's why I'm hoping to be credited as Alan Smithee (Google that).

Fri Oct 19, 11:46:00 am

Blogger melanie mused...

Hi Rich :)
Now, I suppose wouldn't be a good time to ask..so, was the rissoto as excellent as it was in your dreams?..Bugger! and you didn't even get to taste any! The SWINES!

But, now I come to think of it,I am more interested in the Lesbian O hook up with the dinner guest....

Anyway I am sending some more lavender oil over to calm your nerves.

Ah, as for Ticharu, Yes I agree. The guy IS in fact a figment of the deaming cats imagination. I have SEEN the deaming cat twitch violently as he dreams such dreams...

Take Care..and I shall have a Merlot with me rissoto!

Fri Oct 19, 03:42:00 pm

Blogger Ticharu mused...

I deny it all!!!

So that sounds like a memorable shoot and some free drinks, not so bad eh? Ya should've just ordered pizza!


Fri Oct 19, 11:34:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Super Baglady... ahhhh... I mean Your Melness!

The rissoto was average. It was in fact really, really boarding on 'whatever'. I hate cooking for strangers. Friends enjoying the moment of communion over food that entails genuinely connecting... unbeatable! That's what cooking is for... but rissoto for people I don't know in a moment where I should be concentrating on an entirely different fulfilling moment... that's never going to create food that people will enjoy.

Look, I too was interested in the married lesbian, makes for an interesting dynamic. But shit! Don't spring that on me 20 minutes before it needs to happen. We've had months to organise this thing. 20 minutes is an unttenable timeframe to help someone create a vison.

Lavender is totally, totally welcome... actually, my nerves are cool! It's just frustrating to know how we could be creating films based on our ideas but that it only takes one disorganised person makes it a shamoozle. Great lesson... but not one that I needed to learn, I would never willingly put a crew or my subjects in that position. I'll work day and night to make sure that doesn't happen.

Next time, come to Oz, we're comparitively boring but we'll still give you a clean place to lay your head. ... and we'll always stop and let you sit by a lake.... in Oz they even come with the best Aussie wine varietals we can offer :)

Fri Oct 19, 11:50:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Ahhhh... My good friend Tich!

Definitely memorable, unnessary but memorable!

I told the director to make it simple. A store bought roast chicken and salad would have at least looked better on film than my grey but tastey mass of rissoto. But hey, a Director runs the location. It's her choice. Even if I knew the lessons, she knows knows them... and if she forgets, boy, I am THERE to remind her!!!!!

Fri Oct 19, 11:54:00 pm

Blogger Gnat of Glass mused...

That damn picture kill me. I don't know what it is.

Even the French one is spot on.

"Don't you see my little hat you funny little minded american. I AM FRENCH!"


Sat Oct 20, 01:59:00 am

Blogger JLee mused...

That was some verbal diarrhea! ha But it's unhealthy to keep that in, right? Well, at least they didn't ask you to clean up after...did they?

Sat Oct 20, 12:48:00 pm

Blogger jin mused...

I bet you make for one hot chef!!!

Sat Oct 20, 08:24:00 pm

Blogger melanie mused...

Hey Rich!!
OZ it is next then!
At least I'll get to SIT by a lake and not drive at speed past several of them (in the LAND of a 10000 of em) as someone ponts and says 'There's a lake'.
Thanks for your hospitality Rich!

Mon Oct 22, 02:39:00 am

Blogger concerned citizen mused...

well, you can learn something new everyday! the Alan Smithee tip is so cool. I'm going to be looking for that name in all the film credits, now.

Tue Oct 23, 12:08:00 pm

Blogger jamwall mused...

Speaking of which, I videotaped some chick passed out on the toilet but I was so unhappy with the lighting that I gave the directing credit to Alan Smithee.

Wed Oct 24, 02:06:00 pm

Blogger concerned citizen mused...

I told the director to make it simple. A store bought roast chicken and salad would have at least looked better on film than my grey but tastey mass of rissoto.
Right! I understand the visual concept of keeping it simple & uncomplicated. In any art form that is fundamental. The beauty of complexity in all art forms is to keep the integrity of the basics. Speaking in abstract art terms, you can only reach that place of connecting to abstract thought in a person by the continuation of pure colors & forms. Where you are going, the other person has to be able to follow...If you muddy it up, they will only get stuck in the quicksand of yours (or the directors) mind. All good art is the capture of an abstract thought brought about by objective means.

Thu Oct 25, 01:53:00 am

Anonymous Anonymous mused...

Rich, you seem to know a lot of people in MN. I think you should visit there

Sat Oct 27, 12:15:00 pm

Blogger Shelley Noble mused...

WOW, RICH. I don't know what sounds more awful, the stupid stress shoot or the uninvited head bump.

Your drawings are charming, good onya.

Wed Oct 31, 12:42:00 pm

Anonymous Rich mused...

Hey Shelley! Yeah, unfortunately one effects the other... but that's what you expect when working with students and tumours. Ha!

Really though, I have to keep reminding myself that I'm working with people with little or no industry experience. As long as they learn from the mistakes then there's no harm.

I'm glad you like the drawings. Literally done in 5 minutes or less.

Thu Nov 01, 11:30:00 am


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