The scene (#30, if you're keeping
score) takes place in the living room of Uncle Ernest and Mammy's fine Upper West Side
apartment. For the master the camera is set on the east side of the room, facing Amsterdam
Avenue. The windows are curtained, but streaks of light come pouring through. When you see
the shot in Cherry's theatrical release you shouldn't think about the
electrics sitting atop 60 foot Condors in the pouring rain, at night, outside the window,
while this was being shot.
Don't think about it. In movie time the scene takes place
in the morning.
When the angle the camera faces during a scene changes, the
action of resetting is called "turning around," or "turning it
around." Which is different from turnaround, which is the amount of time a
crew or cast member has from the time they quit work one day until the time they start
work the next. The main difference, apart from the fact that the two similar expressions
have nothing to do with each other, is that turning around always takes too much
time, while there is never enough turnaround time.
The reason it takes so much time to turn around is because
when the camera moves, so do all the lights. And sometimes a lot of other things move as
well. The master of scene 30 was shot at the end of Day 33, while the coverage of the
scene, the close-ups on each of the actors, was to be completed on Day 34. At the end of
In between, there were some day exteriors to be shot. And
for efficiency sake, while the exteriors were filmed in the street, the electrics and
grips worked to reset the living room for the coverage. All went smoothly, and when the
exteriors were finished the camera was moved inside.
You would think all would be ready. to roll, good to go as
everybody likes to say, but no... As Magdalena, the stand-in (far left), takes Shalom's position, some things becoome clear. None, in and
of themselves, are terribly difficult to solve, but in the end the time adds up. In the
meanwhile, in spurts, everyone works really hard, and then they wait.
First, the Condors have to be shifted. This is done with Aaron standing in the window, directing the electrics in
their buckets by a combination of hand signals and walkie talkie instructions.
It is then discovered that the antique framed Harvard banner, while a nice
touch, happens to reflect all the lights in the room back right at the camera. Joe and Sherri put wads of
tape behind it, changing the angle at which is hangs. The result: No reflections.
While the reflections are being fixed it is decided that the camear must,
for part of the scene, be able to see down the long hallway to the kitchen. In the scene David makes that walk, to fetch Oreos and cold milk for his
Which means that all the cardboard and foam core that protect the parquet
floor and carpets and furniture and walls, must all be removed. Lights need to be reset,
too, so that they shine from inside the rooms, and can't be seen in the hallway.
When the big stuff has been moved, Lee and Melissa have to dress the cables so that they do not show
up against the white baseboards.
And then, once the camera is looking down the hallway, David's walk down
the hallway to fetch the Oreos needs to be choreographed and timed. At issue is how long
he should wait in the kitchen before he turns around and comes back.
It turned out he needn't wait at all before he turns around. But that's a
whole 'nother story.