Director’s Journal: Day 18

Thursday, Day 18.

A skeleton crew arrives at my home at 8:30am.  We caravan to Lake City, Minnesota in two cars, stopping at a gas station just out of town for bananas, candy, and pop.  We are on our way to shoot the final scenes of Triumph67, on my parent’s sailboat on Lake Pepin, the widest point of the Mississippi River.  It is a sunny day, and we are on our way to finishing on schedule, with minimal need for pickup shots.

The drive takes an hour and a half, and we arrive to meet my parents at the Lake City Marina.  My parents, Mark and Laura, have brought their new puppy, Luna.  We get right to work, and begin the shoot with the sequences on the boat dock.  My father motors the sailboat in and out of the dock several times while we shoot Mohannad jumping from the bow onto the dock and walking past Charles (Doug Larison).  After several tries we get what we need and move on.

Mohannad and Adam do a scene in which they walk toward the camera down the long dock, having a conversation.  I listen through headphones to them chatting from down the dock, and overhear Mohannad grumbling about nailing my sunglasses to my nose.  I have a very soft place in my heart for Mohannad.  We have been through a lot together over the past year, and he has given himself fully to this project.  I consider him to be a wonderful person, and enjoy every minute of our time together.  I don’t blame him for wanting to strangle me.  I have demanded a lot from him.

Mohannad’s portrayal of a grieving, and somewhat repressed brother has taken a remarkable toll on him.  He is noticeably thinner since the beginning of the shoot (though we all are), but I have also noticed an openness that is new to Mohannad.  He is laying himself on the line, and being vulnerable in front of everyone.  Even as far back as when he was reading the script out loud around the table with the producers, he was throwing himself into his character.  I wonder if he will be able to completely separate from the damaged man whom he has portrayed so well.  They share the same name, ethnicity, love of cinema, car… We even shot in Mohannad’s actual home.  In addition, he has made his living teaching film courses at a community college, and now he must shift positions from the safety of being the critic, to the artist who’s reputation is on the line.  It takes courage to do what he is doing, and to do it well.  I forgive him for the pinch about my nose.

When we are done on the dock, we take the boat out onto the water.  We grab as much B Roll as we can, and get the shots that the script calls for.  We have the actors adlib for a while, but the clouds start rolling in and it gets dark.  We return to the Marina, and pack up.  I say, “That’s a wrap,” and we stroll back down the dock to our cars.

We are hungry and tired from spending all day in the sun, and decide to drive back to Minneapolis before having dinner.  The drive goes quickly as Mohannad tells stories about his childhood in Saudi Arabia.  The car grows quiet as his voice lulls us.  It is dark when we arrive back in the cities, and we go to the Chatter Box Pub in South Minneapolis.

I have grilled cheese and tomato soup, but the waitress won’t serve our table beer since one of our interns is under 21.  I don’t mind too much.  After 18 days of shooting my first film I have a natural high that is quite wonderful.  Even after we leave, it doesn’t wear off, and when I hit my pillow, I dream of the friends I’ve made and the images that I have strived to see.

avatarBy Dan on
Posted in Journal, Production