A Wonder Is Born
#2 Nonlinear Film School - Why we need to get along
Work started at 2pm. He clocked in and moved shadow into light and light into shadow. Moved words into mouths (some words weighed more than others and he wondered why it was so). He moved faces into focus. In the naked street, he often stared at faces flipping like pages in a book. His daughter would pull on his sleeve and say, “Don’t stare!”
“Wonder is born in the looking,” he would reply. Reading faces, the untold stories they hide, excited him.
He moved steel, optical glass, plywood, plastic and miles of cable across the monastery grounds. He moved silhouettes up and down stairs. He moved ancient books. He moved ancient feelings in an out of underground tunnels. He moved an automobile from 1982 to 2023 changing its license plates. He moved stories into the forever, and he worked hard and loved every moment of working hard.
He fell asleep with this thought: What is real? What is imagined? And which of the two do I film?
Work started at 2pm again. He moved monks as if they were a part of him and he was a part of them. He moved them through the monastery and they listened to him and he listened to them. Two monks crowded around a video monitor. They watched actors convert into monks, and wondered if they could convert into actors.
He moved hours, and the hours moved him. Fifteen hours later, at 9 in the morning, he lay in bed counting blessings, and blessings counted on him to get a goodnight, a good-day, sleep.
Work started at 6pm. He looked into the future, stared at 6am on the other side of night and he knew darkness moved like sand in an hourglass. He must be careful not to break the hourglass. He moved icons into faith and transposed faith onto his kindred. Some 30-40 workers moved Creation along with him and he became small and insignificant. Liberated from the big and significant, he enjoyed his work.
He fell asleep with a smile.
Work started at 6pm again. His mind loved him so it directed feet and hands to move light stands, camera gear, a printer, cases with lenses, costumes, props and coffee. His mind watched points of view, carefully wrapped in skin, move like apparitions. The lack of sleep tugged at his eyelids, but he was not there for his eyes or even for his heart. He was there, the church bell tolling, he was there in spite of lack of sleep. He saw sound waving at him, and he was happy sound was there. He knew the names of every single crew and cast member. He even knew the names of their parents and grandparents. He knew every detail and every detail knew him.
In commitment we know ourselves and the world only need reveal to us.
He slept like a baby.
Work started at 8pm. It was the fifth day in a row he filmed and they filmed and we filmed. He slept during the day and he slept in the car on the way to wherever cars take us.
The day slept in him and the car traveled in him. He arrived and was reborn in take one, two, three... And so take after take, he gave the best of himself to those around him.
On Wednesday we finished the first five days of filming. Every single one of us worked an average of 60-70 hours. I watched all the moving pieces on set and marveled at the film being born before me. I hope the above story gave you a sense of the dynamic on a film set. The seen and the unseen working in cohorts of creation alongside us.
How will you be present the next time you are on a film set? At work? With friends and family?
Will you allow the wonder of shooting a film, the wonder of friendship and community to make and remake you?
Cinematographer Ivo Peithcev has been working in film since 1987.
Our crew has been between 30 and 40 people on the average.
Here the camera is on a slider for a moving shot over the shoulders (OTS) of the actors.
Another moving shot is accomplished when the camera is put on a steadicam. The rig is very heavy. The bigger the lens, the heavier it gets.
Dancho is one of our focus pullers. This is an extremely important crew position. Very strenuous on the eyes. If the focus goes soft, the whole image suffers and another take is needed.
The picture car is pushed by some of the crew members. I don’t remember the exact reason. I think it was because we were in a close-up. (Correction: Our script supervisor, Gabi, read the post and reminded me it was because we needed clean sound without the engine.)
We have quite a few night scenes. Here the light is directed up at the trees. It is bounced from the flag rigged above in the next photo.
The light reflects back to the forest floor.
Illuminating one of our main cast members Yanni.
A monk who lives in the monastery watches the video monitor to make sure we don’t miss any details during a church ceremony.
Over 5 days we filmed in about 20 locations. As you can imagine this requires lots of coordination: moving crew, cast and equipment.
Such a herculean effort requires all of us to get along, it demands from us to iron out our differences for the best of the production!
In the “The Flying Icon” , the first post in the Nonlinear Film School series, we discussed locations. They are really paying off!
Better quality photos by Christopher Balabanov, the other ones are screenshots from videos on my phone.
Thanks for reading and being a part of our adventure!
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