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Andy Graham August 11th, 2006 06:27 PM

Bizzare, strange, downright bad luck of filmmakers
 
This thread is dedicated to the most bizzare, strange coincidental and the downright bad luck of filmmakers.

We have now shot our second feature length film and i'd like to talk about fate for a minute. In our field we are at the mercy of so many things natural and uncontrolable, i am absolutely certain that there are some great stories out there about shoots gone wrong...shoots gone absolutely disasterousley and shoots gone freakishly perfectly.

I for one would like to hear them!

I'll start with my first film "Roslyn" which is set in the woods....we had a prime beautifull location scouted out near my home. I had played in it as a child many years ago and it was our primary location where the bulk of filmming would take place.... it had stood for as long as i can remember and in the two weeks we had planned to shoot it was completely chopped down!. But that is not all, we also had the worst recorded downpour of rain recorded in 80 years... a flood even noah himself would have been scared of!.

Anyway are we alone here?...

Andy.

K. Forman August 11th, 2006 06:38 PM

I wrote a feature length story, that was inspired by a small town, about 40 miles west of me. It was really little more than a 3 way intersection with a flashing light and gas station. Apparently, it grew up quite a bit over the past couple of years since I drove through it last, totally blowing the setting I needed.

That the stuff you want to hear?

Andy Graham August 11th, 2006 06:52 PM

well kind of... more like things that happen on a shoot that is set i.e actors booked ,holidays taken, money spent etc the "get it now or never" kind of shoot when you just cannot plan for acts of god or otherwise.

When you are presented with an impossible situation that you have to fix in the next 20 minutes... that kind of thing

Guerilla filmmaking at its best

K. Forman August 11th, 2006 06:55 PM

That whole movie was cursed from the start. Everybody loved it, yet I just couldn't get it off the ground. I rented a suite to hold auditions over a weekend. I had over 200 folks respond that they wanted a part. When it came down to audition time, I had a whopping 11 people show, a good 30 short of what I needed.

Andy Graham August 11th, 2006 07:04 PM

11 out of 200 is harsh man!.

cursed is a good word and they should teach it at film schools all over the world!

They should have a "what to do in a jam" course or somethin!

They teach you what to do if someone is stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver but not what to do if an actor says they're "uncle has had a heart attack" and they leave you needing an actor in the next 10 minutes!

K. Forman August 11th, 2006 07:50 PM

That is why the theater uses understudies. Hmmm... ;)

Cole McDonald August 11th, 2006 07:56 PM

In my feature that is currently in post...first day of shoot:

1) DoP fell off a ladder and was laid up for a week (had to run the camera myself...no option to reschedule)

2) Boom operator was trapped in his driveway by a parade that he was unaware of...my kids were in that parade (I went to others during the season).

3) Lead actor's pipes burst and flooded his basement...he was late

Throughout the shoot:

1) schedule slipped (my fault)

2) Riverfront beautification project blocked the shot with wild flowers I had planned during my location scout the year before.

3) DoP had relatives pass away

4) DoP had his daughter hit by a car (she's fine)

5) Lead actress cut her hair in the middle (drastically)

6) Lead actor shaved (I learned to make fake beards really quickly)

7) Sunset doesn't include the treeline :(

8) Many days rushing to beat the rain.

9) Crack house (?) across the street from location had an hour long fight outside...we broke for lunch (the DP caught some of it on tape ;) ).

10) 'B' camera had a finger print on the lens... on the inside of the back element. Ebay is hazardous sometimes :( It looked fine through the viewfinder...footage is contrasty and noisy...clock battery was dead too, so every battery change had us resetting the frame mode and everything else, would have been good to know up front.

End result:

We learned so much on this shoot that made it all worth it...that was the point of the shoot...end goal...to shoot a feature that I can enter into festivals (permissions correct and finished product - acheivable).

Kept going through anyway...did most of the technical side myself as the director...liked having a crew though...much less to think about.

Jeff Cottrone August 11th, 2006 11:23 PM

I have a few from the short film I did last winter. We had like ten shooting days spread over five months. Most of the problems happened b/c, as it turns out, actors have lives outside my film. And weather sucks too.

--I filmed in November on the back side of a downtown building and there was no snow. But two weeks later when I was scheduled to shoot the front of the building, which in the movie is moments apart, there was snow everywhere. Reschedule. Reshoot. Change script.

