As a rule I try to avoid working on low-budget independent movies. Some can be fun, but typically it’s a first-time director, crappy hours, crappier pay, and craft service that consists of a bag of M&Ms and a warm six-pack of Tab. Yesterday my wardrobe girlfriend called me with rumors of another low-budget crewing up.. After 15 plus years in the industry you’d think I could say no. …But then some producer manages to sweet-talk me into doing it. (Gullible)
The first low-budget movie I worked on was such a horrible experience I swore never again! So I came up with this rule, no low-budget independents unless it’s friends of mine.
Then friends of mine conned me into doing a low-budget movie. The directors were a husband and wife team and they drove me nuts. New rule, never again unless the director has had experience.
Then a low-budget feature came along with an experienced director…(actually a fun job)…but the D.P. made me do mental gymnastics each day because he could not pick a camera position unless he consulted me first. Exhausting! Ok, newer rule… no low-budgets unless both the D.P. and director are experienced.
Once again, a sweet-talking producer called me. Since both director and D.P. had experience, I thought OK, I’ll do it, but if anyone’s mean to me…I’ll walk, and as long as we don’t do overnights. I hate overnights. I really hate overnights. The producer promised me no overnights.
We had two weeks of overnights! Nothing screws with my body more than starting work at 5PM and finishing at 5AM … I’ll take splits any day… 2 PM-2 AM… but there is something about overnights that kill my over the hill body! When I was young and just starting out, it was like an overnight party. But now, in my old age…my body just says sleep…I must have sleep. And my brain…. (my most important asset)….well, it starts to flatline. Not good for a scripty to flatline.
Fortunately for me, the sound mixer, camera assistant and I had developed some bizarre form of ESP. After the first two days of announcing the scene numbers we fell into a pattern where I didn’t have to say anything. We silently knew what scene was up and what take was next. We were all on the same page…and no miss- slates. Weird. We were so in sync if we would have been girls we would have all gotten our periods at the same time.
Aside from the overnights, I really did not have much to complain about, the director was nice. The D.P. was nice. The actors were nice. And the crew was tired, and nice. I just plugged through, thinking…this is my LAST low-budget movie…. really! … it’s true…. never again…you can’t make me…quit laughing…