Regarding Motion Pictures.
4. Production (1/2)
The treatment I wrote for this mini movie/music vid really had a lot of stuff in it. It was meant to explain a little more what all this nonsense is all about. It’s a dumbed down sequence that I had imagined from my initial vision of MASS:LIGHT. Of course, it’s ambitious. So I took some time shooting it for many reasons.
I wanted to plan the shoot more than I did on the first one. I rewrote the treatment and got my friend Joe to help me out with storyboarding the thing. From there, I knew that it was going to be several days of shooting. There were a couple of looks, locations, weather requirements, et cetera. Ultimately, it was me and two dudes doing the whole production over a couple of months. I walked around for a whole week with half a shaved head because we postponed a day. Since I was trying to be quiet about the whole project, I not only felt weird but had a hard time explaining to people why I looked so ridiculous: grown-ass, 42 year old man with a wife, two kids — and this half-hawk. So when I walk into my corner grocer or run into my neighbor or something, I just say, ‘oh it’s just for a photo shoot.” I mean, these are people that see me on Strombo or in the Gaz.
The weather was our friend and our enemy. On the night we shot the vocals by the little fire, it was -25 degrees Celsius. I was wearing a flimsy cape. But I had to look like I wasn’t cold at all. My feet were numb for a couple of days because of those goddamn boots. I could have froze to death. Also, never mind performing on camera in those sub-arctic temperatures, try working in those conditions; setting up lights, loading the camera, changing lenses. With no toasty trailer nearby, We just had to work really fast to get the shots we needed. We didn’t get everything. The cold became unbearable.
I’m no actor. In the vid I just kind of acted without acting. That’s what we do when we make these fucking things. I perform actions, not much emotion involved. This thing was set up like a dream. I find that in dreams it is very difficult to nail down emotion. I also find that certain actions can lead a story along without imposing emotion on the audience. They can feel what’s left in the trail of actions. At least that’s the idea. Its a kind of verité. In this case it’s “Fantasy Verité.” Yeah; I just made that shit up and I know it makes absolutely no sense at all. It’s just art, MFs.
When I got the rushes, I really couldn’t tell how totally lame the whole project was or if the ghetto-ness was actually what gave it a “look.” I love the look of film. I do not claim to know wtf I am doing. I’m just learning the hard way, publicly. I got off my ass and did all this stuff to entertain you. Anyway, I was definitely glad we were not making this on some didge that would not have even worked in those conditions.That fucking Bolex man; what a work-horse. Towards the end of all the photography, that poor thing was starting to squeak as if to stay with every turn, “CLA, CLA, CLA…" I mean that’s all she needs to run another 30 years or so — as long as they are still making film.
(to be continued…)
Above: Trying not to freeze my ass off in the cold, cold night, lit by a little fire and some 40 dollar (red-gelled) work lights from the Home Depot. Shot on the Bolex H16 with Kern-Palliard 75mm f/1.9 Switar on the front, loaded w Kodak Vision 3 500T.