As an amateur (or rather, completely-and-totally-green-novice) filmmaker, the shooting day both terrified and excited me. I could barely sleep the night before because I kept waking up from nightmares that played out everything that could go wrong, and then proceeding to fall asleep dreaming about all the wonderful events that would take place in the next couple hours. Finally the clock struck 8 am and I began to get ready.
I checked in with my cast (who all lived in different boroughs) and heard back from two out of the three that they would be at my house, ready to shoot, shortly. As more time passed, and I didn’t hear back from my third and final cast member, terror clung to my heart and the doubts began to sneak up on me. My parents were kind and understanding, they told me not to worry.
It was at that moment that I heard the little “ping” of a facebook message, quickly grabbing my phone I saw a message saying quite literally the exact opposite of what I had been hoping, that the final cast member couldn’t make it because all the trains around him weren’t running properly.
I began to genuinely panic, so I ran to my computer trying to figure out a way to get him to my house. As I skidded into my room I slipped on the freshly washed floor and landed on my elbow. It was then that I genuinely felt like melting into the ground for the very first time in my life. I landed on my elbow, fracturing (as I found out much later) the cubital joint and bruising my back and butt. It wasn’t the most graceful moment in life – that was for sure. My parents came running to find out – what I presume- the sound of a penguin trying to fly – and failing – was. They did the parental duty of trying to pull me up and stabilize me. It didn’t quite work. I just continued to lay on the floor – like an embarrassed penguin – and begged the universe to let me melt into the wood.
Right then we all heard the doorbell, it was the first of the cast showing up. I crawled over to the door and welcomed her in, she looked at me and then hugged me, telling me that the shoot was going to be fine and that there was nothing to worry about. I was confused at first but then realized that my face was drenched with pain, shock, and stress tears. That was when I really began to cry. How professional, right? After settling down, bandaging the elbow and welcoming the second in the cast, we all began to realize that the final member simply wasn’t going to make it, which seemed like a nightmare at first, but then I was able to call in a last minute favor and had a good friend come in and take over the part.
My friend read the part of “The Angel”, which fit him perfectly, because who comes in at 10 am on a summer Saturday after being woken up by the call and steps in to read and film a short? An Angel. We ran upstairs to the room I had “booked”. (Kind of a lenient use of the word “booked” considering it was a public lounge and I had ripped a paper out of my notebook and scrawled “Do not disturb, filming in progress” on it, and then proceeded to tape it to the door.)
Finally, we began to set up. The cast was all decked out in their costumes – even the Angel – and they were moving around the room, inspecting their set. I set up my tripod in the corner but asked them all to run their lines and blocking, considering we had JUST added a new cast member. They began to work, and I stepped back and let them do their thing. It was AWESOME.
In that one second, I didn’t feel hopeless or nervous or out of my league in any way. The cast was here, the room was ours, and we were about to begin shooting. As we ran over the blocking, we went over a scene that would take place in the hallway outside the room. Here’s the funny part, as we walked out of the door one of my friends broke character and asked “do you still have the keycard to let us back in?” Realization flooded into everyone’s faces, and we all simultaneously rushed back to catch the door before it crashed closed. We were just a second too late and we all sighed, knowing that we had just locked ourselves out – or rather I had locked everyone out.
Oops. I ran to a man that I saw down the hallway and begged him to let us use his key to let us back into the room that held most of our belongings and the place that we needed to film the most scenes in. He was kind enough to help us get back in, but slightly dubious – probably because he was wondering what four teenagers were trying to use a lounge for, and why one of them was dressed in an all black suit, another was barefoot, the third was just as confused as he was, and the girl begging him for the key was wearing an athletic bandage over her elbow and carrying a camera in the other hand. We were a slightly disorienting group. Nevertheless, once we got back into the room, we were back in business and more productive than ever. The filming ran smoothly, until everyone got too hungry to focus and we ordered Thai food. A definite highlight. After the food we were even more productive than before and were able to finish filming everything at exactly 3:30. Not bad, I must say. A day that had begun as a nightmare ended wonderfully. We went back to my apartment, sang, danced to mariachi music and finished our leftover Thai food. All in all, a truly awesome, productive, and rollercoaster of a day. I was grateful for every second of it.