--We were scheduled to shoot (and, btw, the real bitch of all this is scheduling. it is not easy to pull people together, and then you finally do, and something happens to ruin it and make you do it all over again), but the scene was on the roof of a 20 floor downtown building. In November. We needed no rain, no snow, no wind, and a miracle. We got rain, snow, sleet, wind, and no shoot. Reschedule. Reshoot. Learn how a green screen works.

--My lead actor was obsessed over a girl who just cheated and broke up with him. But then she decided she didn't like the new guy either. So my actor would call off scheduled shoots (the night before) whenever she wanted to hang out. What can I do? He's working for free. And we already had too much filmed to pick someone else. Reschedule.

--The other lead showed up like five shooting days in with a brandy new Florida suntan and longer sideburns. He figured people go on vacation in real life. There's tanning beds. Hair grows. What's the big deal? But, I explained, how many people do you know who leave one room and enter the next room with a sudden suntan and longer sideburns. He didn't quite get the concept of moviemaking. Well, the real problem was...he was also the one who showed up five shooting days in, and he says...(I'll never forget this)..."so...what's this story all about, anyway?"

--Oh, yeah, btw, the first thing my actors would do when arriving on set is read the scene we were shooting (for the first time) so they could memorize their lines. One might think, well, why did I cast them? Because they were perfect for the role. The real irony of all this was that they WERE the roles. This is exactly what my characters would do and be like in real life. So the joke's on me for writing those characters. Yeah, real funny.

--Another actor shaved his goatee without checking with me. It was five months apart from his two scenes, but only seconds apart in the movie. Luckily, it was a minor part, so we just shot it again.

--One time I had a scene with four actors, which I tried to schedule for weeks but it kept falling through. Then finally the night arrived, but, of course, as it turned out, things went wrong at the last minute and they could each only be there for short times, of which, only about ten minutes overlapped. So I got two wide takes of everyone in the room and the rest of it was filmed one or two at a time. Not nearly as planned. But it cut together.

--This is a good one: I had a scene with three ninjas w/ M16's (fake, of course) who are scripted to pull up in a white van on Main Street in downtown Rochester, jump out of the van, and storm into the building. I figured, I had the building release signed, if we do it late, I think I can get two or three quick takes without any major hubub. I mean, people rob banks for real and get away with it. We can watch out for cops. So...the joke's on me, again, because I didn't realize our scheduled ninja night was the same night as a huge rap concert at the nearby Arena. So when I looked outside the lobby doors to check it out, five cops cars went by in like two minutes. They were everywhere. But, being stubborn, and inexperienced, and impatient, I didn't want to postpone the shoot. Winter was coming. We had to get this in. So I told the ninjas to wait inside the lobby, NOT in front of the glass doors, while I pulled the van around. Well, by the time I pulled the van around, three cop cars were on the sidewalk in front of the building. One of my ninjas was walking outside toward them, M16 in hand (no mask, thankfully). Luckily, he looks like a complete goofball and the cop knew it wasn't real. So I approached this rather good hearted cop (considering the situation) and explained what was going on, and showed him the building release. They kind of got a kick out of it, scolded us for being stupid, then made me call 911 to report what we were doing so they could be dispatched to the scene. They also told me the real reason they came over there in the first place was because someone had just called in a bomb threat on the pay phone out front of the building. Because they had so many cops in the area for the rap show, two of them actually pulled their cop cars out of my way and supervised the whole thing. Three takes anyway.

--One last bit: oh, I forgot my actress called off a shoot one day because she got in a minor car accident on the way (not hurt). Reschedule.

