Production Day 16

For these last 3 days of shooting Other Versions of You, we’ve hunkered down (that’s a phrase, right?) in a lovely house deep in the heart of East Nashville. It’s a quiet street (yes!). There’s plenty of free parking. It’s a nice way to wrap up the production, especially after some of the madness we’ve encountered on this shoot. But I really have minimal complaints. It’s been an unbelievable journey.

One of the largest challenges of these final 3 days of production is the fact that we’re starting and ending late. Typically, our call times have been around 8am or 9am, but this week, our call times are closer to the 1pm or 2pm range. This means we’re ending our days around midnight or 1am. The beautiful thing about this is I have mornings to catch up on things and relax a bit. The tough part is my daughter wakes up at 7am regardless of what time I get home and go to bed, thus, I’m getting up at 7am. It’s fine, really. There are hundreds of thousands of worse things.

At this point in production, we’ve filmed most of the movie. We’re constantly going back to previous scenes we’ve shot and pondering how the scenes we’re filming now play into what we already have. Production is so much like a putting together a massive puzzle. I have no idea how many people have been part of the film (my guess is maybe around 200? more?), but I know each person has affected what we’ve captured in some way.

Everything has a domino or butterfly effect. If there’s an odd or errant sound, it not only bugs the sound team, but also the actors. So whatever the sound is, someone from art or G&E or locations or the AD team has to figure out what it is and how to either stop or suspend it for a moment. When you’re decorating a space, you have to hang up things without putting holes in the walls. Sometimes those things fall during a take. It’s not anyone’s fault – it just is. Making a film is waiting for everything to hit at the same time in one take. The performances, the light, the sound… everything. And the hope is, if you didn’t get it all in one take, you have other angles and can piece it together perfectly in the edit.

Our job is to capture each perfect moment. Each line at that exact time where everything went exactly right. Each member of each team is working in harmony to make that happen. It’s kind of amazing every time it happens, honestly. Not because people aren’t working super hard to make it happen, but because everything has to hit at exactly the same time.

This phase of the adventure is almost over. Last night as we were working on the last scene of the day (night), a bunch of stuff stopped going right for whatever reason. We were all tired. Something was off. The set felt like chaos was going to erupt at any moment. You could feel the tension swirling around the room like the errant swooshes of haze coming out of the haze machine even after it had been powered down. And even in that moment, I was soaking it in. There’s something so beautiful about being on set and watching the orchestra play together. And sure enough, the chaos dissipated, and we captured some magic.

Even if they’re incredibly difficult, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of these next two days of shooting. It would be irresponsible not to, honestly.

And then we jump right into post production, which is actually already in full swing. Our editor already has huge sequences edited together. But for now, I’m going to enjoy being on set and creating the images I’ll be staring at for the rest of my life. Each image and moment has a memory, and I want to create those memories in a positive mind space, savoring the richness of every perfect take, funny moment, or beautiful ray of light accented by a little bit of haze.

Oh, and I really like the people. If you’re one of the people, thank you. I like you.

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