11.23.04 (Day 5 of Shoot) – The Happiest Day Production

Again, I woke at about 3 am, but I wasn’t really tired. Haven’t been the whole shoot. I dream about things that need to be done, and then lie awake thinking about them. Pop up before the alarm, get ready, load up the car, and we’re off to HOLLYWOOD.

Today was the last day of shooting & it was a breeze, really. Everything had come together; we’d become a finely-tuned apparatus, and we were having a good time. Sadly, we’d lost some crew members – MD had to leave, and so did a few terrific PAs, because of flights for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a bummer not having them, as they were part of the hardcore production staff — Angeline Huang, Chris Evans, etc. We all then had to wear a few more caps today, and Sara N took the lead on craft service & did a great job. I helped out in the morning, getting things set up, and then Sara, Jennie Y, Jennifer, and I had a big meeting about all the returns & what needed to get done today & tomorrow. Jennie is a master at organizing these things on paper, and she presented a great plan, which we were to instill. (Jennie had to go back to her office to work on another film too.)

At the end of the shoot in XIOMARA, a beautiful restaurant (called one of the most romantic spots in LA, and it’s true), there was the most magical moment. We had to record the violinist in the scene, who was faking her playing during the scene. All the crew had to be still for a few minutes while she played for the background soundtrack (we’ll lay it in later into the edited scene). The woman was a marvelous violinist, and her performance truly stilled everyone. It was an extraordinary point in time – a whole crew standing completely still and listening to classical music. It was like a private concert. I was alone, sorting through papers, permits, and contracts in the top dining room. I wanted to join the other crew, but I couldn’t move, because moving could make noise on the recording track. Being alone, hearing the music, knowing there were all these other people around listening to a special performance – it felt like a spell had come over us all. When it ended, we all applauded; the costumer was in tears; and it felt like a blessing on the film and all of us there – this private moment of beauty, of art that we all shared.

Speaking of costumes, at the church, we discovered that the matching suits (a joke in the film relies on two men wearing the same suit to the wedding & being embarrassed) were not matching, in fact. They were close — both green — but one was black lapelled, and the other green velvet, so the joke wouldn’t work. As we clearly needed them to be the same, with cutting & pinning & taping, we were luckily able to get them to match. We lost a lot of time because of this, which was frustrating. However, it was great that we were able to save the joke. Phil LaMarr was hilarious in all the takes he did about his being embarrassed.

On this last day, after moving to the KNITTING FACTORY, the costume designer Rosa sorted through all the costumes, figuring out what was whose, what was unused & would be returned, etc. etc. etc. Unfortunately, there was some loss — unclear how it happened or where the clothes went. I think people relaxed today, as it was the last day, so some actors kept clothes; some crew got some; and some might have been picked up by people walking by.

In between their other work, most of the departments worked on inventorying, organizing, and readying their equipment/supplies for return or storage. I finalized all the crew contracts. I talked with the G&E guys about making sure everything was present at the end of the day inventory, and if not, making sure I knew about it.

Amazingly, FRIAR TUX is going to clean the suits they lent us for the shoot. This is a such a huge help. They are extraordinarily wonderful! (La Cienega Studio Cleaners is giving 8 suits-worth of free dry cleaning, which also helps with other pieces.) We were able to get things that were sponsored or borrowed returned in good order, and we were grateful to them for helping with that detail. These are the tiny stuffs that make a great production.

THE KNITTING FACTORY was a neat spot to shoot in, and the shoot went quickly. Of course, no matter how hard you plan ahead — just like a real wedding — there are surprises. Ours was that our parking permits weren’t what we’d applied for. Even though we’d applied for double the space needed, the 200 yards on Hollywood Blvd only included 3 car spots in one of the permit areas (not helpful!), because of fire hydrants, etc. — so we weren’t able to park any of the trucks there. The other area had street cleaning during our shooting time, so we couldn’t park there either. My poor sister Jennifer had to deal with the stress of it (this made me not feel as stressed about it!), and she brilliantly negotiated getting us parking in the Knitting Factory’s loading dock until 5 pm, then later negotiated to extend it until 8 pm. Jenn is great at problem-solving, and this was a coup, as we thought we were going to have to shuttle from a lot a mile away. The trucks were safer and easier for loading in, and we got it settled by the end of lunch so that we didn’t lose any time.

As a thanks to the crew, we got tickets for everyone to go to the show that night at the Knitting Factory and offered to buy their first round. We were wrapped at 5, and then learned the club didn’t open until 8 pm! So we got beer for everyone, and we stayed in the part of the bar we had been shooting in. Everyone hung out & chatted, took pictures, and said goodbye. As everyone was in one place, I ran around wrapping things up – getting contracts signed, reimbursing what was needed, disbursing concert tickets, etc. I was finally done about 7:30 and ready to relax myself, but at that point everyone was saying goodbye, so there’d be no hanging out for me… a sad day in Whoville. Ah well, that’s the life of a producer!

A couple of people stayed for the concert, and everyone else went home. Maria, Charity, and I were interested in staying even though we were exhausted, but the main act wasn’t going on until 10:30, so we threw in the towel. All five sisters got in the four trucks & drove to Raleigh Studios to park the two large trucks overnight. Because we were all functioning a little like lava – in slow motion, and we had to get everything out of the trucks that wouldn’t go back to the G&E rental houses, and then the studios couldn’t find us on their sheets, it took a while. We were exhausted when Ursula, Darin, and I dropped Jenn off and went back to the apartment. I had to pack for my 9:30 am flight (yipes), but it wasn’t as hard as I thought. (I ended up leaving a lot of my things there, which made it easier.) I slept a few hours, went to the airport, got bumped up to first class which was fun, and fell asleep during the movie.