The Evening Mouthful

reasoned splutterings & hasty wisdom

Archive for December 2008

Great Expectorations: Chapter V

leave a comment »

Currently
Bolt
Rescuing Penny

Welcome to Great Expectorations! This is Dave Dueck, with Chapter Five.

I’m BAAAACK!!

My last address was on November 16. It’s been a good five or six weeks since then, and I’ve quite a bit of ground to cover if I’m going to get everybody caught up on what I’ve been doing. So this could get pretty long: but believe me, I will do my best to keep the narrative novel and purposeful, and I hereby promise to do my best not to tell you what you already know, and what you may have no interest in. That should cut down pretty well on the dimensions of my paragraphs.

I’ve been home from Louisiana since December 15, and even in the fortnight since my return to Minnesota I’ve covered more ground then I usually do in a month or two. Upon arriving home, I promptly left for Duluth for some pre-Christmas snowboarding with my family. We were in Duluth for some three days, returned home, and were immediately besieged by festivity as Christmas itself arrived. All in all, it’s been a fulfilling, relaxing, and utterly cheerful Yuletide, perhaps the best I’ve ever had. But as the celebrations are not over (we’ve got New Year’s and the Dueck Winter Party to go yet), I will disregard the recent holiday events which are clamoring for description and instead illuminate my small and forgiving public regarding my recent travels: I shall provide a few snippets from my journal, which during the past month or two has mutated into a poorly-maintained Director’s Log. The entries are not eloquent, but they were written during the experience, and will thus provide a clearer picture of the process of shooting an amateur feature film.

Director’s Log, Day 3: Sunday, November 23

Today we will begin shooting immediately following the church service. The church itself is peopled with very nice people, but the sermon format remains firmly Southern and inexplicable.

***

Shooting was short and pretty hectic, mainly because of a collective lack of experience and a rapidly setting source of light. But on the whole we got some excellent footage, and had a surprisingly satisfactory shoot, especially since it was our first day.

Director’s Log, Days 4 + 5: November 24 and 25

We had a great shoot on Monday Morning with Mr. Daniel and Harrison Fredericks, but we got SEVERELY rained out that afternoon. So I just slept for most of the afternoon, and woke up feeling like the Dead. That night we also shot the second part of a night scene. Everything went very smoothly.

***

Tuesday was very weird and anxious. I met Brent Henry, a professional actor who has been in the business for a while now. It was a little hairy getting to know the man at first, but he’s a very friendly guy and he certainly knows how to ACT. Bringing him on board has helped our other actors immensely.

Tuesday, for all the anxiety and tension it brought, was incredibly productive, even though we wrapped shooting at about 11:00 PM. (Something which could become typical for night scene shoots, though I hope it won’t.)

Director’s Log, Day 6: November 26

Today we had one day scene and three night scenes scheduled, and completed the day scene. However, only two of the night scenes were completed: there was simply not enough time. Thank God for lovely weather. Harrison and I have both been dealing with homesickness.

Director’s Log, Day 8: November 28

Today was likely the most hectic day we are likely to have during the entire course of our shoot. It was the only day when we would have Philip Roth (who has JUST arrived) and Brent (who is about to leave) available simultaneously. So we shot all their scenes in the space of an afternoon and evening. Add to that the incessant rain (which cut short a shoot last night) and you have an easy recipe for frustration. Much prayer was offered for the termination of the precipitation, and God did a mighty work by stopping the rain just as we wrapped the rehearsals. The one day scene we shot was made awesome by the smoke from a burning, rancid sheep carcass, whose odor was odd but not unattractive.

Director’s Log, Day 9: November 30

Last day of November. Gosh. Sometimes time doesn’t seem to fly until it’s already gone. One more month of 2008, and then the New Year.

I’ve been in Louisiana for about 9 days now, and my emotions have understandably fluctuated. Homesickness has come and gone. Stress is an ever-present enemy, though to varying degrees. While we’re shooting, I am fine. Caught up in the magic of translating words on paper into images on screen gets my blood moving and it’s quite exciting. But in between shooting sessions, I am overcome with fatigue and anxiety. Praise God. We’ve shot most of what is arguably the longest and most complicated scene, so the hard part, production-wise, is past.

Director’s Log, Day 16: December 7

I’ve been having a dickens of a time keeping this log updated, but all I have to say at present is that, despite a day of being sick due to allergy problems, the filming of ‘The Little Red Plane’ has been going very well.

Once again I am being caught up in that purifying tidal wave of good cheer which is the Christmas Season. This time of year can never come soon enough, and it can never last too long. Exactly what it is that so attracts me to the season is rather beyond my ken, but at the same time it’s not anything surprising or unexpected. I think it’s mainly a gigantic sum of small parts, with a few larger parts thrown in for good measure.

One of those large things would be snow. Nothing pumps me up quite like a good December snowfall. Another thing is the sudden shift to classic old-world (or just old-fashioned) aesthetic. Modern, kitschy pretentious “sensibilities” are one of my few and little-discussed pet peeves, and a sudden and complete culture shift like that which happens at Christmastime is just the thing to make me feel like the world is actually a cheerful and attractive place.

