The Thirteenth Hour


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In the thirteenth hour of a working day, everything becomes funny. After a long day of production at the end of a long week of production everybody becomes a comedy writer. It’s difficult to say what it is about the kind of tiredness that comes about after working a full day that makes the world more amenable to humor: perhaps it has to do with the giddy surge of energy that bubbles to the surface out of necessity just to keep going after the clock officially runs out, or perhaps it is the result of weakened defenses against the inherent absurdity of the world. Whatever the cause, the result is inevitably a riot of giggles late at night as one tries vainly to stay focused just a little longer to complete just a few more tasks.

The following morning usually compensates by being correspondingly grim.

We wrapped production last night on the film that has been occupying every cell in my brain of late. Officially we wrapped around eight. Unofficially I stuck around the location to do some cleanup and check in with the key crew members and then went back to another location to help reset the space back to a liveable habitat for the generous location owner who put up with having a film crew descend on her loft for five days.

Today was dedicated to returning to the land of the living. I went for a run- my first in nearly five days, and unloaded all the production gear from my van. I drove across town to return some equipment and used it as an excuse to visit with my sister, Bean. We wandered around an Ikea putting lampshades on our heads and laughing maniacally- evidently uncontrollable humor is not limited to late nights.

In the course of our visit Bean observed that I don’t typically write much about my actual productions here in this blog. I didn’t have a ready answer for why this might be the case except for : “I usually just don’t have time” which seemed a bit trite, but true. In the production world a day is twelve and a half hours ( twelve working hours and half an hour for lunch). That’s assuming that you never go into overtime ( as students we’re not allowed to) and that you start the clock at call time and end it at wrap. As a producer I get there early and I stay late.  Twelve and a half hours is the spongy center of my production day when all I have to worry about is providing lunch on time, keeping everyone safe, and keeping the cops from being called. There’s down time but it’s in small doses between flurries of frantic activity. Not much time for writing or well considered thoughts.

The other part of it is that I find it difficult to know what to write about. If things are going poorly then I don’t want to broadcast it. If things are going well I don’t want to jinx it. If someone’s being a pain in the ass it would be unprofessional, not to mention unconstructive of me to call them out on it online instead of dealing with them in person. Etc. I constantly have to remind myself that the world of filmmaking is a very small world and a very high pressure environment full of people who have made it their profession to make things personal. It’s unfortunate that these things have to also be weighed against my natural impulse to be a storyteller, but sometimes it’s just better to not be a teller of tales.

Anyway, I’m hoping to have the brain space to write some stories soon. Stay tuned.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 19, 2015.

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