- Cut! That’s a wrap, people.
Every single person on set relaxed their muscles. The shooting had been going on for three months, and they were simply exhausted. Besides, being in such a fantastic place was too good and perfect to be there only working. It was a large forest, almost like the ones in fairy tales, with perfect pine trees and rocks of all forms and shapes.
The shooting had been going on among some of these trees, in an area where they grew a little bit more separated from each other than in the rest of the forest. The trailers and camp in general was located not very far, around a large lake that was almost perfectly round. The sound of birds and other animals came from the farthest places; it was as if you could hear forever.
The lead actress, a beautiful young woman by the name of Samantha Hart, was the first one to return to her trailer. She was accompanied by the costumer designer, some makeup people and her personal assistant. She had to remove every single thing belonging to the movie in order to be able to rest in peace for the first time in several days. It wasn’t strange that all actors were wearing heavy makeup to conceal the traces of their lack of sleeping time.
Otto Fröm was the name of the director, a big man, tall and fat with a beard that covered half his face. Although he was a very nice person as a friend and when the cameras were not working, he was ruthless when making a film. He had a vision for every single thing, for every single frame of the movie, and he wasn’t going to compromise that for anything in the world. He just wouldn’t.
He left too for his trailer, to check the footage of the day with his two assistants and the director of the second unit that had arrived that very morning. He had been in charge of shooting some scenes very far, by the coast. They went into the trailer and kept working. For Fröm there was no resting or peace until he finished his movie. He wasn’t interested in what the production or distribution companies said. He always sent one of his assistants to speak on his behalf and his answer to everything was “When the movie’s done”.
Samantha had already taken everything from her: the beautiful jewels, the amazing costume and even the tons of makeup that made her look beautiful. Not that she wasn’t beautiful on her own right but she was human and she had many flaws. As a matter of fact, she spent several minutes in front of the mirror, looking at herself. She particularly hated the freckles that seemed to occupy most of her face. She would have loved to remove them but that wasn’t possible so she had learned how to conceal them with makeup.
When every single person had left her, she lay down for a while in her bed and stared at the ceiling of that tiny space. Another movie had passed by and now she was technically unemployed again. Well, only for a couple of weeks until she had to travel to Peru and begin the production of a new film, a historical depiction of the Inca Empire. She got up and looked herself in the mirror: she would have to dye her hair and let it grow longer. Maybe they would force her to use contact lenses because she had never heard of Incas having blue eyes.
In the woods, however, people were still working. They were the gaffers and electricians that had to pick it all up, every cable, light and accessory used in the production of the film. Noah was one of them, a man aged thirty-five, very strong although not very tall. He had been working in the business for the last ten years and knew every trick and technique to help the director of photography to do his job.
That man had already left following the director, who Noah thought was too obsessed with perfection. In his experience, he knew some things have better results if they just happen or if they are improvised. As he gathered several lights boxes, he realized this Fröm guy had not let any of the actors improvise the scenes. This was very particular as most of the action scenes Noah had been in, the actors had had the necessity to improvise because they felt fear of the situation, even if they knew it wasn’t actually threatening.
In his trailer, Fröm consulted every single detail of the scenes done that very day. Although he had made the actors repeat the last scene at least ten times, and it was a very long scene, he felt the ones that had been done lacked something. He asked the director of photography but him, being a rather older gentleman, thought it was all perfect and that postproduction may help him have a more shocking scene.
But Fröm, who was a purist, didn’t really like all the beautiful things promised by the visual effects people. If he could, he would avoid them at all costs but the production company had already paid them to be on the lookout once Fröm delivered his rushes to them. He asked his assistants if he could shoot the scene again but they told him that most of the materials used had already being removed from the forest and that it would be very costly to put them up again for one scene.
The crew organized a small gathering that night, on the beach of the circular lake, in order to celebrate the end of the shooting. The director was absent and the lead actress appeared only very late at night, when most of the people had already gone to bed. They had no way of drinking alcohol so the party was all about eating the food they hadn’t eaten for the last few days, as well as several bottles of water and soft drinks. The producer that was present didn’t object and actually offered to put on some music from her trailer, were she had a computer with good speakers.
Of course, the amount of noise that could be done was not very high. Amongst them was a man from the government that had to ensure the preservation of the site during the shooting. He agreed to the celebration but made them promise that the music won’t be very loud and that they would finish it all by midnight. That wasn’t an impediment to have fun for a few hours, eat a lot and celebrate the end of another day of work.
Seeing she had arrived to late to the party, Samantha sat down with the makeup people and started chatting amicably with them. She felt closer to them than anyone else on set as she spent a lot of time in their quarters. Same with the costume designer and her assistants but that woman was always so busy that she didn’t seem to have fun doing her work nor realizing that she could relax once in a while.
They spoke about their families and the beauty of the place. The lake looked now like a large tar pit, in the blackness of the night. Eventually they all went to their respective “dormitories” and had the best night of sleep for weeks.
The following day, a helicopter arrived to start transporting equipment back to the nearest city but the director surprised them by announcing that no one was leaving until they had done the last scene one more time. Every single person was annoyed and most workers refused, threatening to get their unions involved in the matter. But the man had received an authorization from the production company that made them stay another day.
Setting up everything took four hours and the proper shooting of the last scene last almost that same amount of time. But this time, one the director had yelled “It’s a wrap now, for good”, they start dismantling everything so fast that in an hour every single prop and accessory was put away and on the helicopter.
Samantha left with Fröm on the first helicopter and Noah had to wait almost until dusk to be able to leave. When in the air he looked one last time to the forest and the lake and smiled. It was always fun to enjoy work, even if he had no rest for months or his boss was a jerk. He loved it all.