Monday, May 24, 2010
Back to the show
They are well into the filming of my episode. The director meets me and says he's filming the scene as I had originally written it rather than the Kaplan/Mahon version. What's interesting here is that a director rarely goes over the heads of the producers but in this instance he did.
He also had the 1st AD talk to Mahon to keep her away from the actors and the scene itself. As the AD talks to her, she notices me but doesn't say anything. I figure I won't either. Let it go. The scene is finished and Mahon approaches the director and asks how it's going. He replies simply, "good." She leaves and he gives me a nod.
You would rarely see this on a series, I've seen it a couple of times on other shows. And while it shows the director's confidence as well as the actor's, it's also because they have spent time on the script with me or the other writers, including Rino and Jonathan who have experienced similar moments.
Believe it or not.
And my time is almost over. They are filming my first script and the second one will be filmed in September for which I probably won't be asked back since I had done all the necessary rewrites for it.
I decide to leave a week early as all the scripts are pretty much done and there's nothing left to do. Rino also is leaving at the end of the week. In 2 weeks, everyone will be gone and Jackson will be a tourist town again.
I take a day or two to say goodbye to the locals, Louise and the Greeks and even the stalker whom I meet one day on the street. He didn't seem to know who I was. I also visit the set and see the crew who worked tirelessly on this show and had some idea of the infighting between the writers and producers, but never really bothered us. Erica is there and says she'll see me at the bar and gives me a hug. Hugs are big on film crews.
I wasn't sure how I'd spend my last evening and figured it would end at the bar with the above-the-line crew as we all did for the last several months. But when I get to my hotel there's a message.
An invitation to dinner with three, count them, three of the most interesting women on the show. The two sisters, Marilyn and Lauren and Carrie, who scanned her face on paper and gave me a copy. What more could any guy ask for?
Naturally I figure someone else must have turned them down but I don't hesitate in answering YES!!
I rush through the bar, saying goodbyes. Karen the accountant says she'd miss my jokes, and we all promise to keep in touch even though most of the time it never happens. But in this case, I still do keep in touch with many of them. I see Jorn and ask him to come with me, he doesn't have to think twice.
Upon arriving at the restaurant just outside of town limits, I am in for another surprise. There, in the dim light and flickering candles, I realize there's something different about these three women,
No hiking boots and parkas and down vests.
Instead, they're all wearing light summer-type dresses, with hair done up and looking like three amazing Eliza Doolittles. The rest of the dinner is a soft blur, the five of us talk initially about the show, but then about things everybody talks about, life, hope, future. It's one of those moments you want to go on forever.
But like moments, they are soon gone as Marilyn's smiling candle-lit face dissolves into raindrops hitting against my windshield as I drive down the main street in early morning. The street is empty, I pass by the bars and cafes and shops that were part of my life for the last several months, snow had come and gone, leaves were on the trees and a few deer families took shelter under them. Resting in the cupholder is my last hot coffee from Louise, the coffee shop owner who said goodbye to me minutes ago.
I think of how small things can change a mood, a dinner, a sunny day, even rain falling. And it's then that a moment happens, one of those moments where you feel so good that even if you had to die that moment, you would still be happy. That moment came to me now.
It was not an easy show, I'd like to think that it was an anomoly, an abberation of how TV series should work. But I hear war stories from others in the following years that suggests it can happen again.
When movies began in the late 1800's, a French theater critic was known to have said of them, "now there is an art form for the masses."Up till then art was for the wealthy and the aristocracy but movies, for a few pennies, gave ordinary people a glance into life they never had before.
I like writing stories and continue to do so and feel lucky I still can. As I write this my attorney is negotiating a sale for a Christmas screenplay. It's called The Town That Forgot Christmas. It's bad luck to go this far in mentioning a script sale, but if it doesn't there'll be others.
And what was that moment I described earlier?
A black bear stood at the edge of the highway as I approached in my SUV. This was just outside the town limits. He was on two legs, sniffing and watching and at the last moment, darted off into the trees.
I stopped and reached for my camera. He stood within the tall pines for another moment and watched me. Then with a seemingly bored look, he dropped to all fours and slowly waddled off into the deep forest.
Probably thinking; "some writer, he never even considered a bear episode".
Epilogue: I still keep in contact with Karen the accountant, Jorn the Cameraman, Dan the Production Designer, Ray the locations person, and a few others. I still talk to Marilyn now and then, and Lauren just a month ago. All are doing well. Rino has passed away.
(Wed: A New movie, a new start)