declaims, "Nellies is killing us," steps in front of the camera
and the first take of Cherry begins.
Call was at 6:30 AM, and since then the actors and directors have blocked the scene,
the gaffers (with Phil) have fine-tuned the lights, the
grips have set up scaffolding in the streets, and makeup and hair and wardrobe have done
their bits to get the actors into character.
Oh, and props has made trays of muffins and pots of coffee that look good enough to
eat, though in fact we have to go around the corner to the craft services table, a
groaning board of its own, if we want coffee and juice and cereal and vitamins C and A and
E and dried fruit and fresh fruit and reduced fat peanut butter. You get the picture. The
muffins and coffee here are props for the movie.
The first scene of the first day of shooting happens to be Scene 17, which we watched . And the
first shot of Scene 17 is the reverse master, picking up Leila as she passes by the table
at which Darcy and Dottie are doing the tarot.
Back during shotlisting, looking into the spare white model of the muffin shop, it
seemed as if there was plenty of room in the shop. But what the tech scout hinted at, and
the lighting prerig last week confirmed, is that Leila's muffin shop is not a big space
for a full film crew.
In the entry area of the shop, behind big white scrims and tucked among cleared tables
and chairs and the video assist cart and a couple of banquettes, are the various
departments working the shoot.
And yet everybody makes do and seems to do well. Makeup and hair are moved from the
front of the counter to the back to accommodate the sound boom, and onlookers who are only
peripherally involved are given the boot into the street. But if there are chairs to be
climbed over or if ones view is blocked, well, that will have to be okay. The tight
quarters do encourage a certain amount of friendliness.
"Settle down," Elizabeth
calls out more than once. "No talking." Even the slightest bit of idle
chatter resounds, and this muffin shop is a place of business.
"Quiet please, were rehearsing," she calls and the room goes very
On "Action!" Shalom launches into the scene, and Leila moves easily from
coffee pot to table to stove to display case and back to the table. I dont have my
script with me, and dont know if, when she spells out the letters,
"O-B-G-N-Y," it is scripted, an improvisation or a mistake, but it is funny.
On the next rehearsal she spells it right, that is she spells it "O-B-G-Y-N,"
which isnt funny but also isnt distracting. It is a minor point, and it
doesnt seem anyone is paying attention to it. The discussion is about other things,
details about blocking and pace, which help camera stay in focus and on Leilas
motion around the room.
And then Elizabeth calls out, "Last looks, pictures up," and Patrick
calls out, "Were going to picture," and everyone scrambles. And after the
last bit of hair is adjusted and any lint removed from Shalom's costume and theyre
all done and clear and the final "Quiet please" is heard, the slate comes out
and a welcome sound is heard: "Apple 1 Scene 17 Take 1" and then a resounding clap.
There are no obvious mistakes in the first take, but it isnt quite as energetic
as the last rehearsal. And to my ear the line about the OB/GYN is funnier when she
misspells it, which she doesnt do on this take.
It turns out Jon thinks so, too. He asks Shalom from
this point forward to misspell, and he nails the reason why its funnier: It is her
pause, as if shes trying to figure out how to spell it correctly, not because she's
dumb but because shes na´ve. It is discordant and yet keeps her in character.
"When she fishes for it and gets it wrong," he says, "thats
Thats Shalom as Leila being funny.
They do two more takes and each has its high points. There are some inconsistencies in
the way the scene is replayed, but Jenna, the continuity person, says they will not
present any problems.
"Checking the gate," the camera assistant calls out. I can't see it, but I
know that the camera is being opened and the gate, a finely-crafted track through which
the film is transported past the lens, is being inspected. The danger is that a piece of
hair or other detritus got caught in the gate. If something is found there it is
assumed to have scratched the film, and another take is done to insure there is a clean,
"Gate is good," the assistant chimes, and Elizabeths face beams.
"Its a good gate!" she says happily and emphatically.
"First shot, just 3 takes," Jon says with a smile. "Eddys got to be happy."
Eddy smiles at that. He is happy, to be started and under way, but hed prefer it
was earlier in the day. In fact, Eddys job is such that he would almost always
prefer that it were yesterday.