My Life as a – wait, what day is this?

When you sit down in a theater with your $20 popcorn and your cup of 32 ounce soda (a cup they won’t let you pee into, might I add), you know you’re ready for an experience. You’ll see a film and you know there will be some special effects, some funny dialogue, some decent acting. But do you really know what’s going on and how all of that good stuff got there?

I thought I did.

Really.

I’ve been a horror movie fan since the Saturday afternoon Thriller Double Features on WXON TV20. I’ve seen guys in suits, prosthetic heads, wire work, green screen effects (especially the bad one). That I can still be impressed, both by the brilliance and the misfires , says a lot about the heart of the industry and the drive to make movies.

The last six months have been an eye-opening education on the drama behind the drama on screen, and I’ll admit, I got most of my prior information from tv and movies. What do you mean I don’t just sit in a chair and yell into a funnel? What work?

Dang, I was looking forward to those pants.
Dang, I was looking forward to those pants.

I have my actors, my crew, my producer. I have my meetings, my rehearsal footage, my rewrites. Everything is run by me and it’s almost like I’m a responsible member of this crew. I don’t know what I was expecting when I was tapped to direct this film, because there is no Directing Your First Film For Dummies, but I can’t say I’m unhappy with the hands-on experience. In fact, I’m thrilled by it. I’ve helped create pitch packages, had calls on wardrobe, discussed effects, scouted locations. Things are humming along in Austin in preparation of the shoot in New Orleans, but I’m involved as I can be here in Michigan.

There are 27 days before we begin filming, and every day I feel the sharp little teeth of panic chew away at the edges of this bubble of serenity I have, bringing the distance between here and New Orleans a little closer. Every day, 1,100 miles seems a little closer and I can practically feel those warm balmy days on my neck, I can feel the exhaustion of long days, the giddy delirium of short sleep, shorter tempers, unending resets. I feel like I’m simultaneously creeping towards June and rushing towards it like the swing of an axe.

Before I know it, I’ll be stepping of a train in New Orleans, checking into my room, meeting with my crew, filming, drinking, filming, wrapping, checking out, motoring back towards Royal Oak, and this phase of the experience will be over. Almost a year’s work of work and effort will move into post-production, at both a snail’s crawl and the blink of an eye. and I’ll be back in front of my computer, still trying to process the fact that it’s happening at all.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about this, but I think I’m welcoming it.