--But the one day I was worried about from the get-go was the last day of shooting. It was the lobby scenes where I needed like 15-20 extras to just walk in the background and make the lobby look populated. As you might imagine, not the easiest roles to fill for free. So I called upon my family, of course, who are obligated, but also my extended family and friends and such, who are not. This was the one day I kept repeating to my Bad News actors that no one could call off. You must show up. This was the one day nothing could go wrong. Except, until now, every single freaking time we were scheduled to shoot, something significant would go wrong. I never worry (b/c it's pointless) but I couldn't stop worrying about this. I would be exhausting my list of people who would show up and do such a thankless role. This was my only shot at making this scene look real. So I pulled my two most unreliable actors aside and offered them $100 to show up that day on time, ready to go. But to keep quiet about the money. They couldn't understand why I was offering them money. I truly don't think they realized what a nightmare they were for me. All they ever did was show up, and unprepared at that. They had no idea how hard it was to pull all this together. Oh, and btw, my lighting guy backed out the first day of shooting, so I had to do that role too. And my sound guy, if you can call him that, sometimes wouldn't show up, or call, so I often had to tape a lav mic to the ceiling. Once, when my sound guy did show up, we were shooting this scene when I heard this bang in my headphones, so I looked over, and he fell asleep. The mic hit the wall as he slumped over on a stool. Granted, it was past midnight, but dang, you know, could anything else go wrong. Please? Anyway, for this last day of shooting, I kept repeating a billion times to my actors, if anything goes wrong, our movie is screwed. You have to show up. On time. Prepared. It's a long day. With lots of people. Please don't ruin the movie. And for the love of God, everyone showed up on time and nothing went wrong. The only frigin' day nothing went wrong. And the crazy thing is, even with all this crap, and there is more, and there is even more with this stupid computer and all the post-production disasters, even with all this, it came out pretty good. I'll post it sometime in the coming weeks. Geez, thanks for giving me this outlet. It was very therapeutic.

Andy Graham August 12th, 2006 03:30 AM

Jeff, Cole
thanks for that its good to know this crazy crazy stuff happens to other people aswell!.

This thread could be like a filmmakers AA meeting .....we'll all sit round in a circle and just let it all out and youl feel better, comforted in the knowlage that your not alone!

keep em' coming folks, these stories crack me up.


Andy.

Mathieu Ghekiere August 12th, 2006 08:29 AM

A couple of years ago I was making one of my first shorts, for school, and I needed to have a car hitting a girl on a bike.
So we planned to 'edit' the accident, some close-ups, you know... no budget filmmaking at an early age.

Then we laid the bike in the ground next to a pretty high trafic (don't know the english term) street. So some cars passed over because they thought somebody was really injured...
Another stopped, then told us a couple of miles away, there was somebody REALLY hit by a car...
So then we moved over to a more quiet street, but there there were less street lights (it was a night shoot)... damn...

For another short, last year, I wanted to shoot in an old train station, ugly halls. 3 weeks before I go to shoot, they decide to paint the tunnel and make it nice and new looking... damn

Heath McKnight August 19th, 2006 08:58 PM

My advice is to ALWAYS make sure the location is secure and have a back-up ready to go. And write your indie films to be shot mostly inside, since none of us, not even the $135 million Miami Vice, can deal with weather.

heath

Heath McKnight August 19th, 2006 09:13 PM

Hey everyone,

We moved the thread here, to our Techniques for Independent Production forum and re-named it so EVERYONE can post their indie production horror stories! Thanks to Chris Hurd!

heath

Heath McKnight August 19th, 2006 09:16 PM

More tips:

1. Shoot the movie consecutively, not one day on, a week or two off, to keep them from cutting hair, dying, etc. (all that's happened to me on my shoots).

2. Understudies are a good thing! I'm trying to find a new actor after our schedule move got in the way of a play he's in.

3. FEED THE CREW!

4. Don't shoot the movie yourself, get a DP (unless the DP has worse luck than you, like what I read earlier in this thread).

5. REHEARSE!

6. Schedule, plan, plan, plan, and plan some more! You're going into battle. The more planned and prepared you are, the less you have to act like a producer and be more creative.

7. Have a shot list or storyboards, block EVERYTHING out BEFORE you get on set.

heath

Heath McKnight August 19th, 2006 09:25 PM

Okay, my horror stories:

1. On my first film in college, back in 1995, we had NO actors, so we tried doing it ourselves. That didn't last. We re-cast and shot. We had to do one more day of production, not even a WEEK after the filming. And our actress dyed her hair! ARGH! (Halfway through the movie, it goes from natural blonde to red, outside, then blonde again.)

2. A feature we tried shooting over a summer on weird days off had stunts, too many characters, and the same actress I mentioned above who NEVER showed up. ARGH again! Feature never finished--we were shooting in 1997.

3. On the last day of production on a volcano spoof film I did (short, for college), my long-time girlfriend and I broke up, not even an hour after production.

4. On my first official feature, one of the actresses didn't show up one day, saying she was stuck at an airport. The next day, our MOST IMPORTANT and expensive day, at a movie theatre that was only closed that day in August 1999 (and major holidays), everything on the line, she said my co-writer bailed on her. We scrambled to find a replacement who was twice as old as the character, so we split the character into two. In the DVD doc on the film's history, we talk about it.

