18 November, 2009

The Right Place at the Right Time

Now that my body has started to recover a bit, I can finally write about the amazing experience I had last night. (I know...this sounds incredibly vague and can be twisted in so many ways...but, just keep reading.)

To start off, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and so that meant a big deal for those in the Czech Republic. It reminded me a bit of the 4th of July back home. People gather in the streets, there are food stands and festivals and public transportation has been rerouted. It was wonderful. I'm very excited that I got to experience this great event, just as I got to experience the Freedom Festival in Berlin. It's been a month of history and I'm loving it!

So, with news of the festival, I know what you are probably thinking. "She went to some big party" or something possibly along those lines. But, that's not the case at all. What I got to do was work on a an actual movie set for a feature length film! This was the amazing experience that I had.

I knew it was going to happen. The surprise wasn't in the fact that I got to work on the movie. When I first arrived to the Czech Republic and Kim picked us up at the airport, she mentioned that Gary Griffin, an AU professor, would be coming in November and he would be working on a feature length movie about the Velvet Revolution and that he would probably be recruiting us to help. Ok...fine. So, when Gary Griffin did arrive, we were asked to help out if we wanted. It was entirely up to us. So, the day of the shoot I decided why not. I didn't have class until the next evening and besides, I could always leave whenever. I didn't have to stay the whole time. I was just an extra set of hands. They would be fine without me.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

What started out as an "extra set of hands" mentality, soon became a "I'm actually important" mentality once given jobs. My night started out rather slow. I got to sit in the nice warm room and watch all of the equipment, while some of the others (Shayna, Steph, Liza, Dave and Liza's boyfriend, Winston) all went outside to work on the opening scene. Kim said that this job was just as important as there had been some robberies in the past. (She was there because Gary Griffin recruited her to be an actor playing an actor at the National Theatre, which meant a really amusing costume for Kim as well as some of the other FAMU professors.)

About an hour later, they returned and I was handed the slate as Steph didn't want to go back outside again.

Well, once I got out there, I wasn't sure what to expect. Especially because I had never really learned to slate things before...in fact, I had never really been on a feature film shoot before (except for the one time I was an extra...doesn't really count though). But, as I was told several times last night, "You have to start somewhere" and this was my somewhere. One minute I was the girl holding the slate who never very little about how to actually use it...the next I was running in between actors, listening for cues and making notes in the camera log. It seemed as if I had always known how a slate worked. You learn a lot from hands-on experience that's for sure.

The night went rather quickly once I stopped watching the time and soon it was 1:00am on the 18th of November and we were taking a lunch break, where I had some very delicious beef goulash soup. I didn't even care that it was 1am and I was eating something that heavy. It was cold out there and soup was warm and delicious. During the break, Shayna and I discussed leaving and heading for home. However, it was then that I realized that no one else was the slate. That was my job and I couldn't just abandon it. So, I held out...we held out...all of us stayed until just about the end of the entire shoot. Liza and Winston left a bit earlier than Dave, Shayna and myself, but we all hung in there. We completed a 14 hour day of shooting. (We arrived for assignments at 3pm on the 17th and finished at 5am on the 18th.)

I finally got home at 5:30am on the 18th of November after saying "screw waiting for the tram" and hailing a taxi (we did pay a bit more than necessary for the taxi, I think, but at 5:30am...I wasn't arguing). When I got back to my room, I was so excited to see my bed. I was cold and tired, but I don't think I would have done it any differently.

Even now, I'm still a little bit in awe. It's true what they say about being in the right place at the right time. I just happen to choose to study in Prague for the fall of 2009 and that's the same year that an AU professor is shooting a feature length movie. It's just one of those things that keeps making this trip worth it!

So, with this movie shoot "over" (it's only over for me...they are still working on the rest of the movie), Kris and I are gearing up for Saturday when we begin the shooting of our own movie. You'll hear more about that as the week continues. So, don't touch that mouse!

Also-side note- Shayna managed to take some pictures when were out shooting, so I will get them from her to post here in the next entry...my camera battery was once again dead...I need to work on making sure that doesn't happen too often.


  1. Becky I have the pictures for you I'll send them your way asap!

  2. Cool. Glad to hear you had a good time.