It was 2007 when last I had the pleasure of working with my brother Jae in the production of a short film (When Art Recreates Life). While every year I assist with the Almost Famous Film Festival, and usually have opportunity to work with Jae on a shoot or two for BallBoy Productions, to work with him on set is a different matter.
Jae’s business partner and A3F Board member Jason Francois wrote and directed “34”, a magical, moving story about a man who struggles against time and life itself to revisit crucial points in his life. In just twelve minutes 34 is engaging in a surprising way, causing both me and Jae to wipe tears from our eyes while watching the first edit. That says a great deal about Jason’s story, the acting, and Jae’s editing. No surprises and yet it hit us just the same.
I love the process of film making. I find the overwhelming detail required to perfectly reproduce what we do a thousand times a day a paradox of tremendous ramification.
Acting and film making are breathing meditations, engagements of self- and other-awareness not by just one person, alone, but by a collection of individuals, each of which who contributes their own expertise. Recreated moment to moment, actors, directors, and support staff hyper-focus on a segment of a greater story when the Directors says–
“Quiet on the set.” Motion is replaced with still, the last rustles fade. Support crew walking halt mid-stride, freezing for a few seconds to a minute or more until the shot is complete. It’s like that game we played as kids, to see who would fall over when someone yelled, “Freeze!”
“Camera rolling.” Not a sound is heard. The entire world collapses to a single point of focus. Nothing else matters anymore. No cell phone calls, no text messaging, no email or Facebook posts. Be there, in the moment, present for the duration of the take. It’s relaxing, to know that nothing, save an airplane overhead or car alarm off-set will disrupt this moment. I usually close my eyes, to just listen, focused on the muscles in my arms and hands to be certain the light or microphone I hold does not waver.
“Action.” The set comes to life. Will this be the one? The perfect take in which the director nods, smiles, and everyone claps knowing it was life recreated in snapshot perfection?
Whispers of a father who fears he has failed to express his love for his daughter. Horrific, painful engagement as the ultimate trust is destroyed in one selfish act. Tears of reconciliation reflect set lighting under a desert night sky. Frustration amplified as time is running out to obtain the highest level of connection and forgiveness before it is too late, before opportunity to visit 34 is gone.
Thank you Jae and Jason for inviting me to participate in the expression of your waking dream. Eager to see the final result.
For more information, visit www.ballboy.net/34/