The day we filmed 'Good Morning' may go down as the single hardest day of work in my lustrous 21 years in the workforce. For those of you that have not yet had the opportunity to work with filmmaker Dave Fairman, consider yourself lucky. The amount of energy and devotion he demands of his actors is borderline sociopathic. At least he didn't James Cameron me and put me on a year-long diet like Iron Jim did to Linda Hamilton for Terminator 2.
Our day of filming started innocently enough, with Dave ordering me to prepare the set by putting together the props. "Put the batteries in this floor piano," barked Dave. "When you're done with that, put green poster board in these frames." No sooner had I completed those tasks when he said, in his best David Fincher voice, "Well, are you going to hang them on the walls, or what?!" I tucked my tail and did as I was told.
My next task would've made Lebron James faint. I had spent every night for the past thirty-odd years training for this very moment. Though the conditions were volatile, given the loathsome nature of Dave the director, I had to persevere and push through. I laid down, closed my eyes and waited for the sound of Assistant Director Paul's slate. Dave's authoritative "Action!" soon followed.
I spent the next, what had to be 14 hours lying down, dozing in and out of sleep. Usually when I work on a Light in the Attic Films project, I'm holding a boom mic, setting up lights, or pretending I can act. But this was a completely new level of exhaustion. Through the haze I couldn't stop thinking, "Am I doing it right? What's my motivation? Will he hire me again? When do we get a break?"
Directors like Dave just don't appreciate the nuance and attention to detail that go into a performance like that.
As I drove home after the shoot, beaten down and exhausted, I reflected on my job well done. But, was it all worth it? My back was killing me and I doubted I would get a wink of sleep that night. "Why do I do it?" I wondered. "Why do I put up with people and conditions like that?"
Because at the end of the day, I'm a storyteller. I have these stories to share, stories I feel compelled to share. They're stories of sleeping and waking up. They're the kind of stories I want my kids to see and strive to live up to.
Eat your hear out Rip Van Winkle.