Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Mr. E is back on set...and we're a mixed ball of emotions about it.
That's the royal we, ya'll.

Mr. E has been so lucky to be able to attend Chapman University- one of the finest colleges for film-making. He's surrounded by like-minded peers, industry execs and professors who take time from their own projects to teach. 

This last year of school has been a whirlwind of planning and executing, and even though he's done filming his own movie, the process is far from over. As the writer and director of his own movie, there was a lot of pre-production work--that is, work before filming starts. Draft upon draft was written, edited, chopped, reviewed and consolidated. Auditions were had, and call-backs after that. Endless driving for location scouting. Endless meetings with his production crew to organize, schedule and fundraise for the movie. A director's job is never done and Mr. E has thrown his entire heart into movie-making.

It seems to me that good directors are fickle little creatures: fiercely protective of their work but willing to listen to criticism; kick-butt-take-names to get things DONE on set but quick to let go of what has been determined not "their" job. Mr. E is a good director. (Actually, Mr. E is just a good person, but I admit I may be biased). He is at once able to view the big picture of the movie while experimenting with shots, lighting, sound, moods- allowing his crew a full freedom to complete their individual tasks and the whole set-experience to run quickly and smoothly. 

I have never seen my husband so in-charge. 
Each set gives Mr. E a learning opportunity: working with new people, working with new stressed people, using different equipment, shooting at different locations, coordinating schedules and permits. Sometimes he wears different hats--sound designer, grip, producer-- but this weekend? Mr. E is assistant director.

Assistant Director means that you have meetings at all hours of the day and night. 
It means that six days of shooting, 12 hour days, distant locations, shooting times and mandatory lunches and schedules for minors becomes a great spatial puzzle you must solve.
It means sharing the most significant man in your life with four other people...

It's a good thing I've come to like these people.

The director and the AD are like twins: they may look super similar, but there's always the "bad one". The director is primarily in charge of directing the actors, fleshing out how the movie should feel. Scripts are as plain as possible in order to give directors lots of freedom with actors, sets, colors, shots and so on. ADs on the other hand organize the set, keep the shots clean, the crew quiet, the cast on schedule. 

Most importantly for Mr. E, ADs are the last ones to leave set. Which means a 12 hour shoot from 10 to 10 might take as long as 8:30 to midnight after transportation, set-up, take-down, loading the truck and watching dailies (the shots you've taken at the end of the day).

It'll be a long weekend.

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Mrs. E