King of the Hostages

Posted by: Richenda at Sunday August 12, 2007 in

What is it about filmmakers? To get that perfect shot, one has to, shall we say, move forward in a determined fashion. Even if that means your actors spend hours tied up on the floor.

We are knee deep into the 2007 Portland 48 hour film festival. 10 hours to go. My son and husband are partners and own P3Pictures, though my son runs the show. My husband is creative adviser, producerand does the music. My son is director and king-in-pants. He works closely with his friends, especially Matt Thogerson and Jeff Drovdahl. They are all very talented and energetic.

On Friday evening the three of them went to the opener, and drew ‘Musical’ as their docket. OMG.

The good news is that the Fairhurst family are talented little boogers when it comes to music. Three of us compose. Three of us sing, one of us very, very well (my daughter). Plus, a number of the P3P contributors sing well. And we’ve got recording equipment…so YES!!

The bad news is the Fairhurst family are talented little boogers when it comes to music. lol. Perfection is the standard, nothing less. But…catch here? We have only 48 hours. A musical in 48 hours is kind of like pulling a rabbit out of a hat anyway. Now add one fiery-eyed music composer/musician (my husband) and it’s a recipe for…well, panic in the streets.

Ten hours to go, and…What am I doing right now? Blogging! So helpful! lol.

Ten hours to go everyone is asleep (on the floor, sofas, tables, wherever) except the composer and the director/editor who are both red-eyed and a little crazed, to be frank. I myself have had only about 4 hours of sleep since Friday morning and when I found myself wondering earlier if I’m wearing clean underwear or not, I realized just how serious this business is! If I’m wondering about strange things, and all I have to do is coordinate the house, feed the hoards, and pick up soda cans, what state must my husband and son be in right now? Hmmm…. I’m pretty sure I can guess the answer the underwear question.

So far, the movie is really good, though. Wow. No really. Wow. What talent in this group! They wrote songs and lyrics and story the first night. I serve as story consultant, a critical role in the brainstorming/ story structure phase. They call out ideas, I channel them structurally—emotional arc, plot manifestation, dramatic question, opposing goals…..or the seven ‘C’s as I like to think of them (expanded from Algis Budris): Character Call Confusion Conflict Crisis Catharsis Conclusion….I think that’s it. The structure right away helps them get a good story going fast.

Anyway. That first night they got things written composing started by midnight. Recording started at 11:00 on Saturday. Filming started at 8:00 on Saturday night. They straggled in here at 5:00 this morning. (I was waiting with paperwork, like a horrible legal….what kind of familiar would corporate lawyers have? If witches have cats and boy wizards can have toads and rats…I guess lawyers would have spiders. Yes?)

They filmed a heist last night (yes, set to music) complete with murder and hostages. I laughed so hard as three bedraggled looking crew/actors filled me in about how they were tied up for an hour while the filming went on. Three of them tied and two lying on their sides. It was apparently not the most fun they ever had (they were still working on getting feeling back in a few fingers as they filled me in.) Two of them complained most, and when the third one piped in, they didn’t really sympathize with him. lol. Apparently, he had been tied up sitting in a chair . lol. From the vantage point of the two on the floor (one of whom was supposed to be a corpse and got repeatedly shoved under a desk), this was the coziest, most comfortable position imaginable! They called him King of the Hostages and denied him the right to complain (though, to be fair, he was also tied up).

And it made me wonder if this same thing held true in real hostage situations. If a hostage is somewhere more comfortable, do the other (less comfortable) hostages feel resentful? Do they think of him as ‘King of the Hostages?’ I’ll bet at least some of them do.

Very strange world this is!

Well. I hope they make it in time. Less than 10 hours to go. With “musical” they don’t have a hope of winning…but they can still make it memorable. And I’ve seen peeks at the footage and music as they edit the two together and so far I’m just blown away. It’s really good. Drawing “Musical” might be a recipe for disaster, but…perhaps also a chance for glory? I’ll have to see what the King of the Hostages has to say about it!

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