Although our first shooting day with the full crew is not until Saturday, October 13, production on ISN’T IT ROMANTIC? technically began tonight when my director of photography and I took a trip to our movie theater location, the beautiful Warner Theater in Torrington, Connecticut, to get the opening shots. The head of maintenance at the theater graciously dressed the marquee for us to display the title of Danny Kresky’s latest film along with my fictional counterpart’s name. It was a cool but clear night and it went off without a hitch. We got terrific shots of the marquee from several angles. It will be a nice way to start the film.
I experienced a true thrill when we pulled up in front of the theater and I got a look at the marquee. Throughout pre-production, although the majority of my attention was focused on the film, it still felt abstract. It was all planning and as busy as I was, I never truly registered exactly what was happening. Tonight, as I stood behind the camera, looking at the shot on the monitor, it all sunk in. It was actually happening. I was there capturing the first ever images for my first ever film.
Kind of a surreal moment. How does one describe the feeling of finally experiencing a long time dream? I was a bit overwhelmed and I wished my still photographer had been there to record the moment, at least for me. But, no matter. The sight of that gorgeous marquee lit up against the night sky displaying an image that I had created and placed on paper is permanently burned into my mind’s eye.
This is not only the first film I am directing, it is also the first of my screenplays to be produced and it will be my film acting debut. As a writer, I got a charge out of seeing a scene in front of me that previously had only existed in my imagination. It was different. Much better than I initially saw it. The theater I envisioned when I wrote the script was just that: a theater. I ended up shooting it at a movie palace. Very nice upgrade.
Saturday will take things to the next level. We are shooting the longest and most complex scene of the film and I will have my actors and my crew to direct as well as my role to play. A challenge to be sure, but one I eagerly await. No matter what I accomplish in my filmmaking career, this first one will always be special. I want to remember this thrill, the childlike feeling of a new and exciting experience and let it carry me in all my future work.
I’m not dreaming. I’m really making a movie.