Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CITY ISLAND: MOVIE CRAZY

movieset

Sorry for the unexpected hiatus--I returned home to LA after sixteen weeks in New York this past weekend and found myself far more exhausted than I expected to be. The past four months of filmmaking have been essentially riding a wild bull--starting with our prep period in late May/early June, our shoot beginning a scant five weeks later in mid July, and jumping right into the editing after our pre Labor Day weekend wrap. We've screened the movie a few times now for invited guests to get a feeling of how it plays with audiences. It's quite amazing (and sobering) what you learn from sitting in a room watching your movie with a group...somehow things that you thought were perfectly timed are horrifically slow, and things that long ago you gave up on as hopeless seem to work wonderfully well. Robert Altman was a big believer in screening cuts of his films for invited audiences--rather than ask for specific comments, however, he would simply tell his guests: "Don't worry about telling me anything special. You watch the movie, I'll watch you..."

Below are two clips, both of which show-in their own ways--how completely absurd making a film truly is. The first is a simple, beautiful shot of a bus pulling out of a terminal and crossing the George Washington Bridge. Fairly straight forward sounding, right? I've said it before and I'll say it again. "NOTHING IN FILMMAKING IS SIMPLE!" Just getting a bus to use was a major problem--the New Jersey Transit busses were, for some odd reason, off limits to us. An independent bus line was finally found who would play ball with us--but we needed TWO busses and this somehow was a problem. (Why did we need two? Who knows? In movies you always need two of everything. So why should busses be any different?) Even shooting this shot was filled with drama--the Port Authority gave us a very short window in which to make the shot, maybe ninety minutes or so to get our equipment and two busses upstairs and ready to go. By the way, once you get on the George Washington Bridge, you're New Jersey bound, so kiss that bus (and a second take) goodbye. Come to think of it, that's why we had two busses--to send the second one out for a safety take once we'd lost the first one to the wilds of Jersey.

The second clip is of...a movie set. Our movie played the role of another movie--no spoilers so I can't tell you how it fits into the story. But we used our own crew to play the part of...a movie crew. The Assistant Director who tells Andy Garcia tht they need another take is, in fact, me. The guy standing around at the end (playing the second A.D. is, in fact our first AD, Eric Henriquez. The general air of confusion and hysteria captured in this scene is all to accurate. But as Sidney Lumet says in his book "Making Movies", "We really do know what we're doing...it only looks like we don't."





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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's so exciting to hear you've gotten so far on the movie! I'm jealous of those who are getting the sneak peek :)

I knew I recognize you in that clip. Pretty cool. At firt I didn't know if I was watching a clip from the movie or a clip about the movie.

And speaking of recognizing, isn't the "eyelash" woman, Steven Strait's wife Lynn Collins?

Anonymous said...

Check her eyelash ..ahhhh I love it
and you with the head set on you all
were fantastic....You all made my
day....check her eyelash
I think that we all are a bunch of
hams having fun .movies how did it all start.....I cant stop smilling
ciao

Raymond De Felitta said...

Yes, good eye! It is Lynn Collins. She did it for fun and she invented the "eyelash" joke on the set...

Anonymous said...

She did it for fun? Neat! How does that come about?

Anonymous said...

I always wonder what it would be like when there is a movie set inside a movie. It is very practical to use the actual crew to take part. So, this movie has been screened a few times. I wonder who were those lucky ones that get invited. Can you tell us how long is the movie, Raymond? Have you decided yet?

Raymond De Felitta said...

One hour, forty five minutes is the time. Less and you have Juno (95 minutes but without sub-plot lines). In this time category you're with "Moonstruck" and "Little Miss Sunshine" (both 105/106 minutes). But basically the truth is: if a movie is fascinating and huge and rich and well accomplished, any running time is okay. What I keep trying to tell my producers is: if it's long but interesting, it's okay. If it's short and dull, cut it out. The problem isn't length--it's INTEREST. And I'm a very serious self-censor about this stuff.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm very interested :) Personally, if a movie is good, it can be Lord of the Rings length and keep me glued to the screen. So what's left for you to do now? I'm glad you keep us updated. I really miss when you were filming and I could get updates on my favorite actors on a daily basis, but I guess a movie can't film forever can it? There is still so much I'd like to know, so I'm grateful you are still filling us in about the movie.

Anonymous said...

I was an extra on "Moonstruck"
Did not realize how good it was
until the second time that I
saw it..A very well done film.
What a great cast also at the airport
scene you can see me starring into the camera...(only joking) ciao

Anonymous said...

Thanks Raymond for answering my question. So 105 minutes for this movie, not too long and not too short. Just right. Who has the finally say on how long a movie should be? The director or the producers? Andy is also one of the producers, can he make any decision on this movie?

Jan McLaughlin said...

Congratulations on reaching another turn on the racetrack!

Anonymous said...

jan in race horse jargon this would
be called he is at the 3/4 pole
and coming on strongggggg

Anonymous said...

Will this movie be in all theaters?

Anonymous said...

will this movie be in all theaters?