Monday, September 23, 2013

Floating: A Swim in the Woods - All's Well That Ends Well

"Love All, Trust a Few, Do Wrong to None"
-W. Shakespeare, All's Well That Ends Well
There are skills we start out with, skills we acquire, and skills that are a little bit of both.

I don't know if it's time, or being worn out over years from conflicts important and trivial, or just a part of my personality, but I have long since stopped carrying grudges.

Everyone comes to projects with baggage, and sometimes your baggage and my baggage make for a bad combination. Crew people have been screwed by producers; producers have been let down by crews. For every person we worked for who was appreciative, there were those who hardly noticed.

If you carry all that baggage with you, you carry a lot of regret and anger, and, frankly, it's just not worth it. I explained this recently to a director who thought certain crew and cast "disloyal." Maybe he was right; maybe not. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, or, at worst, just assume I will not work with them again, and let it go at that.

I've documented the difficult relationship William, the director, and I had on Floating. It was business, and, at times, it was personal.

After Mary came on as line producer, things definitely got better. At the very least, we were not antagonistic to each other; at best, there were times we would share a good moment. In between, we were civil and respectful to each other.

On the last day for key crew or cast, the AD will do "send-offs." announcing, "That's a wrap on (fill in person here)." Everyone claps, sometimes enthusiastically (for those we love) or at least politely (for those who we loved less).

On the last day of principal photography, the AD gets to say "and that's a wrap on (name of movie)." Emotions tend to run from regret that you would not see these people again soon (or maybe ever), to mentally dropping to your knees that this travesty is over.

When I did the wrap for everyone, and got to the end, William and I looked at each other. We could have just shaken hands, fist-bumped, or given a polite wave. We did indeed shake hands, and then, simultaneously, we wrapped our arms around each other and hugged.

I don't know why we I did it, and I don't think he knows why he did it. It just seemed right. One of the grip/electric guys actually said "I need a picture of this." That produced a genuine laugh from all of us.

Hey, it wasn't Nelson Mandela raising his hands with the representative of his former persecutors, F.W. de Klerk, at the end of Apartheid (pictured above) or one of the symbols of the U.S. during the Cold War, President Richard Nixon, who had been a Cold War Hawk since his Senate days, reaching out to Mao Zedong, China's leader and as much as anyone the symbol of Communism (pictured below).

History is filled with such reconciliations. Perhaps it is in our biology. Scientists have suggested that the physical responses we associate with anger - adrenalin rush, etc -  last approximately two seconds; yes, that is two SECONDS. That means that in order to remain angry, we have to work at it. As such, it seems only natural that we try to find a way to make our lives easier, to let go of anger.

Still, given what we had been through, it certainly came as a surprise to many, and probably to William and I, that we had let go to that extent.

Often in these pages, I have made the point that, at the end of the day, the final film is not necessarily reflective of the time on set. Films that are fun to make are sometimes awful; films that were brutal can be great.

If I am fair, this is a very good movie, William is to be commended. I highly recommend it to anyone, and especially to those who are current fans of Norman Reedus and his work on The Walking Dead, or older fans from The Boondock Saints.

Speaking of that latter film, which helped to propel Norman to a bigger audience:

Before we knew that it would be a good film, we were determined to have a good wrap party, and William and his dad provided a good one. The celebration went to the wee hours of the morning, and everyone was full of that combination of joy at the culmination of work done together, and, well, alcohol.

As the sun came up, Norman had to leave, heading off for his next film. He left with a few of the other guys who played his friends, but only Norman was going to his next film  that day, while the rest would be able to crash and rest.

We put Norman on a plane directly from the party; he said he would sleep on the plane(my first phrase here was "crash on the plane" - I thought better of it). Wow, I thought, what will the next project think of him, as their first peek at him would inevitably be less than flattering.

That film, it turned out, was The Boondock Saints, and if the film, it's cast, and the stories that came out of it are any indication, they knew Norman would fit right in.

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. Given the pressure that time, money and reputation, as well as the fear of seeing a dream die, that this business produces, not a bad philosophy at all.

N.B. A busy summer lead to a slow time with this blog; my apologies. In return for your patience, the next few posts will be something a little different - posts of some of the current projects that have side-tracked me. Then, we will go back to all of those intervening years that I still have to cover!  

1 comment:

Kangas said...

Take yer time! Good reading.