Diary of a Shoot, Day 5 — Epic Turn for the Better

Telluride 5.8

Scott shows how much love he's got for the timely arrival of fresh snow and sunshine.

Hallelujah, what a turn of fate. Awoke this morning at 6:30am to a sky chock-full of gently falling flakes and 6 inches of fresh snow on the ground and trees. What earlier this week looked like a burned out ski town in late May, now looks like mid February again. Mother nature has hit the full winter reset button and the production gods are looking after us – we’re back in biz.

I sort of chip the crusty sleep out of my eyes, and scramble up a shower. Dig for some fresh clothes out of the tornado that has apparently hit my room. Bounce into a quick production meeting. The crew is ecstatic over the weather. Anticipation is high for what we’ll be able to accomplish today, given the conditions that have been served up. 8:00am roll out to a nearby location – first order of biz is to re-shoot 2 of the 4 shots that beginning of yesterday that had crap weather originally. Feels so good to get new ones in the can with this beautiful new set of conditions. The images come out just like we’d planned them back home.

With a great start to the day under our belt already, we still manage to be first group up on Telluride Mountain as well. And the conditions up top are dreamy 10 inches of perfect snow – a blanket of pure white crystals, still snowing lightly with the occasional sunburst that bathes the scene in sparkles.

We’re working at a lighting pace now. like starving dogs who have just been thrown a bone – no wait, a sirloin steak. We’re moving people and gear and sets around the mountain at a pace…… that impresses even our most seasoned crew.  And by early afternoon, we’re entirely back on track. We’re getting it done.

Telluride 5.2

AD Jason articulates a shot angle he's like to see. Notice the snow covered trees and patchy blue in the background.

We killed a lens at some point this morning, no time to diagnose the problem on set…probably the freezing temperatures and harsh conditions we’ve already put it through this week…focus was acting goofy, so we retired it and replaced it immediately with it’s backup twin that’s only an arms length away. Not more than a 5 minute hiccup and we are back at 100% effectiveness.

Starving, we break for a short lunch at 1:30, stuffing our faces with chili and pre-made sandwiches at the lodge atop the resort. Certainly nothing fancy, but in these moments, when we’re cranking out the work, lunch is much more utilitarian in nature. Must. Get. Some. Calories. So. Can. Get. Back. To. Making. Pictures.

Telluride 5.7

It's full winter again. Heading to the top of the mountain to meet the rest of the crew for afternoon shooting segment.

After lunch, the full frontal assault on our shot list continues.  The weather begins to close out a little, but we’ve eeked everything we can from the day we were given. Thanks again to great production and our collaborators like Tom Watkinson in the Marketing Department at Telluride, we’re the last ones off the hill. First on, last off. That’s how it goes…and in my opinion, that’s what it takes. We have more good film and footage from today than is normal for two or more days. Everyone is on cloud nine with our results. We’re tired, but redeemed. A end-of-day beer at the base area, bathed in sunshine is quick celebration to the work we’ve nailed today. We replay in our heads and stories around the table the many great shots we iced today. A warm reminder for all of us crew about why we all do what we do.

The celebration and back-patting is a re-charge, but celebration is a short one. There is more undone work ahead. Two production meeting remain tonight. Alos, some more cast, production units and crew arrive…descending into our camp for some special shots we’ve got coming up in the next few days. We need to get them up to speed.

More white-boarding sessions last till 9. We are the last table seated at Honga’s and it’s Thai basil beef again for me. Dinner till 11. Scott and Erik wrangle gear and get data to the client-side DAM till midnight. The rest of the crew is still busy in the gear storage room, prepping clothes and props. I spend some time connecting with ADs Jason and Bill, and drag myself to my room, beging cranking out this here post. Literally falling asleep with my computer on my lap at this point, but motivated to get some report out to those of you are so graciously reading these words and following along. Although I’m deriving some strange sense of personal well-being from the experience of rambling like this, it’s in large part your words of encouragement that are keeping alive my motivation to write. You may sense the posts getting shorter as I get deeper into the project, but the heart is there. No love lost.

It’s early morning by the time I’m officially getting under the covers and putting my head down for the night…setting my iPhone alarm for 4:45am. Early call tomorrow. Big day ahead of us. Until then, thanks for the continued well wishes and good vibes.

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