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From Zero to One Hunnid

This was it; my first foray into the world of music video production. This was never my goal, but the idea of doing one was exciting nonetheless considering that I had never done one before. This was further compounded by the fact that I was very much intrigued by the music the artist, JxInk was producing. This created an exciting prospect that would play out in equally exciting and frustrating ways.

The shoot’s duration would grow to double that which was scheduled, and it would grow to be an exciting, yet tremulous affair; one from which I would learn a great deal.

Note that following takes place over four days spread over the course of several weeks.

Day One

This was it, I had spent three weeks prior preparing for it; by now I had to hire a cameraman, replace models, and improvise on location due to poor reliability of other parties. None of that mattered now though. This was shoot day, It was 9am and I was on my way to the Bar. I was picked up by a friend who had heeded my plea for help. I had a lot to carry: lighting equipment, set pieces, props etc. Given all that had gone wrong during the planning stages of the project, you think I would be concerned about the daunting prospects of failure that were bound to present themselves to me; and they most certainly would. But my mind was set on the plethora of tasks I knew would have to be carried through the day, so I figured I would worry about how to cross the bridges once I got there.

By 11am, I was at the location. Upon my arrival though I was faced with a good and bad news; the bad news was that the Bar owner was 20 minutes late. The good news was, well, so was everyone else. This is a trend that would stalk me throughout the course of the production. The cameraman was late, one of the artists would be terribly late, the extras would become next to none existent... Well, I’m sure the picture is adequately painted. The saving grace would be the models who would all show up and perform in a timely and professional manner. Well, save for one.

All of this was leading up to what should have been a disaster. Despite all the short-comings, the day would end up okay. Thanks to the hard work of those who actually showed up, and some quick thinking, I managed to make everything work. A few things had to go off script, shots had to be improvised. But in spite of that everyone on set enjoyed themselves and it was ultimately a job well done.

The lessons learned here were not immediately apparent, but they would prove important. This was day one of a Scheduled two, but we admittedly failed to get all the shots due to the impact of our shortcomings. The schedule, would quickly be thrown out the window.

Day Two

Alas, punctuality is a scarce entity indeed.

This day started off much the same way day one did; people showing up late. This day was when we were to shoot all the solo shots for JxInk, along with the shots of him meeting the actress for the first time. This was an outside shoot day, and my first foray to shooting under environmentally dependent conditions. Suffice to say, The sun rises and the sun sets.

All started off well, The Actress, Mish Tam, showed up on time, as she always did (hats off to her). Of course we were running terribly behind and were still in the progress of shooting JxInks solo stuff. Fortunately she was a great sport, and decided to assist us in any which way she could until her time to shoot had come; She was truly great to work with, makes me wish I could have paid her more.

By time we got to shooting Mish's scenes, the warmth of the sun had started to decay, and the cold seemed to take precedence over everything else. I wish I could say I sucked it up, but no, I bitched, complained and wined; It was cold. Very, very cold. We all held out though and got done what we needed to do before heading to a condo to finish up some shots.

This shoot day, was fairly straight forward, it ran late, but there were no major hiccups or points of Apprehension. We wrapped, packed and headed home with no foresight of conflict.

Unfortunately, the ‘un-eventfulness ‘ of the second day would not carry forward to the rest of the production.

Day 3.

At the request of the artists, we had to get additional footage from the Bar, scenes of them just doing solo stuff. Despite the trouble this may have caused, I agreed. This was in response to the fact that we didn’t get enough dancing shots at the bar on day one. Fortunately, The bar manager agreed to let us comeback and shoot again, be it with some hesitation. We were after all, conflicting with his scheduling.

I didn’t have a ride this time. So I trudged through the city, heavy-ass lighting equipment in toe. I lugged it on the streetcar, through the subway, onto the bus and down the street. My arms burned, my shoulder hurt and it was all glorious. Well, not really. Not at all. Nonetheless, I got there in a timely manner. But woe is me, for the trend continues, I was the only one to do so.

The Main Artist was late, but not so much so to interrupt the shoot. We paid the owner a $100 deposit and proceeded to set up the lights while we bided our time. The cameraman, would arrive much later; he had gotten lost on the way and at the time, he was not in possession of a cell phone. You think though this would be the end of it, but this is not the case.

The Featuring artist, Oche, was dismally late. Quite Ironic since it was he who had requested this re-shoot. We only had four hrs and we were down to two. So instead of wasting time we figured we would get some shots of JxInk on stage, on his own. But even after that we waited. And waited. And waited. Hell, we had a couple beers to pass the time.

We were down to a quarter hour of the scheduled time, before Oche showed up. Fortunately he was able to convince the owner through nothing less than his sincere apology to give us a bit of extra time to allow his shots to be filmed.

This however, was not the worst part of the day. Yes, the day got progressively worse...

To be Continued.

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