The first day

I walked out of Four Feathers scarred. I am still trying to work out what went wrong, and one day will write about it. But it led me to running away from saying yes to a film. So the first day of the shoot carried a great burden for me..


.. and for others. It was really important for me to claw back my own confidence, Apart from anything else I had not shot anything for 4 years. Also the stories of the problems on Four Feathers are now legend in the bussiness. It was a film about War. But one in which everyone was at war with each other. And I was the director. I took the stand, and therefore took the bullets. It was my job.
Yet it was easy to start directing again. I just fell into it. Once it started it just felt like the most natural thing to do, and I wondered why I have waited so long to get behind the camera. I have resolved to shoot at least 6 months of every year, though I doubt that I will be able to keep to the resolve.
We went at breakneck speed. More shots than people imagined. My DP, who is the most co operative gentle man I have met, got quite agressive at the and saying that it was too fast and the film would suffer if I went at that speed. I thought ‘ I was not consciously doing so, it jsut happened’. I just was very clear that I had to make the day. It would have been terrible for the moral of everyone if the first day went into a backlog. What a terrible start to the film.
And then I saw the rushes. Yes, I think there was stuff I did not get into the can. My Designer was upset that I did not get in enough of the wide shots I had promised to do, that would have exploited the textures of the set.
But will the scene work without those ? Yes it will. On the first rehearsals the scene was not working. The deeper subtext of the scene was not coming across. It was struggle to find the essense of the scene. A greater struggle than I had expected. So the visual design of the scene suffered in the face of nurturing the performances. But that is not a bad thing, provided we balance everything out later in the film..
I did notice though that I was not taking wide shots because subconsciously I was trying to avoid one of the costumes. The costumes and the set did not quite match. I think I should have taken the hat off.
Oh, well
Can’t have it all. The next day was far better. Will talk about it later,
shekhar

5 Responses to “The first day”

  1. Heather says:

    Dear Shekhar
    Wow! Thanks for a great post.
    best wishes & love, Heather

  2. Johnny says:

    “being angry or frustrated or in love is just part of the journey”. So the journey begins..
    wideshots? – well, here is one hoping for those “looking through windows and holes” shots – Elizabeth trademark!
    (..and a choir – ambient “let it all be done” segment)

  3. Sujay says:

    Good god,
    Filmmaking IS a terrifying process! I can understand how it would feel when failure in the past looms over one.

  4. yes says:

    dear shekhar!
    can you feel how encircled of love you are by all of us? everything is going exactly the way it should!
    stay connected. every second inbetween is enough.
    there are more intelligences helping you, than you think…

  5. Simona says:

    I can’t make a great comparison between you and other directors but I have worked with one on an antique commedy by Plautus, so I have an idea of this stuff. Most of the directors, as far as I know, think very highly of themselves and would never confess to any hesitation, uncertainty, uneasiness. You are different and the existence of this web-site proves it. That’s why your films are so different too. You focus on the spiritual experiences of the characters – what do they feel , why do they feel it, what are they going or not going to do about it, how do their feelings, thoughts and actions effect on other people and on the whole situation. You answer to many of the questions but I think that you put even more questions which you leave unanswered. You leave them to the audience, which is great in my opinion. But that’s why the common audience member, who goes to the cinema just because the film he goes to see is said to be a blockbuster, can’t quite figure out what you are saying in your films. And I think this is the reason why “Elizabeth” got just one Oscar – many people don’t feel comfortable watching a film which puts questions and doesn’t answer them. When exploring a character, even a film character, one inevitably explores one’s own person which is always exciting and interesting but deeply frightening as well.
    So, I think it requires great courage to confess one’s doubts and fears. This is not a weakness, on the contrary, it is strenght. And you do it to strangers – we all communicate with you but you actually don’t know us, as well as we don’t actually know you, which requires even greater strenght. That’s why those people, who are not affraid to think, really like you and respect you, because you are not affraid to be sincere. This is revieled in your films, of course, and when one is attracted by your vision, it is forever.
    Cheers,
    Simona

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