We Survived!

Well, the good news is, I survived the weekend. And what a weekend it was.

If you have been following my blog in the past few days, you’ll know that my wife Shelly took last week off to take care of our 3-year-old grandson Gavin while his parents in Austin moved into a new apartment and my son Matt got ready to shoot a short movie over the weekend. In the meantime, Shelly got stomach flu, so it was an interesting week to say the least.

Callie was the highly talented actress in "My Laundromat Lifestyle," the shoot done this weekend.
Callie was the highly talented actress in “My Laundromat Lifestyle,” the shoot done this weekend.

Friday after I was done with classes, Shelly and I packed up Gavin to drive him to Austin. We had barely gotten onto the freeway when Gavin started throwing up all over himself and Shelly’s new car. So we ended up turning around and going back home. Matt needed some help in Austin with his shoot, so I cleaned up the car and drove back down to Austin, rushing to get there before 6 p.m. because he needed my financial help renting some equipment. Got there in time, got the equipment, and I spent from 9:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on set as he shot his movie. Got to bed by 4:30, got up at 9:30, drove back to Fort Worth, getting home around noon. Ate something, got a little sleep. That night, Shelly got serious ill. Early the next morning she woke me up, asking me to take her to the emergency room. We spent Sunday morning in the ER, where they finally told us that Shelly had passed a kidney stone. They told her to go home and get some rest. Since we were both scheduled to go back to work on Monday, I prepared myself to take another trip to Austin to deliver Gavin to his parents. At the last minute, Shelly decided she felt well enough to go with me. She and Gavin slept the whole way down to Austin. We stayed a couple of hours, then got back in the car and drove home last night.

I am tired to say the least. We are in the last three weeks of classes, so I have plenty to do in that respect. But it feels good to be back into a routine, even though I am tired. I love my grandson, but I will be happy when my house has only my wife and I–at least for a few weeks.

But I wanted to tell my about the shoot. I was amazed and impressed to follow the crew during the shoot this weekend. We had a skeleton crew for this indie shoot: two actors, a lights guy, a sound guy, a DP (director of photography) and the director. As executive producer, my job was to pay bills, go on errands, tell homeless people that the set was not open for business (it was a laundromat after hours), and eventually I ran the “slate” as well (I held up the board and said “This Laundromat Lifestyle, Scene 4, Take 2” and then clapped it shut. It’s good to see my education being put to good use.).

It made me realize that I didn’t want to do movie work. I am perfectly happy writing books, or editing magazines if called to do. But it also made me realize how much hard work is involved in any artistic work, be it a book, a magazine, a TV show, a radio station, or a movie. When you see all the parts to putting the final product together, you realize why movie budgets are so large and why credits roll on for so long.

And I saw a lot of similarities between the business of publishing a book or magazine and the process of making a movie. The script is only the beginning of a movie, just as the manuscript is only the beginning of a book. With a book, you have to consider cover, back cover copy, page formatting, marketing campaign and a variety of other details. The author thinks they are doing all the work, but the only time that is so is when they are self publishing.

People usually don’t stop to think about all the work involved in making a movie. But they shouldn’t have to, just as they shouldn’t have to think what you went through to write and produce your book. Their job is simply to buy the finished product and enjoy it. In a lot of ways, if they have to think about the production, it takes away from their experience.

There’s a lot of work involved in launching a book, just as there’s a lot of work involved in shooting a movie. But the reward comes when you have that final product and can share it with someone who can appreciate your creative idea.