Chapter 6: February 2009 Is That A Bus Bearing Down On Me?

As you can see from the tweet above, production started on “11:11” this month, my first time on a film set.  Being on a film set is a lot like being in @aaronkaiser‘s bed for the first time.  Initially, you’re scared and nervous, and afraid you’re going to touch something you’re not supposed to, but after a few hours you realize there’s a lot of prep for just a little bit of payoff. Weekend One took place at a house in Huntington Beach (Saturday) and a middle school about a mile from the same house (Sunday).

As the composer, and official tweeter, I had pretty unfettered access to the set.  I got to stand behind the director and the DP during the shots, and hung out with the actors between takes.  I never realized how much prep and setup goes into shooting just one scene.  The first scene was the lead (Darian, whose name I spelled wrong in that tweet up there) walking out of his front door and away from the house.  It was overcast, so they had to set up lights to mimic the sunlight, and then use huge reflectors to “bounce” the light back to where it needed to be.  The camera had to be set up in the right spot and marked.  The sound crew had to mic the actors and check the sound levels.  Then the actors had to rehearse multiple times before we even got to the first take.  It took hours.  I began to realize this was normal, and I was in for a long shoot.

Not having a specific job on a film set is a lot like hanging out with @Kevin_Stahl.  At first it seems fun, and the food is good, but then you’re so bored you want to gouge your eyes out with a spoon and feign a stroke so you can get the hell out of there.  Fortunately, I had tweeting.

In the morning, people on Twitter were asking me questions and responding to my informative, but somewhat bland, tweets.  But by the afternoon, interest had waned at both ends.  It was a 14 hour day at day’s end, and it felt like it.  But I came away with a wealth of knowledge and I was still anxious to show up the next morning for Day 2.

The second day it threatened rain.  Despite that tweet above, rain is not conducive to a good film shoot when you’re shooting outside.  We started off on the field of a junior high school, and moved to the front steps of a gymnasium.  I was a little more savvy on Day Two, and the behind-the-scenes videographer was late, so I was handed a camera (the same camera used to shoot the film “Amhurst,” which I scored the year before for the same production company) and told to shoot stuff.  Which made it harder to tweet, but not impossible.  Also, it’s the first time I shot with anything other than a still camera, so it was an interesting experience.  The damn thing was heavy, and you had to move slowly, which is not something I know how to do.

See the Blackberry in my hand?  I was tweeting.  See that vacant expression on my face?  This was a 16 hour day, and this picture was taken by Shawn (3QuarterMoon Photography) at the tail end.  I was not the only one who looked like this.  We were inside a gym shooting a basketball scene with a lot of kids as extras.  The kids were great.  The mothers of the kids were a species unlike any other.  I’ve never been exposed to “set moms” before; it was like a pack of hyenas waiting for a giraffe to slow down.  And the giraffe was everyone else’s kid.  It was a “my kid is better than your kid” contest, but played in a passive-aggressive way that came off like they were all rooting for each other, except they SO weren’t.  There was one “set dad” there, who hung in the circle for awhile until he finally left the pack and went over to the back of his car, fiddling with his phone.  I think they smelled his fear and he didn’t want to end up as lunch.

At home, things were… fine.  There was still this weird air of “offness” that I couldn’t put my finger on, but it didn’t seem any worse than it was the month before.  The girlfriend was meeting lots of new people on Twitter, some of them mutual friends.  Some of them were new friends.  Again, we spent a lot of time together, talked a lot, we were still affectionate, it’s not like there was some wedge between us.

Well, there was.  But it was invisible.

Back when I was married, in the months preceding the end of the marriage, looking back, I could see it coming a long time before it did.  I didn’t want to see it at the time; it’s very easy to be in denial when you don’t want to “rock the boat.”  It’s kind of strange the way your brain will find justification for the most ridiculous situations or explanations.  It’s like the logical side of yourself shuts off, or puts blinders up, and instead tells you what you want to hear in order to keep you from realizing that things are horribly wrong.  I’m sure it’s the same part of your brain that triggers the “Denial” stage of grief when someone dies.

I look at every situation you’re put in during the course of your life as both a learning lesson and a building block.  There are things that have happened that I wish to never go through again, and were incredibly painful.  But those things made me who I am today, and I wouldn’t be where I am without them, so they’re necessary steps to moving forward.  If I can take something from a horrible situation and apply it to the rest of my life in some way, then in a strange way it’s worth it.  When you keep getting into the same horrible situation over and over again, it’s because you’re not learning the thing you’re supposed to be learning, and applying it.

This was not that kind of situation.  There were no warning signs that things were wrong, nothing that needed “fixing,” so it was perplexing to say the least that I still felt like things were not moving forward and in some sort of weird “loop.”  If you look at the relationship like a graph, the months of December, January and February were a flatline instead of an increase.

In my mind.

In hers, unbeknownst to me, it was more of an alarming drop.

March 4th was the day the market crashed.

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