Spent all day at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley. Shot in two locations there for the entire day. Incredibly beautiful estate and grounds.
Multiple location day, all near our homebase Santa Clarita Studios – an office location, a bike path, and an intersection. Both day and night. Lots of interesting stuff which was fun – including a stunt. Big location day tomorrow.
Shot all day on one set, April’s shop. We get to open the stage doors and look out onto the backlot street and have it play for our little city block in the background, which is pretty neat.
First day of the work week, Day 3. All day on one set and then one scene on another. Lots of fun and interesting stuff, including a scene with a baby. Had to fight off the waning moments of a weekend cold. On to Day 4.
Morning shot more work in the gym. Then spent the rest in one of the character’s loft home. Very late night because the previous day’s work went late. Friday off for the crew for Good Friday, so three day weekend to regroup for the first full shoot week of work.
Double-up day with the outgoing episode so the crew was split. Had long delays on a weird day – actor was sick, AD sprained both ankles, someone was fired on the crew (not by me or in our production team but yeah it happened). Shot in a house set for several scenes and then the grand finale with some stunts in a gym. So that was fun. Great crew and cast.
Here we go – directing two episodes of Mistresses at the same time. Let’s do this.
The title of this post is a quote from one of the all-time great baseball players from my favorite team – the late Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub. Back then, in the mid-1950s to mid-1970s when he played, doubleheaders were the norm in baseball. Nowadays, they are sort of rare, but they were common before the present era.
And on the eve of baseball’s Opening Day, a sitting US President attending a baseball game in Cuba yesterday for the first time, and me about to go shoot two episodes, I think it’s particularly relevant to quote Mr. Cub.
While some would bemoan the doubleheader – the strenuous pace of two games back-to-back in the hot summer sun – Ernie became famous for saying some variation of following: It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame … let’s play two!
I love this simple and straightforward quote. It reflects his joy, gratitude, enthusiasm and love for his chosen field – a profession that is a game, and a privilege to play. I know that feeling well.
So yeah – let’s play two. (Cryptic daily updates to come!)
Quick update here. I’m in the home stretch of prep for my two episodes of Mistresses – only two more days to go before I start shooting. It’s quite a beast doing two episodes at once. We’re shooting 104 pages over a 13 day shoot. The scripts have a lot of interesting and challenging set pieces so it’ll be fun (and a lot of work of course).
The biggest challenge in prep was finding locations in Santa Clarita that looked like neighborhoods in Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and other parts of Los Angeles. Though, truthfully, it was probably more difficult last season when they were shooting in Vancouver.
One interesting wrinkle for me – this is the first time I’ve directed an episode this early in a season. Add to that the fact that this is a new production team (producers, cinematographer, production staff) and a new studio (used to be in Culver City before moving to Canada and now back to greater LA) – and it feels like being on a brand new show. Standing sets are still being built and everyone’s trying to get into a rhythm and flow. Fortunately it’s an incredibly professional team and a good, patient group of actors – we’re all in this together!
Ending this post on a personal note.
When I enrolled at the American Film Institute, I was overwhelmed by how talented everyone else seemed to be – more so than I felt I was. How confident and how knowledgeable about filmmaking and movies. A part of me felt insecure and intimidated; most of me admired them and strove to be like them. They were the cool kids – the kids who were from other countries or knew the names of the best art directors of the 1970s or had seen every horror movie since Nosferatu.
One of those cool kids was Vasco Lucas Nunes. Vasco was originally from Portugal and was a cinematographer – tall, a crazy mass of curly hair, and a terrific filmmaker. He was charming, challenging, and creative beyond measure. His Sundance Award-winning documentary Dig! – he shot and co-produced it – is one of the best films ever made about the music industry. (Valarie and I edited Divided We Fall on that same editing system provided by my long-time collaborator and also Vasco’s classmate Matt Blute.) Vasco recently shot Sunshine Superman which aired to great acclaim on CNN several months ago. He became a sought-after cinematographer and remained a big part of our circle of friends, forged in the fires of an unforgiving film school and industry.
Vasco died suddenly in LA last week in an automobile accident. He was only 41. He’s the first one to die in the AFI class of 2003.
We stayed in touch but I hadn’t seen him in several years. Mostly, I saw his incredible work and admired his fearless spirit of adventure. He was an artist, a true artist, who sought out interesting stories and people and images and wanted to capture them around the world and weave them into tales for us to see and hear. And he was genuinely one of the most charming people I knew.
Today we had a memorial for him at AFI and one person said Vasco was always “chasing beauty.” He would sometimes have it, hold on to it for a while, but it would vanish and he would continue to chase elsewhere. That sounds right.
The consulate general of Portugal came and read a statement from the Portuguese president, praising Vasco for representing the country so well. At the end of the statement, he said – life is short; but art is eternal.
Here’s to eternity.
So that was nice.
Today, I have one show in prep (Mistresses), one show in post (Grimm) and one that’s airing (Scandal). This marks the first time that has ever happened for me. This is basically living the dream. I may not have a lot of days like this, so it’s critical that I appreciate and enjoy it while it lasts. Pretty great day.
Cue the shutter clicks!