5. On my latest film, we had two false starts after two seperate investors backed out at the last minute. We hadn't cast last summer when we were promised money. We had cast this summer for the shoot. Fortunately, I was able to finance it, so we didn't lose any momentum. Unfortunately, the schedule change got in the way of my lead's play, so we're on the hunt for a new actor.

No matter what, try to avoid simple mistakes, and have a great time. But be quick to solve problems! Don't let it get you down. Have plan b's and c's ready to go!

This is a great thread!

heath

Joe Carney August 19th, 2006 09:39 PM

Now we know why the big studios build sound stages and hire flesh eating lawyers. hehehe.

Heath McKnight August 19th, 2006 09:41 PM

Even shooting in a house or apartment, etc., can be tough. Loud neighbors, lawnmowers, etc. A soundproof studio is the way to go, but who has that money??

heath

Joe Carney August 19th, 2006 10:06 PM

Not me, or anyone I know, but you've pretty much made the case for such things. :)

Andy Graham August 20th, 2006 05:05 AM

The most common problem i'm seeing from eveyones strories is the actors letting you down.

The reason for them letting you down IMO is that they have no idea what so ever about what you are trying to acheive. Now I don't want to tar them all with the same brush because there are some actors who just get it and are great to work with but generally they're a pain in the neck.

We had two guys that banded together and just moaned all the time about how many takes and how hot it was under the lights and how there jackets were getting dirty and that they were gonna send a drycleaning bill (which they did). One of them even tried to tell me how to work the camera and then told me that the jvc hd100 was crap and the xl1s (which was my backup) was the one we should be shooting with!. I have to ask why if they hated it so much did they even bother to come to the auditions.

On another occasion I met an actor at the location and got to talking to him while we waited for the rest of the crew. I asked him (as you do) what other projects he was working on and what he had done before and he said "I've never acted a day in my life mate, i'm just a chancer....i saw the ad and thought i'll try out". Straight away i knew he was gonna be an editing nightmare cause were gonna have to feed him his lines line by line and then find somethin to cut to in between which sure enough thats what happened.

I just think if they taught even the slightest bit of the technical side of filmmaking to actors then we'd all get on so much better

Andy.

Mathieu Ghekiere August 20th, 2006 05:13 AM

I've never really had problems with actors...
To the contrary, I've had actors supporting me and going through wind, cold and rain and still, not a complaint and much fun.
It's pretty bad hearing those horror-actor stories.

Ps: this thread is fun and very informative!

Heath McKnight August 20th, 2006 08:29 AM

A student of mine, on the day of his shoot, FINALLY told me his lead actor re-wrote the script and they were shooting that. Had I known, I would've forced him to fire the actor.

heath

Jason Leonard August 20th, 2006 11:08 AM

i've been shooting a flick about failure for the pst 14 months. 14 months!
it is no small irony that a movie about failure could be so steep, so rooted in faliure itself.
here is a QUCIK rundown of the highlights.

November 2004: after a solid month and advertising and securing a great location for auditions we have the years first big snow storm. the storm closes down the college campus that we were using, keeping the prospective acors/crew and the media from 2 local tv stations and 5 papers away. it turns out to be the biggest storm that has happened in 20 years.....very nice.

December 2004: After mentally recovering from such a henious twist of fate we regroup and find another spot to have auditions and plaster or sign up once more. it dosent become clear to me exactly what kind of place this is until we get there. it was....wait for it.......wait for it.......THE BASEMENT OF A NASCAR SHOP. yep, that must have scared the shit out of anyone who was wanting to audition.
needless to say i sat in this basement with my casting director all day. he played cards and i drank heavily. this was the day that i gave the worst newspaper interview of all time where i bashed my hometown adn its suroning burbs and proclaimed the article to be my suicide note.

June 2005: first scheduled day of shooting, goes off without a hitch. this is the last time this will ever happen.

July 2005: citing total lunacy my production manager bails from the show. with her goes a school that we were scheduled to shoot in. this was bad as finding a school (college) that will let us shoot a potty mouthed dark comedy with close to no cash is hard to comeby.
i spend the rest of this month with a cleaver to my throbbing wrist vein.

