the awesome/terrifying freedom

out here, somewhere, figuring it all out.

not a tourist

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an awesome/terrifying thought occurred to me this week: that as a kid, most of the cool things i dreamt about doing when i "grew up" are now being done by people around my age. it's terrifying in that it really puts boot to ass in the "make something of yourself" category, and it's awesome in that it says "not only is it possible for you to do this, but the time is now."

i had to face a lot of fears these past two weeks - last week a shoot was scheduled for the tv show on wednesday. monday, my boss' wife had a baby, completely removing him from the picture, which meant that wednesday's shoot would have to be directed by.. me.
my first time directing a full day of shooting, with a full crew, and without my boss to fall back on. awesome/terrifying.

then monday afternoon the shoot fell apart, first on a crew level, then the participants backed out, and we lost the location. i had 2 days, with no boss, and limited resources to pull it together from scratch. i had to go into action mode, must have made 100 phone calls, couldn't sleep, had to push the shoot to thursday, but by tuesday afternoon had participants, a location, crew, and it looked like this new version of the episode would end up being better than the one originally planned.

by the time i actually arrived on set thursday morning, my original fear of directing it had been obliterated by having worked like crazy to make sure that there even was a shoot.

i felt so much joy that day for a variety of reasons: just working with the cinematographer to plan out the shots, using the lingo unselfconsciously (finally!), making the little finger gestures to indicate to the camera operators if they should pan, tilt, or zoom, asking the PA to do the tasks i had been doing only 2 months ago. there is great freedom in admitting how much i don't know yet. i didn't know which was the key light. i didn't know what a stinger was. or a hot stab. i'm still learning the technical aspects, but there was a great feeling in realizing just how much i did know. i knew exactly how a shot was being used and why we needed it. i knew we needed to re-do something because it wouldn't cut together right. i knew which pieces of information needed to be brought forward.

the day you know you're no longer a tourist in new york, is when you get asked for directions and know the answer without thinking (the day you're a native is the day you deliberately give wrong directions). i'm not a native on set, but i'm also no longer a tourist. of course, some mistakes were made, but it's the only way to learn to get better, and i'm looking forward to future shoots.

1 responses to “not a tourist”

  1. Blogger neal 

    great entry, insightful as always! you are on the verge of great things, i can fell it. but hurry up so i can ride your coat tails!cy

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