{Like Spinning Leaves: August 2007

Like Spinning Leaves

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Natural Causes

For once, I waited to talk about something.

I'm writing from the set of "Natural Causes," a feature length narrative* I'm doing the cinematography for. I won't bother getting into details and nerves. Just know that these are untested waters / learning experiences / etc.

one good thing: finally wading into the deep end of shooting/lighting for HD after getting my feet wet with the Delirious series.

We wrap in 9 days. We'll see what happens.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Daft Punk'd

The other night I get a call from Jason about shooting the Daft Punk show at Keyspan Park. Hopeless optimist that I am (in secret), I assumed this was going to be a small production (the shoot, not the actual concert) and that some consideration (not a lot, just some) was given to who was hired for this particular gig. I thought yes, a whole new set of people who enjoy shooting & electronic music -- surely someone would be interested in (eventually) talking about Blip Fest. I burned a fresh copy of the movie. Just in case.

I tried to apply (supposedly) learned life lessons and not tell too many people about it but I couldn't help myself. It was only when I told Dave that I learned it was actually a fairly open call to tens (if not a hundred+) of, well, Anyone With A Camera really. Feeling slightly dejected, I decided to go anyway -- it'd be stupid for me to miss out on a free show and really, you never know who you're going to meet on any job. Besides, the packet of information I received from one of the organizers said that there would be a direct correlation between how early you show up and how close you'd be to the stage. If the cause is sufficient, I never mind a little wait so off I went.

When I arrived at Coney Island, they had just set up the videographer registration tent but they told me they wouldn't start assigning people till 5pm (still a few hours away). I went and stood in (created?) a line that, prior to my arrival, was comprised of one other like-minded person. It's funny how easy it is to spot one of your own. Not just because he had a camera but because you could tell from any number of superficial details and the fact that he also showed up as early. Anyway. where was I?

Right. So we wait and we wait. Again, for reasons I can't fully articulate, we instantly agreed that the people who were running this thing could care less about the fact that we were waiting and wouldn't respect that. And, like clockwork, at 4:45, they started assigning the first jackass to walk up to the table without so much as a word or a look in the direction of the only people who had been there for the last few hours.

We rushed over and got in line. I think, that's okay, even the 3rd assigned position is bound to be quite close. The first two people ahead of me have their spots shown to them on the seating chart. First guy gets a spot by the stage on the left, Guy I Waited With gets same spot on opposite end of the stage...I get assigned to the back...of the stands.

There was literally no one else there at this time and judging by the sheet they looked through to find my name, there were at least 120 other people who had yet to show up.

At first I was surprised. I tend to, at least, it is my perception that I, generally take most things in stride...remaining calm. Trying to see the good or useful in a situation. Without thinking, I immediately contested the issue.

I'm sorry but we're trying to maintain a random pattern of dispersal.
Then why did you guys tell us we'd be closer if we came earlier?
We have to make sure we have all the angles covered.
But you've got like 100 more people coming -
- we don't know that for sure
You saw me waiting here for the last few hours
Look. Do you want to see a free show or not? There are plenty of people who wouldn't mind having your spot.
Fine. Fuck it.

Obviously that last bit was thought not said but man was I steamed. You know, I'm sure graver offenses have been committed at my expense in the past but I don't think I've ever felt so offended in my entire life. Obviously I wasn't going to try and verbally distinguish myself from anyone else as a person who shoots things for a living but even so, wtf?!?

I seriously considered stealing their tape, scalping my ticket (people were walking up and down the line muttering "i'll pay 100" "i'll pay 125"), and just going home. And, just to kick me while I was down, Twist Gondry (yes, brother of Michel and yes, also a music video director) walked by the registration tent and grabbed a slice of pizza. I quickly looked over a PAs shoulder and scanned the call sheet. He was directing this shoot for a Daft Punk video (you were 3/4 right, Paul).

I paced around the boardwalk angrily for a while and wolfed down a hot dog and thing of cheese fries from Nathan's (we all deal with rage differently). It takes an hour to get to Coney Island from my place. I didn't come all this way and wait all this time for nothing so I decided to go back and wait in line with everyone else who had stand tickets.

Eventually I settle in my reserved seat and am only ever so slightly mollified by the fact that the stage is not as far away as I remember it being when I saw Bjork there a few years ago when I was still living in Philadelphia (turns out the other guy I was waiting in line with went to Temple - Drexel's pseudo "rival" in town as far as film schools go). Still, it's bullshit.

Anyway. I shot what I could and got some okay stuff but I know none of it's going to see the light of day. They had so many cameras there, I wouldn't blame them for throwing out about half of them without even watching. They only gave us one tape and told us to hit record and shoot, without pausing, for the full hour. So as soon as I had filled mine up, I reached into my bag and grabbed an extra tape of my own. At the very least, I have 15 minutes of footage (in which I tried to condense all the various shots I had managed to get in the previous hour) that I can now (maybe) slip into my reel and label it as Daft Punk DVD footage. It'd certainly be more honest than most lies people pad their resumes with.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with Jason because, as they say, "he's my boy" but he didn't show up until about 2 and a half hours after registration began and they gave him a spot in the field among that wild, churning crowd.

Damn it all.

Anyway. I'm going to pull some shots from what I got and post them here in a bit.

Gina Gershon Sex Tape

I'm the one by the door wearing the shameless plug for pando.com (whatsup Mr Swimm).

Whispers of Monday + A Culkin to round out the series.