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12 aug 2000
On the Saturday before principal photography begins. Trying to enjoy these last few moments of reprieve before production begins. Prep has had its ups and downs. We're really challenged by the number of locations and actors for our budget (which I shall consciously not disclose.) We're beginning a week later than originally planned, mostly due to the fact that our original DP (whom I'd really like to name here but won't) bailed on us and we had to find another. That put us back with respect to tech scouting and getting the new DP completely up to speed on the shot list and what not. It's always such a test of every aspect of one's being to get all of the factors together that are needed to make a feature film. Getting it from the page to the screen is literally the equivalent of changing matter from one mode to another--a process which takes energy. Just last week I had another project go away. This project has taken since December 1999 to get to this point with my involvement. I originally met Danny through Jenya with whom this will be my fourth film. She got Danny and I together and after he saw what she and I had done before with limited budgets, he decided she and I were the right team for the project. The pieces are in place now. We pull the trigger Tuesday. One never knows what lies ahead.
Had a dream last night that I was hanging off some flying machine, like a helicopter but different. The machine was flying over green areas, then water, then on the horizon loomed a vast desert that was approaching. I could, even at what was still a great distance, begin to feel the sand granules pecking at my face. the flying machine landed and everyone gathered themselves for the arduous journey.
Today was the best day yet for the production, made the day but at a cost. Overtime for everyone. Tomorrow is also a big day with the stunt. Today will have to be evaluated in terms of overall additional cost versus what it would have cost to do what we were behind on at a later date. Even at this early date (three days into production), I am getting the sense that there will be serious cost overruns.
After series of ups and downs over the last several days, yesterday was a notable low for the production and myself. After a long delay in our start time due to a steam pipe explosion at the exact site of our first location (SW corner of Washington Square Park), our production van was robbed resulting in the loss of my computer--with all the production info on it which has not been backed up--along with two days worth of DAT tapes from the Max's Office scenes. Not to mention all of my personal info that was on there as well. There must be some point to this on some plane. I'm too into karma not to search hard and long about how it is that this was necessary for me to go through...
Week 3 of Big Apple is finally over, hopefully putting behind me what has turned out to be one of the worst weeks in my life! I have a new laptop and the film has only two more weeks to go. What challenges remain revolve around getting the financial picture together, reconstructing whatever can be put back together of the financial picture and setting a plan to close this project out. There is an increasing amount of material that is being missed and will not fit into our five week schedule.
Winding down from an exhausting day running back and forth between the set and the office. Entertainment Tonight was on set to interview Carlos and Jaid. Need to speak with our principal investor today or tomorrow regarding the budgetary considerations in front of us. Considering adding an extra week of shooting now to make up for the missed scenes. General agreement from Jenya and Danny that an extra week now will be more cost effective than at another time--while we still have the same equipment packages and personnel. Sense is that the administrative aspects of the project are tight but cost overruns are hard to predict due to uncertain locations, last minute equipment add ons, and asundry other issues too specific to go into here.
Last day of originally skedded principal photography, however, now have gotten the greenlight to go ahead with the additional week of principal because of how far behind we got during the originally skedded five week production period. Have another investor coming to set tonight since now is a good time to begin to think concretely about what will come next. Will want to find out what budget range he's looking at, and then identify a property and create a time line.
Hours before last day of principal photography. It's going to be a late one and it's raining so I'm hoping we are able to do what we have to to see this thing out. Still juggling financial issues surrounding making the project solvent through the end of photography. I wish I could say everything here, but, ultimately, part of my job is to not tell everything and leave the biggest issues mysteries. Only time will tell if there are any real problems or if what seem like problems are mere bumps along the way.