I didn't find the time over the last two days to get any of my thoughts down - this was mostly because my head was in the sky and my feet didn't touch the ground.
Watching Tom and Gillian (who plays Marta) hit it off instantly was a relief. Casting sight unseen is always a helluva gamble, but thankfully, it's paying off. Together, all three of us have trekked right across this metropolis, talking, laughing, and occasionally even shooting. The documentary feel that I wanted for this film has been easy to adopt. A lot of times, I'm just hanging back, filming the guys from a distance, letting the play. We hit Toys R Us in Times Square, and played around, filming like tourists, but slyly capturing gold dust for the film. It's hard to express in words how exciting it is to know that you're making a film infused with real situations, right under the nose of a thousand unknowing extras. If I was shooting on anything other than a Flip, I'd just never be able to do it.
We've been riding the subway all over, getting grimy in the the creaking carriages, every once in a while, being charmed by a beautiful moment. There was the old guy, singing out the side of his mouth, tapping his foot, sounding like he was playing old Motown records in his belly, charming every single person on that platform. We'd landed there by accident, a change of direction leading us to this wonderful sound. I'll put a little cut of it in the movie, but it was one of those uniquely New York moments of magic, something we keep uncovering, shit we never went in search of. From the Brooklyn Bridge to helping a lady with her buggy, it was a night of sheer joy - and most times, I forgot I was making a film.
In a diner in Queens, we stole the first real dialogue scene. It was a challenge, but it came out so good. We've had to record some additional audio to dub it over (which was a whole other challenge in itself) with because of way too much background noise, but it set the standard of the dramatic scenes, and I'm just wishing I could place bets on myself - my instincts seem to be proving pretty good.
Yesterday (Monday) was the first set of work with Luis, who literally took ownership of his scenes. His character is a very dominant guy, and the chemistry spark again was just fantastic - all three actors just fit perfectly together, whether it be a long-rooted friendship between Luis and Tom, or a relationship on the rocks between Marta and Luis, the guys just bounced off each other like old pros. I feel like I'm getting away with a bank robbery making this film - just there to take the loot.
Last night was more on the streets stuff, including some shots down at the World Trade Center site. I'll admit, I found this the most difficult in terms of justification. I mean, it's not something that you want to use in a dramatic sense, but if we're doing a film in which NYC is a fundamental character, it'd be shrill to act like it's not important. Shooting the scenes was my first experience of being nervous. I don't think I could have shot so much of any other city in the way I have New York, certainly not London. We live in CCTV times, so knowing I was filming and recording audio there just made me conflicted - I didn't want to rush, but I didn't want to get busted for holding two little black objects with flashing lights on them, whilst stood over the construction of the 9/11 memorial. Stupid really, because we managed to shoot a scene that is quite beautiful. But you never really know, and that is always the rub.
So onto today... Shortly, we head to a rooftop to shoot a couple of delicate scenes. I can't wait. I've shot underground, above ground, on the water, across the water, and now, over the skies of the city. New York is shorthand for a good looking city, stealing it's charm has been a blast.
Making this film has been a blur. It it was a random idea, a quick phonecall, few emails and a flight over here. Somewhere amongst all of that, I worked out a script. What I now have is bigger than all of that, but as ever, I don't question it. You just go with it, and whatever it is, it is... Shit, it feels good to be a filmmaker again.