August - September 2005: the shoot is moving right along. we lost a few actors along the way due to other commitments (and them not getting paid) but all was going fairly well. then more disaster strikes....one evening as i was setting up for a shot someone tripped over an XLR cable and send the camera off of its tripod and onto the ceramic tiled floor.
now, the camera didnt really look worse for wear and seemed to be shooting just fine so we finished (a 9 hour day) and jsut kept the production rolling.
we shot for about 2 more weeks, wrapping actors like xmas presents, and the end was in sight.
one night i was checking out some dailies and decided to throw them on the computer so i could cut a little scene together, for morale boosting purposes.
i put a tape into my deck (the first time i used the deck, the first time i needed to caputre anything from this project) and was falt out horrified.
the video was blocky and covered in digital noise. this was bad. i checked another recent tape, same deal. every tape that i had shot since the fall of the camera was useless.
this was almost the worse news of all time, considering how many actors i would have to call back, how late it was getting in the summer (impending visual season change) and mostly how much $$$ it would cost for a new camera or a repair. This was all ona budget of $7k, this would not allow me to drop 2 on a new camera. i was devestated.
so i tell the crew whats up, send the camera to cannon and find out that it is a merciful $300 for the repair (all the heds were jarred and needed to be rplaced) . i am elated further when i find that the camera can be returned to me in a matter of a couple of days given the ease of the repair and my close proximity to the NJ factory.
3 weeks go by with me calling cannon and being told that they had no status on my repair and suddenly i find that we are in the middle of september and the leaves are changing colors. my exteriors would be ruined.
finally i get word from cannon that they have found additional damage to the camera, moisture damage. i freak out and explain to the guy that this is not possible, he tells me to store my camera with a charcoal briquette.
ok.

October 2005
so i man-whore myself out for the cash to get the camera back and i start to calm down a bit. there is still no snow on the ground and i can just concentrate on the ext, shooting the ints in the winter. good, fine, grand.
i get a call at work one day and get some more good news.
the secondary male lead has failed a mandatory drug test and will be going to rehab/jail for a year.
thats right, read it again.
ironiclly 2 days after he leaves my camera comes back and is pristine.

November - December 2005
spend this time debating the use of my existance and get locked into other existensial pickles. find myself at a $27 a night motel on xmas eve, eating kung po shrip, drinking a large bottle of jim beam, watching forest gump on tbs and surronded by strings of glowing festive notted xmas lights.

January 2006
begin shooting the interiors, all is going well. it is here that i notice a pixel that is beging to die, i freak out and decide to push on.

March 2006
xlr box dies a terrible death as someone forgets to take it off the pasanger side tire of my care. it, and my dreams, are crushed once more.

June 2006
have to fire 3 actors due to total lack of respect and adherance to the schedule. mad scramble to find replacements begins. drinking resumes.

August 2006
we find another school to shoot at, but somehow fail to shoot everything that is required. this is actualy a result of some actors blowing off rehersals and failing to memorize lines that they have had in their possesion for over a year.
happy me

so thats where we be as of today.
there is SOOO much more misfortune that has happened and it is all posted at a running diary that my producer/de-facto ad has been keeping.
its all at www.trenchmouthproductions.com/blog.html
if ou vist please excuse the mess, the website is under severe construction (the entire site) even the blog has been moved to the yahoo 360 thing, thus loosing all of the pics and comments.
anyway, thats what ive got for you.

Heath McKnight August 20th, 2006 11:27 AM

Wow. I'm stunned silent. But this is stuff I've also suffered, too, and I will say this, plan the shoot and avoid the "weekends" shooting, etc. Do it all in two weeks or so.

Everyone, check out Rick Shmidt's classic, priceless book here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014...744101?ie=UTF8

And his newer one, Extreme DV:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014...744101?ie=UTF8

This is how I made my films with little difficulty, after running into so many other problems earlier in my career. I think most of our mistakes and disasters come from a good lack of planning. Learn how to schedule your shoots.

hwm

Heath McKnight August 20th, 2006 11:29 AM

Then buy this book to learn how to market the flick:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/094...744101?ie=UTF8

hwm

Jon Fairhurst August 20th, 2006 11:56 AM

Last weekend we entered the 48-hour film project in Portland. I'm the composer and my music system hard drive crashed, but we recovered. In the end, our shoot went well.

Not so for one of the other teams. They were assigned the Spy genre. For some reason, the writer decided that the main character would be a plant with ESP. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to create a story around it. After too many hours with no sleep, the writer just got more and more stuck.

