January 10, 2010
By six o'clock, we had our antique movie camera but not our second cast member. We thought finding a gentleman with a moustache would be easy enough - a stone thrown in a hipster bar, perhaps - but such was not the case. Seven o'clock found us scouring Facebook, looking for friends and friends of friends who might fit the bill. Phone calls were made, but apparently 'tis the season for close shaves.
Finally we found someone - a graduate student in cancer related research. Would he fit in the period costumes already procured? He invited us over to a party at his friend's house. We showed up with a bag full of clothes and had him try them on during halftime of the big game. I took a snapshot on the old iPhone. He looked good and old fashioned - our second leading man was found. We thanked him, told him that we were getting started at three the next day and, on the way out the door, let him know that we'd be setting his head on fire.
We were on our sixth or seventh take when the coyotes began to howl. By and by, their melancholy howls were augmented by another shrill, distant caterwaul - a siren, barely there, twisting its way through the breaks in those wails coming from no discernible direction. It wasn't really coming closer, it didn't seem, which didn't stop me from wondering, in the back of my head, if it wasn't coming for us.
We kept shooting as the sun sank lower and lower, until our latitude was lost and we could shoot no more. "Should we put out the fire, or just let it burn out?" someone (who may have been me) asked. In answer to my question, the flashing lights of a fire engine rounded the corner at the bottom of a hill. A fire extinguisher was grabbed, the fire doused, and a great billow of white smoke unfurled. Two firemen got out of the truck and began walking towards us. Up the dry, grassy hill that opened up onto miles and miles of dry, grassy fields, at the foot of which we'd lit a (properly controlled) fire because, after all, the shot would look so much better with it. The fact that we were on private property without permission was the furthest thing on our mind at this point.
They looked at the film equipment, and at the snuffed conflagration at our feet.
"Well, it looks like you've got everything under control," they said.
And then they left, proving once again that when you're making movies, you can pretty much get away with anything.
Posted by David Lowery at January 10, 2010 8:34 PM