Saturday, August 18, 2007

Friday, August 17th video shoot

Gosh, I wish I had more time to detail how grueling (hot, sweaty, humid) but sometimes relieving (tree shade, overcast skies, welcomed fluffy clouds, a satisfying video take) the day was for us: Cesar, Ramz, Dominique, and me.

It had to be an early morning shoot, as the Trinity Park Miniature Train was scheduled to start its day--of carting around kids and their families--at 11am. And, as we intended to get the ultimate footage of ESA and EL SABE on the "Truss" bridge by the Trinity River, we absolutely had to be out there, outside, by 10am. Or so, we had hoped. Poor Dominique, she had to rush back home to retrieve the ELECTRA cruiser, which she'd forgotten to load on her car.

So, Ramz, Cesar and I moved on ahead to set up the camera, set up the shot, and wait for ESA. By the time ESA and EL SABE were positioned for the shoot, over the water on a SUSPENSION BRIDGE with wide openings between the wood slats (i'm talking wide open to swallow an ankle!), it was close to 10:45am. The mini-train had already taken its position at the station and I could see ticket-bearing families jumping aboard. And there we were, in a potential STAND BY ME moment (there's a part in that movie where the boys just barely avoid being hit by an oncoming train by jumping off the tracks and into a leech-infested creek or river below) and we were sweaty, our clothes clinging to our skin, and every breeze felt like manna from heaven. Finally, Cesar called out "action!" from across the river, and the shooting began. We shot about 4 takes before Cesar gave the thumbs-up, and I was so sure that the train was gonna come careening onto us, and Dom or Ramz would have to climb the bridge framework to avoid becoming flat as pancakes. As we all made our way off the bridge and onto safe ground, the train started up, and I was the only one left on the tracks---20 feet or so above the water--I tried not to panic as my feet sought solid placement on each plank of wood. You could see the water below, the long drop to hit it, through the wood slats. It's freakin' scary when your mind starts imagining unpleasant possibilities. And it didn't help that Dom and Ramz started yelling, "it's right behind you!", "it's going really fast!" and the like. "Shut up!" I yelled at them, trying hard to take a joke.

What we will do for art... Actually, the surge of adrenaline that coursed through my veins is the elixir of an artist's life. I love it.

Afterwards, we did some shooting at the longer bridge that spans the Trinity River, and only Dom was performing in that. What a trooper. Cesar kept saying, "Let's do it again." Over and over, repeat and repeat, aiming for the ultimate take. Thanks so much to Dominique for keeping a level head and a great attitude throughout. And Ramz too.

I think we had the most fun shooting among the grove of trees that is actually destined to be clearcut for the freakin' money-grubbin' gas drilling companies (Chesapeake?) to set up one of their hideous, obnoxiously-loud, and dangerous gas drill sites. As we rehearsed and prepped for this scene to be shot, bicyclists and joggers would pass by and Ramz would call out to them that "these trees are going to be cut down". One jogger seemed very sad about this, and was already planning to attend the big Labor Day Picnic which is scheduled to happen at this site, in order to rally in support of protecting these trees from demolition.

I am SO happy that we've chosen to include a moment in our play about this place, this grove of trees. You should have seen how much fun (was it acting? i don't think so...) that Dom and Ramz had, peddling among these trees in their shade. In a place that is truly threatened by big-money developers. I wish this part was fictitious, but it isn't at all.

Lastly, we ended up at the ITC (Inter-Modal Transportation Center), where Cesar shot some footage of Ramz and Dom placing their bikes on the bike racks which are attached to the front of all the T's buses. That was fast and easy, and by then the sky was pretty overcast, and the sudden onset of breezes cooled us.

Rain was in the forecast, but none fell on us that day. We are lucky that way, sometimes.

We are thankful for this, always.

Sleepily and hungrily, Ramz, Cesar, and Dom bid each other adieu.

I took Cesar to Benito's for a working lunch, to discuss his character "Basco" and some other things about the video for the play.

By the time he dropped me off at home, it was time for a nap. Did I get one? Not really. Too much on my mind, too much left to always.

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