Sitting in my house today and it is ugly outside.
Yesterday couldn’t have been more beautiful: the sun was shining, 70° and I was able to enjoy an asado with a couple of members from my cast. One of them is heading back to Buenos Aires in a couple of days… he is a great artist and I have enjoyed spending time with him.
Today, hints of winter are starting to creep in… you know those days. You can just feel winter coming… the clouds are completely blocking out the sun and sky, there is a light mist constantly coming down making your clothes feel just moist enough to be uncomfortable. It completely killed our plans for going rock climbing in the mountains today. In this moment, I am certain of one thing: I am heading back into another winter.
But there is a bright side… This past week was amazing! Our first days of production flowed smoothly. Well as smooth as any production can go. There are those of you who know that no matter how you plan you can always count of “Murphy’s Law”:
Thursday night was an easy, “tranqulio”, start to what we be a weekend full of excitement. My lead actor, Nico Asterión who is pictured on the publicity frame I published last week, arrived in San Rafael. I took he and Julian Blanco out that night to shoot some simple walking shots. I thought this would be a good way to start them off because they are both new to the world of on camera acting. It was pretty much my crash course in acting on camera for them. Nico is an accomplished stage actor in Mendoza and Julian is a magician and musician here in town, never having acted before…
The second night of production was for our big scene. If the timing allows I always like to put a big scene up near the beginning of any production. I do this because I feel it gives the crew and cast something more to believe in than just words on a page. I know it helps me. To be able to get something big accomplished near the front sets me up for everything else… Instead of waiting and thinking and hoping that we will be able to accomplish what we have set out to do. And thank God it was a success! Only a few minor hang-ups.
The setting was a small antique adobe style house in Cuadro Naccional. Now “Cuadro” is a section outside of the main city limits of San Rafael and needless to say they are not used to visiting film crews! The police was more than helpful with our needs. They allowed us to shoot during the night and they managed to block of the streets to traffic for us. In this scene a group of soldiers and civil police break into the home of an unsuspecting family and abduct them. This scene will be used to demonstrate the fear in which the people of Argentina lived during the Dictatorship of the 1970’s.
We rehearsed the scene once… Things looked great. I remembered after the first run-through that someone had told me once that it is a good idea to shoot rehearsals when able. So I grabbed my camera and got ready to shoot…Because with this group of actors; I knew they were ready. The first run-through was supposed to be at half speed. HaHa! That was not happening. They were ready to go and there wasn’t much I could to do to stop them.
So second rehearsal (Take 1), I call action, the car pulls up, the soldiers rush into the house and my principle extra, (the father of the house, Lalo “El Toro” Tinte), falls out of chair the wrong way and smacks his head on a small side table. Through the camera it looks great, (I obviously didn’t realize what had happened). Then I notice the actors are waving their hands at me to call cut because we got a man down! I quickly run over to where Lalo is laid out on the floor. I notice he is not getting up or moving much that matter. On my way I look down and see blood on the floor, blood on the chair in which he was sitting and when I see him his face it is cover in blood as well, (I thought he was done!!! I thought we were done!!!).
I am just standing there now, looking down at him, unable to speak. He is being assisted by someone and all I hear from him is a mixture of Spanish and English curse words. I am wondering if that is for my benefit so I can understand the pain he is in. I don’t need assistance with that though; it is quite apparent from the gash on his temple that is gushing blood. Despite this, he keeps telling me everything is alright as well! The police come and take him to the nurse in town; because HE wants to get patched up and keep going!!
A moment of panic set in as he is carried away, I am consider the implications of shutting production for the night and having to reschedule everyone, (police included). I quickly pull myself together and begin to formulate other options. We have other angles to shoot that don’t include the family! Good! Let’s do that!
*** This is one of the best ways to combat Murphy and his stinking Law! I have learned through numerous other situations (this one included) that having a strong “plan A” for any shoot will lend itself easily to “plan B” or “C” or “D”. You gotta have options and be ready to move on them when the occasion calls for it! You should schedule everything out as if the world turns when you want it to but be ready to move out of the way when it tries to roll back on top of you!!***
So we continued shooting while waiting for the Nurse’s diagnosis. When he returned, he said that he needed to go the hospital for stitches but that he didn’t want that to happen just yet. He wanted to keep shooting!! After making sure HE was “completely sure” we started back at 1 with his scenes; with the side of his face bandaged now, of course! After a little thought we decided the bandage would be a nice effect. It made him look like he had been through a couple scraps with the police already. A TRUE FREEDOM FIGHTER!!
The rest of the night went great! The actions and emotions were unbelievable! The dedication that the actors demonstrated to their performances was evident in everything they did. They prepare themselves like a musician prepares his instrument for a concert and executed it with ease. As stood in the middle of the street, (holding onto my beard for dear life), I felt I had been transported back to the time we were recreating. Then I looked behind me at the crowd of townspeople that had gathered to watch, the tears in their eyes, the cheer that went up every time I called cut; and in that moment I knew God had brought me to the exact place I was supposed to be. I knew I was doing exactly what I was made to do. I felt alive! I was reassured of the process and ecstatic to see it continue to unfold.