Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What I learned on the film set

I took some film jobs this summer.

As part of the self-discovery over the last year with the life coach, my love for film as a career has been reignited. So now I'm pursuing it in earnest even as I continue to edit books freelance and write my own stuff.

Interestingly, and great timing for me, there's a growing film industry here in Massachusetts. Something to do with tax laws and the construction of a film studio on the South Shore. Whatever the reason, it gives me the opportunity to get some film credit before making my dreamed of move back to Los Angeles.

So, I worked on several shorts and one feature film this summer. The job I had on the set is known as "script supervisor." I even got an IMDb credit for it! This position works closely with the script and the director, ensuring continuity between takes and that every wish of the director gets recorded. While it's not a high level position, it does place you right in the thick of things every moment of filming. I loved it!

And, like any intense new experience, this wasn't without its spiritual lessons. You know it's mostly a young, young group of people making all these films. The crews on the sets I worked were mostly college students. At first, I wasn't sure if I could keep up with them. The days are long—eighteen hours sometimes—and you're never sure when the next meal will be—or what it will be. The location changes every day as well. There's no regularity or predictability at all—you really can't get used to things and settle in.

At one point, after having to lug all my own gear around for a couple days, I pulled a muscle in my shoulder. My first thoughts were that maybe I needed to admit that I was too old for this job, that it was too physically rigorous, etc. When I got home that night, I decided instead to fight those ideas. I was doing what I loved. I was making a significant contribution, because my perspective and calm in the face of wacky filming situations was helping everyone. I could see my management skills and organizational ability were raising the bar in a lot of ways. These things were valuable and showed dexterity and vigor. I was mentally alert and engaged every second of those eighteen-hour days.

On the other hand, the kids on the set were popping caffeine gum and chugging Red Bull, and still showing signs of intense exhaustion. I would hide myself away somewhere for a twenty-minute nap in the afternoon—sometimes right on the set of a bedroom!—and be refreshed and ready to go. I was defying any limitations of age in many ways.

So, there was no reason my shoulder had to be subject to any limiting law. I had all the energy and flexibility and strength needed, because I was there out of love. There could be no ill effects from my participation on any level. My being there was a blessing to cast, crew, and production staff, and to myself. I was learning a ton about filming, which was my goal, so I had the active curiosity of youth coupled with the processing expertise of experience. Really, I only had assets. There were no frailties or liabilities.

Well, I jumped back in the next day and kept on. The shoulder twinged now and then, but I told it to pipe down. I made it through that three-week shoot at the top of my game. I'm eager to do it again when the opportunity presents itself.

Lately I had occasion to answer the question, "How is Mary Baker Eddy a role model for you?" And it occurred to me that she starting writing Science and Health at the same age as I am now. Life over? Not a chance! It's just starting!

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or submit a question.
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At 11/21/2008 10:31:00 PM, Blogger Kate said...

we're in our prime...always!!!

love you...I know your path is strewn with celebratory flowers!!!

hugs and kisses and so much more...Kate

At 12/02/2008 11:03:00 PM, Blogger Debs said...

Great post Laura...Pursing your dreams is a wonderful feeling heh??? Very freeing and exciting!!! Now don't go moving back to LA LA land so soon...:) hehehe

At 12/13/2008 10:37:00 PM, Anonymous Debra W said...

I am so happy to read this post! Probably because somewhere back there in my mind is a hope and a desire that is all covered up and dusty but exists nevertheless to do something -- something unconventional and fun....and it sounds like you have found something like that to do.

Now to find a way to do it while still raising kids....still working on that one.

Love you....hugs!


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