I have spoken and written about the golden moments of an author before. These are the twinkling little tiny gems that happen amidst the angst and insecurity that creates fiction and comprises most of the life of a writer.
Most of the time, I’m a writer. Sometimes, I get to be an author.
I was privileged to enjoy an extended golden moment two weeks ago, when I was invited to be on the set of the film production as they shot the movie of my book, Candyland.
Rusty Nixon, the screenwriter/director and I have talked about this for almost ten years, and it is finally a reality. He wrote an excellent screenplay. Much of this story takes place within the characters’ heads, so he had to craft original scenes that dramatized that internal action. He did a stellar job.
I arrived in Vancouver (and was a guest of the gracious Judy and Ken Nixon) and went to the set that had been constructed inside a vast warehouse space. A complete apartment had been built inside the warehouse, complete with “wild” walls—walls that could be moved to accommodate the camera.
The crew of about thirty went about their business as complete professionals, from Jan Wolff, the Director of Photography, to Malin Ottosson, the Assistant Director, to the hair and makeup people, to the wardrobe people, grips, gaffers, set decoration, sound, lighting, and craft services (caterers). And, of course, Marena Dix, Blaine Anderson, and Marc Petey the producers, busy all the time making it happen, fixing glitches, and putting out fires. The stars, James Clayton and Chelah Horsdal, total professionals, rehearsed tirelessly in that cold warehouse, and then got out of their down coats, undressed, and made movie magic.
For the most part, I watched the actual filming from a tent outside the set on a monitor with the others who were not required to crowd those doing the filming, and was amazed, take after take, as actors spoke the lines that I wrote, and I believed them.
There were nesting owls in the warehouse, and every day I got a glimpse of one or the other. Pueo. My ’aumakua. Magic.
Nobody on the set initially knew that I was the author of the original material, and slowly, as word got around, those tiny golden moments happened over and over again for the three days I was on the set.
It has been said that the most exciting day in the life of a writer is the first day on the movie set when a book is being filmed, and the most boring day in the life of a writer is the second day on the set. I did not find that to be the case. In fact, the second unit shoots in April, and I hope to be there, at least for part of it, because it is amazing beyond belief. Yes, there’s a lot of down time, but there is always something interesting to do, someone interesting to talk to. While the actors are working, the makeup, wardrobe and other people are not, and when the actors are relaxing between takes, the other people zoom into action. There is always something going on.
It was my job to keep my mouth shut and stay out of the way (I promised to be an adult and behave myself—this is not my book after all, it is Rusty’s movie), but I certainly took it all in.
Those golden moments. I tell ya, they make all the angst and the insecurity (financial, social, mental and all the rest) worthwhile.
(This post was simultaneously posted in the Shadow Spinners blog