The beauty of shooting in a studio is that you can control more of the variables. You’ve got power where you want it, the weather is on a thermostat, the audio is contained…you get it. Alternatively, the big, wide outdoor world–especially in the mountains where we are for this gig–is about as far from a studio as you can get. And we’re experiencing that for our 5th day out of the past 8 days.
Yesterday, Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us… Today we planned on having none of it so we were up early, atop the mountain and we literally sat there, at the ready, for any break she gave us. For the entire day. And lo and behold, she gave us no breaks. It dumped snow all day and blew up to 50 or 60 mph for hours on end. All the while our entire crew sat inside the mountain top lodge, waiting for a break that never came.
This is not the first time this has happened in my career, or even the 20th, and it certainly won’t be the last. Through these times, I’ve learned… … that there are two primary thoughts are typically in my head. 1) this sucks, but the only thing we can do about is…2) be ready for it when the weather clears. Keep tweaking the plan, stay ready. By keeping our knees bent, ready to roll cameras when the opportunity presents itself, we’re staying sane, and doing all we can.
Once you’re in that position, and you’ve stared out the window enough, sometimes you go a little stir crazy. That was the case today. We rehearsed as much as we could. We ate junk food. We laughed. We napped. We were bored. We were hopeful. And we were disciplined as all hell. And at end of the day we still had nothing. The redeeming quality of it all was that we were there. Waiting. In a sick sort of way it felt good to stand up to Mother Nature and let her know that we were there waiting. Knocking. Half out of respect, half out of spite, half out of there’s nothing else you can do. Three halves make a whole.
And you know what? We’re doing it again tomorrow. We’ve decided with our producers that the plan is to be back on the hill at 7am when the sun rises. Waiting. We’ll take a snowcat to the summit and wait some more, until mother nature deems us worthy. Until we get what we need.
We slid off the mountain at dark. And funny enough we gathered–the whole pile of us…20 or more at this time now in the shoot…at Honga’s restaurant for what was supposed to be our “wrap party.” In the event you don’t know what a wrap party is, that’s the party that ends almost every production in our biz…where the crew gets together to celebrate a job well done. If you’re asking why we’re celebrating before we’re done, that’s a fair question….
Recall back, if you will, to the beginning of the shoot–and my first blog post in this series–where I called this out as “an 8 day shoot.” Well, here it is, day 8, and we’re not done. Yet the producers had planned tonight’s for us well in advance. So we’re finding ourselves “celebrating” before the work is complete. For good reason, the mood at the “party” is festive, but subdued. Normally, people are seriously unwinding after a week of 18 hour days like we’ve had. But tonight’s gathering is more like a Sunday dinner with family. No glorious toasts, no pictures, no hooting and hollering. It’s warm and polite, but we all know there is work to be done. A few toasts – mostly in hopes of good weather tomorrow – and just one or two rounds of drinks, and we’re all headed back to the hotel.
Most of us were originally scheduled to fly home tomorrow. But that can only happen if we finish. There’s a lot on the line. Besides all the blood, sweat, tears, and the emotion of the crew, there are thousands and thousands of dollars on the line in for the client in airline change fees, extra hotel, talent, and crew fees etc etc if we don’t finish. Suffice it to say, we’re ALL feeling hopeful that all goes well. It’s not fun watching a client spending more money than they had planned. For anybody.
So… if you’re reading this, now is the time more than ever that we could use all your weather mojo. Send whatever weather chips you’re willing to cash in on us. We need it for tomorrow. If Mother Nature gives us even the hint of a chance with the weather, we’ll nail it. You have my word.