Wednesday 21 April 2010

Returning the material

One difference between film and writing is how much material it takes. Even if you’re using a laptop, you can write anywhere with a plug in the wall. Worse-case scenario, you run out of batteries, there’s always pen and paper. To make a film, you need cameras and lights, and both need not only tripods or stands, and filters, lenses, gels, but also power, an a maze of cables and powerboards, which you must gaffer tape on walls or floors. It was reminiscent of rock music for me. I was working in Paris with a rock-band, All Angels Gone, writing lyrics for them. I remember, rehearsals and setting up, how long wiring took – that kind of electric art, amplified music or cinema, does not survive on breathing air, it’s technical, it’s heavy- weight, and it’s a truckload of stuff to move around.

Some of the equipment for Honey Pot we borrowed from a director friend of Nghi, called Huu, who lives in Sunshine. The rest of the stuff, generators and camera, we rented from Normanby road. Since we were shooting on the beach over two nights, all of this material had to be stored somewhere and moved around in a car. I had thought that my apartment in the city centre would be convenient for storing, but I hadn’t calculated that you can’t easily park on my Swanston Street doorstep; and so we found ourselves walking half blocks or full blocks, avoiding pedestrians and week-enders, heavily loaded with our gear.

But returning the rental stuff was the worst. After two nights of shooting, and an after party that finishes at 3AM, the last thing you want is to wake up at 9AM and return a couple of generators and an arc lamp to a warehouse in Port Melbourne. It would have been half OK, if Melbourne taxis were not incompetent. Ours didn’t have a map of the city, couldn’t use his GPS, and hardly spoke English. I had to navigate him through South Melbourne after he almost took us onto some high-speed urban highway. I generally smile at people, no matter what, they’re trying their best. This guy didn’t get a wink; and it was wonderful for Joy and I to sponge our tensions out onto him.