Director’s Log, Day 20: December 11

It has been three weeks since I arrived in Louisiana. My misgivings, my apprehensions, my anxieties are all gone. About time, eh?

Seriously, though, I feel at home. Adapted. Conformed, I might go so far as to say. Home will be utter heaven after the stress of shooting, but a part of me will remain: not in Louisiana, but in the home of the Baehr family. They are terrific people, and I am exceedingly happy to have been a member of their boisterous troupe.

***

Today, in considerable aid of my Christmas cheer (but NOT in aid of our shooting schedule), the unthinkable happened: SNOW. And not any trifling amount: at least 4 or 5 good inches’ worth! And it is still here. It’s a queer thing to have been present for what was arguably an once-in-a-lifetime Louisiana snowfall. As invigorating as it was, though, it so impeded our scheduled shooting that Peter was sorely tempted to re-write the end of the film to accommodate the sudden presence of snow. However, the unlikely event of the snow lingering long enough to make such an ending feasible was a key factor in my successful effort to dissuade the old boy.

Director’s Log, Day 23: December 13

Today we wrapped principle photography on ‘The Little Red Plane.’ There are a few more scenes yet to shoot, but they will not involve me: I am going home on the day after tomorrow. God is good. I pray fervently for His blessing to remain on this extraordinary project.

Director’s Log, Day 24: December 14

Welcome back, sports fans! This is my final broadcast from Louisiana. It’s been 3 very hectic, busy, stressful, awesome, productive, blessed, powerful, amazing, marvelous weeks, and the hardest, biggest part of production is OVER. Tomorrow I go home to Minnesota, taking 15 tapes full of raw footage with me. Soon we begin the laborious but intensely interesting process of editing.

So there you have it: a piecemeal and somewhat lean description of my trip, but about as instructive as I can manage. Photographs can be seen at the usual venues, and production videos will be published at regular intervals during the coming months. I will be sure to keep you posted!

*****

The winter sports in Duluth were pretty fantastic, but our enthusiasm was somewhat tempered by the deep pain that resulted from learning to snowboard. It is no joke to have snot freezing on one’s moustache while feebly nursing the spot where your tailbone used to be: still less funny it is to lie down at bedtime and find yourself unable to turn over due to the novel sensation of being unable to move one’s neck muscles: indeed, I had not known how necessary the neck was for basic mobility until I learned to snowboard. Don’t get me wrong, snowboarding, once mastered, is a joyous and addicting sport: but the process of learning it causes one to severely strain muscles which were hitherto unknown and rarely used: and it pleased me over the next few days to lie on my back and watch movies when at leisure, and to abstain from any activity requiring more than a twitch of a finger to accomplish. Aside from severe soreness, the only other discomfort I encountered on the Duluth trip was a temperature so cold that using the restroom required the undoing of no less than three zippers, so ensconced was I in protective clothing.

*****

And so ends 2008. It rarely surprises me when I think of how much has happened in the space of a year. But I find myself continually amazed by how much can take place, and how much can change, and how different I can feel, in just a few weeks. It has been a recent resolution of mine to let God direct my paths, and to not plan my life according to my own dreams and desires. The result has been that, since resolving this, I have travelled to more places, met more people, and done more incredible things in a couple of months than I could have hoped to do in an average year: letting Christ guide my steps not only saves me a lot of anxious planning needless worrying, it accomplishes a lot more. And the more I see what He does in my life, the more I see my own dreams and desires being fulfilled anyways: just not in ways I would have (or could have) imagined. My life is full, my heart is content, my hands are busy, and the best part is that it’s not going to end. And for this, I praise God. I wait eagerly to see where he takes me in 2009, and I hope to see you again along the way.

Love All

David Abraham Dueck, 4th Dueck in Line for Top Dog in the Legacy

PS: Of course I must announce the winners for last chapter’s podcast music contest. Only two people have sent in guesses during the five or six weeks since my last chapter, and again they were Mikal and Rob, and this time they each tied with 14 points. If you listened to the last episode by streaming off Foopaux.com, you may have read in Chapter IV’s description that all the music used was composed by Danny Elfman, a fact which, if noticed, technically could have won an attentive listener at least a good 11 points (remember, points are awarded for naming the artist as well as the track title and album). Oh well. Maybe now everyone will pay a bit more attention? As it is, however, both boys who sent in their guesses are tied for winner, so they each receive an entry in next May’s drawing. Congrats again, m’lads!

ANSWERS to CHAPTER IV’s MUSIC CLIP CONTEST

Clip 1 – “A New Day” from The Family Man

Clip 2 – “Introduction” from Meet the Robinsons (Complete)

Clip 3 – “Doorbell” from Meet the Robinsons (Complete)

Clip 4 – “Esmerelda” from Edward Scissorhands

Clip 5 – “Mein Herring” from Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Clip 6 – “Edwardo the Barber” from Edward Scissorhands

Clip 7 – “Forbidden Zone Love Theme” from Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol. 1

Clip 8 – “Flowers” from Batman

Clip 9 – “The Wedding” from Beetlejuice

Clip 10 – “Suzie’s Theme” from Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol. 2

Clip 11 – “Main Titles” from The Family Man

Written by Dave Dueck

December 28, 2008 at 5:02 pm

Posted in journal