Ernest is Leilas uncle; the script calls him
"tall, aristocratic." Mammy is Ernests "gentler, younger, queenier
male companion." The two men are comic foils for Leila, but there is also a great
intimacy--they more or less raised her (and her sister) after her parents died--and there
are a number of scenes that are played in their handsome apartment.
I say handsome
because the location, a large third floor apartment on Amsterdam Avenue, is very handsome.
Thats the way the family that lives there has decorated it. The movie, of course,
will take a different tack. In the movie, after all, this is Uncle Ernest and Mammys
apartment, not the really beautiful apartment of some really nice family with really good
Which isnt to say that Uncle Ernest and Mammy dont have good taste, but
rather to point out that in the movie the apartment will reflect their good taste rather
than that of the family that owns the apartment.
So on the tech scout the art department surveys the changes that need to be made.
Furniture that needs to be moved out to make way for the furniture that will be moved in,
is examined and discussed, and a place needs to be found to store it all. That the ideal
spot is also the ideal spot for hair and makeup to set up a kind of green room means that
another spot to store the furniture will have to be found.
Hair and makeup represents the comfort of the actors, a much more important
consideration for the production than the aching backs of the grips hauling stuff around.
David, the gaffer, surveys the electrical situation, and finds a way to tie-in to the
buildings main wires, which eliminates the need for a generator.
Aaron and Phil discuss ways to get lights outside the window (a 60 foot condor, a big
scissor-lift, is on tap for the shoot), and explore ways to hang lights inside without
messing up the apartments lovely wallpaper. Is the 60 foot Condor big enough? Eddy
hopes so. The 80 foot model represents an extra two thousand dollars in cost. Phil thinks
the 60 foot Condor is enough, making Eddy happy, for now. Its very close.
But it is Matthew, the boom guy, who has the most to say:
Matthew: Are all the shots facing the windows?
Matthew: And there are scenes in all three rooms?
Matthew: Well, we have a problem.
The problem is that in the dining room, the location for an important scene, the old
wood-frame windows look lovely, but have an appreciable space between their frames. And
through that small gap an amazing amount of sound comes spiraling up from Amsterdam Avenue
and the nearby side streets. Garbage and delivery trucks, semis and pick-ups, motorcycles
and mistimed clunkers, it is amazing how noisy a New York City street is, even three
stories up, when you just stop and listen closely.
And these sounds are unpredictable, can not be controlled by timing takes to the cycle
of the traffic lights, and make it impossible to record synch-sound at this location.
But only, it turns out, in the dining room. Both the living room next room over and the
study actually have older windows, and also have Plexiglas storm windows that do a great
job of muffling the street noise.
The first solutions suggestedchange the location, shoot the scene facing away
from the windowsare rejected.
Next, the possibility of covering the outside of the windows with professional baffling
windows, a frame that holds three pieces of glass of different widths and hung at
different angles, is rejected as too expensive. Baffling windows dont come cheap.
Sherri suggests hanging drapes in front of the windows, and plans are made to make
Someone else suggests making Plexiglas storm windows, like those that are working so
well in the living room and study. Yes, that would be much cheaper than the baffling
And finally, Joseph says, "We can set up some of the scene, at least, so that it
faces away from the window."
Will that be enough? Matthew is asked. Maybe, he says.
Happy New Year!