“How was that?”
“You know, that was great. I love how your hair flows. You should see it on camera. Oh, and when you did that slight shrug? I love that. Let’s just do another one for timing.”
“Hold for makeup.”
Hair and makeup marched toward the trampoline as Laura knelt on the side. They masked the glints of sweat on her forehead and pulled back any stray strands of gold. While they were busy, I walked up to the cinematographer. He was perched up on a picnic bench. He angled the monitor downward. I watched and nodded.
As I flipped through the shot list, I checked off what would be the halfway mark. We were making great time.
Tensions never rose above the level of a delayed text message. In fact, my time directing was the most relaxed I felt that day. Except for a few beetles meeting their untimely doom in our lights, I don’t think anyone on this set felt even a hint of stress.
For the most part, that’s what I aim for. Even when something does go wrong, I am the last person to even hold my breath. I imagine that if the pilot on a plane panics, then the passengers would have almost no reason to keep calm. The same goes with production.
Except for an extremely specific vision, I am no tyrant. For my crew, I try to pick out individuals who are not just talented, not just passionate, but who also want to be part of the project. If they believe in creation, and respect art more than their own egos, then of course, I would trust their input. I can admit that these people know more than I do about their respective crafts. I won’t frown at ideas to make the shot better. I’d much prefer a spirit of collaboration than a dictatorship. Wouldn’t anyone?
Sure, not every bit of input may be suitable. There is always the need for creative compromise. But with an atmosphere that supports free expression versus fearful silence, in the end, each person who was part of the production could find their fingerprints on the frame. They could claim that the final product (hopefully) shows in part who they are and not who they were asked/paid to be.
After a few minutes, hair and makeup scurried back behind camera. Laura made her way back to her mark. She jumped up and down the trampoline. I gave the signal and she did that little shoulder shrug and there was a collective “Aaawww” from the whole crew.
We played it again in slow motion. There she was jumping into frame with her jewelry hovering above her collarbones. Her smile stretched dimple to dimple. Just this glance could melt the Arctic. There was a bit of disbelief watching what was once just a seed of an idea now in actual moving recorded pixels. It was a moment so brief and worth embracing - one every artist easily forgets. It was a moment of satisfaction.
"Yeah, we got it."
"Let’s move on."
Model/actress: Laura Quirk. Photo by Landon Stahmer.
I can’t post the actual spot for an array of reasons, but soon enough, I will.