Their film ended up being a documentary about a failed film. At one point the lead actor asked the writer about what was going on in the scene. The writer had no answer whatsoever. The actor had no idea what to do, but at least he kept his cool.

The best bit was after the credits. They showed two young actresses talking about how excited they were to be a part of the project, and how great they expected it to turn out. :)

The bottom line is that film has many aspects. And any failed aspect can spell doom.

Andy Graham August 20th, 2006 11:59 AM

Well Jason thats quite a story you have there! man you'll be grey before your time.That one may take some beating.

Heaths right though a two week solid shoot is the only way to get it all done, it can mean working from 9 am through to 3 0r 4 the following morning and then a few hours sleep before starting at 9am again which i did on a few occasions.I was actually finding it hard to get my camera batteries charged, i had a small caravan generator that i would crank up at any location just to charge my batteries.

Jason I do the same and throw a small scene together just to keep moral up in the cast and crew, it's amazing what a few edited scenes can do to a very tierd cast and crew there was a great big chear and everyones happy again for a short time

BTW Heath im going to a "how to market your film" seminar in the Edinburgh film festival on wednesday so i'll post a little of what i hear.But the book looks good it would go well with my guerilla film making handbook

Andy.

Joe Carney August 20th, 2006 12:33 PM

Jason, you have an entire country western album there buddy!!! Think about it. (just thought you could use some cheering up).

Mathieu Ghekiere August 20th, 2006 01:22 PM

Jason, I really feel sorry for you, and at the same moment - don't take this the bad way - it's to hilarious. You also describe it so full of dry humor.
You really should have made a making of, it could have been the new 'Lost in La Mancha'!

Has anyone, btw, seen the movie, American Movie?

Btw: Jason, keep believing in it, really. Some movie making experiences are terrible, but sometimes the best movies come out of it (Alien and Jaws, are 2 examples that come to mind right now)

Dennis Stevens August 20th, 2006 01:56 PM

I haven't had anything quite as bad as these stories...

I did have a scene where an actor delivered an incredible performance, and my unbalanced non xlr mic cables pick up static, including a radio station. That converted me to saying sometimes you have to get good equipment, and not cheap out.

Filmmaking to me follows the 5 stages of grief:

Denial about how hard this project will be
Anger about how hard this project is turning out to be
Bargaining to save the film, i.e. 'now that my actress left, maybe I'll just wear a wig and talk in falsetto'
Depression about how the final film will look
Acceptance that this is real life, and you should be proud of your accomplishments.

Heath McKnight August 20th, 2006 01:56 PM

Casablanca and The Third Man seemed destined to be "fun" movies, where the cast and director where having too much fun on set. Those movies ended up being great.

hwm

Mathieu Ghekiere August 20th, 2006 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dennis Stevens
Filmmaking to me follows the 5 stages of grief:

Denial about how hard this project will be
Anger about how hard this project is turning out to be
Bargaining to save the film, i.e. 'now that my actress left, maybe I'll just wear a wig and talk in falsetto'
Depression about how the final film will look
Acceptance that this is real life, and you should be proud of your accomplishments.

LOL, why does this sound so familiar...

Ben Scott August 21st, 2006 07:20 AM

Wow, you guys really suffer for your art... Do your loved ones just stare blankly while you try to explain why you still do it?

I can't really talk about feature shooting but after going to Hong Kong and shooting HDCAM and HDV(which was my first HD experience after years of Digi / DV) with a completely Chinese crew who did not speak a word of English (and I know about 2 words in Cantonese and the same two in Mandarin) for a week, I'm confident I can overcome all. Best crew and best shoot I've ever had, in fact.

Oh, except when I left the charity I was working for's Z1 at Hong Kong Airport.

Luckily I got it back, but not before I got an extremely stern lecture about leaving big heavy bags full of electronics in an airport terminal. 5 mins later and they were going to do a controlled explosion... :-O

Aside from that I've not really been unlucky - Just stupid... Although to be fair that was dumb too. Turned up for a studio-based links shoot for a series I was writing and producing once and I'd written scripts for completely the wrong shows.

As my celeb presenter looked on impatiently I wrote two 50min shows worth of links in 2hrs while the 20 man crew shook their heads and tutted. Can't vouch for the quality, but no-one said anything and it all went out as recorded. There's cheating and there's 'cheating'.

