One of the perks of this biz, is all the really neat places I get to go, things to see, and people I meet.
I once worked on a “Hal Leonard teaches you to play Guitar like Jimi Hendrix” video. During the shoot I got to meet Jimi Hendrix’s sister, who was there as they were “re-mastering” from the original tapes. We hit it off, and while shooting one of the segments, she tells me to switch my cans (headphones) over to a different channel, when I switch over she says – “Listen to this.” – I get to listen to Jimi Hendrix straight off the original Master tapes from the 60’s.
A couple of days ago, I was shooting on a documentary with filmmaker Karen Kramer. It was a really nice experience. First off, as with other filmmakers who have been doing this for a while, she is extremely considerate of the time, and talent of the crew. We had what we needed, but not more. It might have been nice having a third person to help schlep the gear, and watch it, but with only the two of us and the interview subject, it made the shoot very intimate. A third person would probably have destroyed that intimacy, introducing a whole new dynamic into the situation. The nice thing was, that we had plenty of time for this. The shoot was planned extremely well, and still things went wrong. There was a fire on the subway, but Karen still showed up right on time. When we got to the location, it turned ot that it would be a disaster sound wise for shooting. The Restaurant manger offered his house – which worked out great. I so much prefer shooting in a beautiful old house built around the time of the civil war, than a restaurant. It also gave us a nice opportunity to pick a place to shoot, and then change our mind, because we weren’t happy with it. It was a such a break working with a calm and secure filmmaker, who knew what they wanted, knew what it would take to get it, and how much time to plan for.
So the interview went very smoothly, and I get to be a fly on the wall hearing Eric Andersen share his story. He was part of the scene – in the 60’s. That time is just a myth to me – well I was born in 1966, he lived through the time of Kennedy’s assassination, he watched and learned from Dylan, and so many others. Plus I got to hear him perform the very beautiful “Thirsty Boots”, live, and so close up. Of course I’m working, so I’m checking frame, and watching the audio levels, and not able to fully get lost in the music, but still, it is something wonderful.
Later we all get a bite to eat, and I get to listen to Karen and Eric discussing, things that are happening today, and also things that happened back then. It’s so great being part of that, being exposed to all that accumulated knowledge and experience. Traveling to foreign countries, experiencing not only different cultures, but getting to know people in their native countries, native communities. This is the gift that sometimes comes along with working in this pretty lousy business.
So we are having a bite to eat, before we shoot the “B-roll”, and we all start discussing politics, and the way the world works, generally enjoying the day – such a lovely change from the usual grind.Â This is what work ought to be, civilized, pleasant even. Then dessert comes, and we all split some Key Lime Pie – I love Key Lime Pie.
Thanks for reading.