One of my directing mentors, Edward Dmytryk (“Caine Mutiny”, “Murder My Sweet”) once told me that he always picked simple things to do on the first day of a movie since he it always took him a day to brush the cobwebs out of his eyes, get his footing and get back to the pace and clarity demanded of film directors. Now, this guy made two or three movies a year–so if he grew musty in between jobs, imagine how I feel? I was last directing on a set FOUR years ago. (My documentary came in between that film and this one but that wasn’t directing so much as writing with a camera).

So today’s first day of principle was–Dmytrykally speaking–a perfect choice. We shot clothing and make up/hair tests. We shot material that will be incorporated on websites that are featured in the film. This–along with our “b-unit” day on Tuesday which was mostly driving shots and shots from a boat (all without actors)–has been a very mellow way to get back in the groove of being on set, of getting the rhythm back. In a strange way filmmaking is like jazz–I’m a jazz pianist and I’ve always noticed that even if I haven’t played in a long time, if I’m invited to sit in with some other musicians or with a singer, jazz just…happens. Once learned, never forgotten. Indeed one feels more normal playing than not playing. Same with the film set–an environment that I first experienced as a kid and immediately felt at home in. You show up and suddenly the world makes sense again. It’s the years in between–the years spent putting together the opportunity to make a film–that are when you feel pressured, stresssed, not quite yourself.

Above is our call sheet. We’re now off until Monday, when the actors show and the “real” work begins. In between now and then I’ll post more info about our cast, which includes a certain actress known for the television show E.R. (and much else) and another actress who may be related to somebody else in the cast…


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