Exposing Myself Down Memory Lane

How many filmmakers does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. Rewrite. Exterior. Day. Fuck the light bulb.

I hadn’t shot 16mm film, or used a Bolex since my University days. All that changed yesterday in a spontaneous bit of serendipity.

Frank’s sister’s friend was shooting a student film and needed people to show up, dressed like Rockstars. I was planning to work on an arts grant, but this seemed fun. Frank was planning on being there and invited me along. It was a chance to make new friends, while hanging out with old ones.

Upon arriving at ‘Smudge’s’ condo at 99 Harbour Square – a building steps from the water – it became clear that my filmmaking experience would be welcome and needed to keep the day moving well. I was happy to oblige.

We started by simplifying the script, reducing the number of set-ups given the limited number of hours we had to work with. I also suggested we work purely with daylight. Breaking out lights is a pain in the ass, and nothing in the story suggested that we couldn’t accomplish what we needed to do, by moving out of the sunlight. We even got Frank’s motorcycle in on the action. He was more than happy for that bit of action.

Between the beer & pizza, taking light meter readings, winding the Bolex, helping with the set dec, spontaneous re-writes, opportunistic staking out of locations we never obtained permission to shoot in, and never taking ourselves too seriously, I felt myself moving back in time – right up to my film school days. We were even shooting with the same Kodak Eastman 7222 16mm film stock I used back in the day. What a rush!

And guess what?

About 10 seconds after we wrapped for the day PJ called. We mused about those long-ago film school days where she tagged along on some of my shoots, or hung out with me in the edit suites late at night. She said I sounded happy on the phone. Smudge and Frank later told me that I looked really happy.

Frank’s sister and his mother joined us afterwards. Smudge took us all out for dinner as payment for a fun day’s work. We stayed on the Harbourfront.

I’d never hung out in that part of the city before. What an amazing place! Tall ships. Yachts. Seagulls. Dockside attractions. Humanity in all shapes and sizes – all having fun. I intend to make regular visits.

Also, I hope the film turns out.

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