Marginalia, Graduate Blog

The storm before the storm.

Conor O'Farrell

The view of Lake Michigan I enjoyed from our production office over the last few days.

The view of Lake Michigan I enjoyed from our production office over the last few days.

Last week I brought you through my producer’s kit. Now, as I prepare for principal photography at the eleventh hour, we get to put to the test whether I take note of my own guidelines. Do I practice what I preach, or did I just make it up to look good? Yikes.

It’s 8pm, and I’m exhausted. I finished a three-day shoot yesterday evening, then dashed down to Columbia’s Media Production Center and met with many of this fall’s incoming producers and directors, before high-tailing it back to the 1104 building for callbacks for an independent short film I’m casting, and then sauntered home to write a paper on post-colonial African filmmaking. Then today, I had back-to-back classes followed by last-minute production meetings. If ever there was a week that demonstrates how busy this program can be, this is it. I’m tired, we all are. But, like the saying goes: The show must go on.

The art department did a fantastic job recreating a 1950's suburban kitchen on the mainstage at Columbia's Media Production Center...

The art department did a fantastic job recreating a 1950's suburban kitchen on the mainstage at Columbia's Media Production Center...

In eight-and-a-half hours, the showdown with my alarm will begin. I’m a bad sleeper at the best of times, but it’s generally worse the night before Day One of principal photography. Take these last five days or so into account, and chances are I’ll probably not take too kindly to a 4:30am wake up call. To be sure I do get up, I just requested a wake up call from my First AD. So, it’s been somewhat of a last minute dash today, as always. But in terms of the kit, let’s see how I fare:

  1. First Aid Kit? Yup, fall away.
  2. Internet? Slow, but available.
  3. Printer? Beth is bringing hers.
  4. Batteries? Included.
  5. Hard drive? I’ve just written it on my hand.
  6. Flashlight? Not yet. I’ve an app!?
  7. Garbage bags? Picked up tonight.
  8. Tape? I stole grabbed some this afternoon.
  9. Red Bull? I had one today, and I’ll pick more up later.
  10. Business cards? Kept in my wallet.

It reassures me to know that I don’t just make this stuff up. Eight out of ten is decent enough, and I’ll pick up the remaining two on the way home tonight. Just so you can’t call me a liar.

With realistic white-picket fence neighborhood backdrop see through the kitchen window.

With realistic white-picket fence neighborhood backdrop see through the kitchen window.

Rest assured, it might be chaotic right now, but it’s not as bad as it may seem. I’m just being tired and overly dramatic. It’s only a two-day shoot, so I know I will rest soon. Plus, it could be much worse… My friend Rothwell also starts shooting tomorrow, and he just lost one of his cast members today. Besides, tomorrow is my birthday, and I like being on set. And, there is an even greater light than that at the end of the tunnel: One of my closest friends, John, is coming to visit the week after next. He and I have traveled quite a bit together and have many stories from music gigs and festivals over the years. I can’t overstate how much I’m looking forward to his arrival. It will keep me going through the next few days.

But for now, Zzz.

The storm before the storm.

Last week I brought you through my producer’s kit. Now, as I prepare for principal photography at the eleventh hour, we get to put to the test whether I take …

Cinema Art + Science - Creative Producing Conor O'Farrell, conor.ofarrell@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

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