Today was a free day, but not without events. Last night, during a working dinner with Martha (the line producer) I proposed some changes to our way of working and to the schedule, which today were arranged and communicated. And not to everyone’s liking, which was to be expected.
Originally I had always hoped that the baby would be born halfway the one-month trip and that we’d get two productive weeks with her. She was however born on the second day and I have double the amount of shooting time. During this past first week, I realized that three weeks would even be a luxury, let alone four. So last night I proposed we cut a week out of the shoot and that all salaries be re-negotiated. Martha did this today with the crew she contracted, and apparently after a little moaning and sighing, all is fine now. I encouraged her to blame me (true!) so we’ll see tomorrow what the general mood is.
But more radically, I feel that we carry around too many people. I always wanted to have a very small crew, so I asked her to finish the contract with the production assistant whom in my eyes did important work in the lead-up of the shoot, but was now kind of hanging around doing the odd thing we could also handle without her. Not nice, but I have to think of our operability and also budget. The intimacy of the shoot, a high level of concentration, not seeming like a “monster” to our protagonists… these are all very important things to me.
I now hope that we can get back to work in the same way we have been working these past eight shooting days, but lighter. Quality has been really high, and besides the organizational changes, the content and creative side of the film is going extremely smoothly. No doubt a lot will still happen which will make for lots of very interesting scenes in the two weeks to come.
On a side note, I was able to change my return flight as well by five days, now landing on the 6th of April. In good old Iberia fashion, the change would first cost over 600 euros, then on a second attempt there were no seats, and on a third attempt I got exactly what I wanted for a minimum payment of the standard penalty of 135 euros. They’re so good at customer service!
Right, final chapter of the crew member of the day: social worker Alejandro Aguirre (here seen in a mall food court, our lunchtime hide-out).
Alejandro works for local NGO TESIS, with whom we have an agreement that he will escort us whenever we are in risky neighborhoods and/or with street children. He has done this work ever since he was a teenager himself, and is a very respected person among street communities. The kids call him “Profe”. Originally I wanted the support of a street worker for our safety, but he has also proven to be invaluable in arriving at the correct judgement regarding certain situations with Sujeylin and Juan Carlos. Alejandro has a heart of gold and is always the first one to be talking to whoever crosses our path. We might enter somewhere shooting away, while he is explaining things and calming people down: “don’t worry, they’re not from the government” – that kind of thing. This is also the reason he tends to hang out in front of the lens instead of behind it, which may mean he might even be present in the film at some point. He is someone I really lean on a lot and I am happy when he is around. Thanks to TESIS for letting him go.
Finally, please check out the “donate” section, now completey reworked with its own page and much-needed explanation and instructions.