One of the earlier posters on here really needs to rethink working with what must be the world's unluckiest DOP. Daughter hit by a car? Relatives dying? And the rest... He might well be Gordon Willis but it sounds like he's a jinx. ;-)

Cole McDonald August 21st, 2006 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben Scott
One of the earlier posters on here really needs to rethink working with what must be the world's unluckiest DOP. Daughter hit by a car? Relatives dying? And the rest... He might well be Gordon Willis but it sounds like he's a jinx. ;-)

That was me! He's a good friend with a great eye. This project was a learning project and we had all commited to the time it was going to take to get it done. Life happens, we got the shoot done anyway. Ironically, it was a movie based loosely upon the greek story of the three fates.

K. Forman August 21st, 2006 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben Scott
I know about 2 words in Cantonese and the same two in Mandarin

Assuming the first word is "beer", what is the second word?

K. Forman August 21st, 2006 07:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben Scott
One of the earlier posters on here really needs to rethink working with what must be the world's unluckiest DOP. Daughter hit by a car? Relatives dying? And the rest... He might well be Gordon Willis but it sounds like he's a jinx. ;-)

Actually, the DP on Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ would earn the title of unluckiest. He was struck by lightning, not just one time, but twice, on two different shoots. Somebody didn't take the hint the first time ;)

Cole McDonald August 21st, 2006 08:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Assuming the first word is "beer", what is the second word?

The second word was "More".

Heath McKnight August 21st, 2006 08:40 AM

There's a running gag on some of my films and my friends' films. If the DP is getting frustrated, someone asks for an eyepatch for him or her. If the director is frustrated, everyone fears he or she will completely snap. Both are references to the movie-within-a-movie, LIVING IN OBLIVION.

heath

Ben Scott August 21st, 2006 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Actually, the DP on Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ would earn the title of unluckiest. He was struck by lightning, not just one time, but twice, on two different shoots. Somebody didn't take the hint the first time ;)

Peter Greenaway made a fascinating short film about people who have been repeatedly struck by lightning. Not sure if it's very unlucky or VERY lucky.... Depends if he can talk without a Hawkins speechbox.

Ben Scott August 21st, 2006 09:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Assuming the first word is "beer", what is the second word?

Too true. And the second word? Xie Xie.

Thank you.

For the beer, obviously. ;-)

Ben Scott August 21st, 2006 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cole McDonald
That was me! He's a good friend with a great eye. This project was a learning project and we had all commited to the time it was going to take to get it done. Life happens, we got the shoot done anyway. Ironically, it was a movie based loosely upon the greek story of the three fates.

I'm making light of it but what a terrible time he must have been having - hope everyone that could be alright eneded up alright.

However, knowing the stress and thought processes of the crew I bet approximately 30 secs after they heard about each of those incidents they were like ' Oh my God, that's so terrible. Where will we find a DOP at such short notice?'.

I had a pregnant TV presenter have an serious episode and have to be rushed to hospital the night before a voiceover session (with transmission that same night), about 6 shows into a series. I told my exec Producer she wouldn't be able to make it until the next day and what had happened and how they would have to cover the slot or repeat a previous episode and his exact words will stay with me forever..

'Well she's not gonna die is she?... If she's not there tomorrow replace her with my friend Jason'.

Unbelievable.

Worse still, she came in rather than have someone steal her show. I would have told them where to stick it, and I told her that if they replaced her I was gonna quit. When she came in I spent the day feeling a curious mixture of relief in being able to get my job done, happiness that I didn't have to quit out of principal, and like a total and utter bast'd slave driver with this pregnant woman still in her hospital clothes.

Still... The show must go on.

Ben Scott August 21st, 2006 09:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Heath McKnight
There's a running gag on some of my films and my friends' films. If the DP is getting frustrated, someone asks for an eyepatch for him or her. If the director is frustrated, everyone fears he or she will completely snap. Both are references to the movie-within-a-movie, LIVING IN OBLIVION.

heath

Love that film. Actually adheres to my 'there's never been a bad film with a dwarf in it' philosophy. Although FIRE WALK WITH ME might be the exception that proves that rule.

I've actually been able to use my fave line from that movie in an argument. When Buscemi dream-loses it and shouts at the DP - 'You pretentious Beret-wearing motherf****r!'

I was in France at the time but I thought it was funny... Note to self: Get out more...


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