Director’s Journal: Day 8

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Sunday, Day 8.

I wake up with what feels like a healthy mix of anxiety and ambition.  It is my brother’s birthday, and I leave a message in the car on my way to Uptown where our real-life doctor/actress has offered an office at her clinic where we can shoot the examination sequence.  Happy birthday, to you.  I hang up and park.  Dena Gad, a beautiful and talented actress, also happens to be a doctor, and fit the role of Doctor El Fouley in ways that our script hadn’t anticipated.  In rehearsal, I quickly realized that there could be a subtle undercurrent of chemistry between Dr. El Fouley and Sami Aziz, where there had been none before (the role of Doctor El Fouley was originally written for a man).

The clinic is more comfortable than ideal, due to the loud air conditioning system, but it looks great, so we go for it.  The scenes are shot fairly easily (save loading all the gear, lights and boxes into the second story building).

After the clinic scene we drive to my neighborhood where the owners of a new café called Stabby’s have graciously allowed us to schedule filming.  The location wasn’t secured until a week before shooting, so we were relieved to get permission.  Note to self: patronize Stabby’s more often.

We arrive there, and begin setting up.  It is a bit of a nightmare, because bright sun keeps shifting position in the sky, and glaring through the window in erratic patterns.  The wind from outside beats the awning against itself, causing a loud thumping noise.  The coolers in the back holding all of the food, buzz loudly, the radio and phone create a lot of background noise.  It takes about 2 hours to dampen the noise to a small roar, and then we begin shooting.

At some point I run to my car to grab something from the truck, and bag my shin against something concrete.  I limp away, hoping that nothing is broken.  Fuck!  I scream, in my head.

One of the producers has graciously made a delicious meal, and the crew eats, quietly.  After that, we shoot a couple final scenes, and prepare to call it a night.  In tearing down the dampening Styrofoam used to eliminate buzz from the cooler, a large strip of paint came off the wall with the tape.  Somewhat afraid, I approach Mr. Stabby, who is next door on the patio, drinking cheap beer.  I tell him about the mishap and he assures me not to worry.  The producers have temporarily made peace with one another, and I drive the Ericka Glenn, Production Manager home, back to her Uptown apartment.  I thank her again for her wonderful work in preparing such marvelous call sheets, and let her off on the corner by her apartment.  I drop off the last producer, and make my way back toward Stabby’s where I live, about six blocks from the café.

avatarBy Dan on
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One Comment

  1. Posted Jul 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Addendum: After a long editing session at my home, Jeremy Wilker, Cinematographer/Editor called me on his way to an orthodontist appointment, and reported that when he drive by Stabby’s Cafe where we filmed last summer, he glanced in and saw…
    A poster of the chairman of the board…Frank Sinatra in the very place where the gaffer tape had ripped some of the paint off the wall.
    Regrets… I’ve had a few…