Imagine, I was in a field, the wind spinning me like a top and the more I spun, the more tethered I was to the wind. That’s how I felt about my film. Tethered to an idea, that was too big. I had a feeling for what I wanted but no more, nothing specific. There was in fact no beginning path to take.
I decided to see if my old director Tanya Taylor Rubinstein, with whom I had spent the better part of a year and a half, developing, and rehearsing my play, “Even if the Mountains Burn,” would come on board to help me. She had a cancellation in her schedule for December and said she would. We dug back into old material, back to the play itself. I told new stories, we recorded many of them. Since I hadn’t been on stage or rehearsed for a couple of years, I felt awkward at first and then comfortable with myself. I loosened into it.
The play became the shell, the structure. We choose scenes and restructured them, rehearsing them tightening them up, condensing them, forcing me to control and focus my energies. The big thing, the film became finite, manageable. I had a beginning. We shot some of these scenes with John at night,
While this was a tremendous way of getting the material and myself under control, after two weeks of shooting I began to realize I wanted more.
I was not in fact wanting the whole movie, at least the scenes of most of my dialogue, shot with me sitting in a black box - me in tight close-ups, sitting, controlled and focused.
Once again I was in the field, spun by the wind. And then I had a vision of what I wanted the film to look like, it came to me as a painting… dissolve the black box, set me free inside the painter’s studio. Keep the same tight energy of the static shots but allow me to move, to laugh, cry, find my way to the scene. Due to scheduling conflicts, Tanya became busy with her regular work, Project Life Stories, and we parted company.
I was left at the head winds, bringing all that work we had done along with me. I had the skeleton of my character. I just needed to find a way to flesh him out.