April 9, 2014 —
I find myself back in the city in time for spring, and not just technically spring; I’m talking about actual warm weather, bare legs, iced coffees, sunglasses and smiles. It’s been so long I barely recognize it, and I still feel like I’m getting away with something nefarious when I venture out in only a sweatshirt.
It felt like this winter went on forever. For months we wrapped ourselves in thick coats as the battle between good and evil raged outside. There were multiple times when it felt like we had weathered the storm, only to have our warm dreams dashed by another polar vortex.
But wouldn’t you know—once it gets sunny, we realize that we need some snow for a reenactment (my never-ending crime documentary), and we rush to get a last-minute, three-day shoot together.
A week later I find myself with a 3 a.m. call time in a terrible Days Inn motel room in Seaside Heights, NJ trying to will myself asleep. It’s 10:30 p.m. and not going well. There’s a strange smell in the not-so-clean room and loud banter going on next door.
I lie in bed with my eyes open wide wondering who is staying at a Days Inn off-season and what they are yelling about at a time like this. (Talk about nefarious.) I realize what time it actually is, as I eventually drift off to sleep.
The alarm shatters my slumber at 2 a.m., and my brain tries to convince me I can sleep just a little while longer. Thankfully I do not fall for it.
We have closed down a few lanes on the causeway to shoot a scene where a guy in shadow pulls up in an old car and throws a sleeping bag off a bridge. It’s beautifully creepy, and by six a.m. we are shooting an old hotel, and by three p.m. we are wrapped for the day. Amazing how much you can get done if you get up in the middle of the night.
Three days later, the shoot ends in an overnight, as that same shadowy figure buries something in the forest. This time we are wrapping at 4:30 a.m., and my body is more than confused. I stay up for a few hours unwinding.
The sun rises as I am falling asleep. (This time I have no trouble.) Feeling older than the last time I was pulling overnights, it now takes me a week to recover.
After the dust settles, it’s back to the edit room with the snow footage and the good news that there seems to be an end in sight for the crime documentary I’ve been working on for the past three years.
I’m quietly hopeful as I see the irony in the fact that I’ve actually said those exact words before, and (just like the warm weather of spring), the finish line has been ripped away from me. Even the best-laid plans fall to the wayside. I suppose the movie business is as unpredictable as the weather.
I am trying to be calm about these things that are out of one’s control, trying to keep my head down and my eye on the prize, striving to enjoy the journey instead of the goal.
There are good things about the winter, too, and the reality is it’ll be back around before we know it.