Generations back, the women in my family prepared massive quantities of food for their hungry husbands and sons returning from the fields or for the influx of families after church on a Sunday afternoon.
My variation was feeding a cast and crew of nearly 30 on a film set — three meals a day for five days. For the most part, I enjoyed the process. It was the least we could do for people volunteering 16-hour days in an over-heated house under blazing lights. It saved us considerable cost (I did the entire thing for under $900, thank you very much) and David could rest assured knowing that everyone would be well fed. We decided early on that this was a preferable option to me stressing him out as a second-crunching production manager.
We’re coming off nearly three weeks of 5-6 hours of sleep a night. But there’s been no time to crash as we both jumped immediately back into catch up with work and freelance. I found myself more tired after the night I got 7 hours than after waking up on 6 once again. Perhaps my body has gone into a lower-performance mode for efficiency’s sake. My brain may be too muddled to acknowledge this.
But overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew. The cast was the easy part, and our leads came through the talent development company for which David works. We broke the cardinal rule–never work with kids or animals–by casting an 11-year-old lead (plus his 9-year-old brother as a body double) and a 6-year-old supporting actress … not to mention the guinea pig. Those kids had a work ethic more solid than most adults I know. Long days in debilitating heat, and still going strong. (The sugar our AD doled out may have helped.) The parents were fantastic, too. Patient and supportive in lending their kids and their time to allow us to get what we needed, finishing up late Sunday evening when the boys were set to begin school Monday morning!
Our crew was a challenge. We started two months out with only one or two roles filled, and no idea where the rest would come from. By God’s grace–worked out through SCAD job boards, mandy.com and craigslist, we landed an entire crew of professionals and experienced students willing to give us five days and more of their lives on the basis of David’s script and his portfolio on our web site.
From the start, we knew this project was far greater than we could handle alone, and that drove us to prayer. The results showed. Our production wasn’t perfect, but so many people commented that the atmosphere and spirit of the set. No grousing or grumbling, despite the hours. People treating each other decently and professionally. Apologies when tempers ran thin. I am especially proud of my husband, who kept a level head and stayed 100% focused to steer the entire project — even during day 2 of 5 when it appeared there was no way we would make it through the entire schedule.
Saturday evening, I concocted spaghetti and garlic bread and such. The entire cast and crew sprawled out around the downstairs lounge area, chatting, dreaming, considering. People who never would have connected without this project.
This film took all the energy and focus and grit and manpower of a good old-fashioned barn raising, and more. It’s not done yet. So much work for David in the editing suite. Some final close ups to shoot. A film composer to find. Festivals to research.
But nonetheless, it’s in the can.
And it was good.