My son's observation was this: "It takes more than five hours to make a fifteen minute movie."
This may sound like an obvious viewpoint, but his comes from firsthand experience. A film crew descended on the elementary school at which I work last week, and since I was acting as the site liaison I was privy to all that would go on during the day. A very full day, when I glanced at the Call Sheet. My name appeared prominently, both for being the aforementioned point person as well as being part of "the talent." Seeing this as a form of leverage, I decided to press my luck and ask the director/producer if my freshly minted Theater Arts graduate might find some work experience as part of the crew. Ah, show business. It's not what you know, but who you know. And, as my son soon found out, what you're willing to carry.
My time was split between rushing about finding objects, unlocking doors, and eventually having my head put in front of a camera where I spoke with great eloquence about the Fit Kids program, the group we were there to promote. As I sat there beneath the interrogation lights, I waxed poetic and spun great metaphors and eloquent connections. I was, after all, being asked to speak.
Which may have been a mistake, considering the penchant I have for going on and on and on. Eventually, I was asked to see if I could boil down some of my long-winded answers to something that might have more of a sound-bite quality. Reigning in my rhetoric proved to be a challenge, but eventually I was able to whittle my words down to a useable bit.
It was around this time that my son showed up. Being a volunteer and not a fully compensated member of the crew, he was able to slide into the filmmaking process by asking "is there anything I can do?" This, he discovered, was a most welcome response, as most everyone found tasks to keep him busy and making up for any tardiness. A trip back home to pick up a house plant to decorate the library that we were using as a set. A run to the sandwich shop to retrieve lunch for everyone. And lifting any and all equipment, sandbags, or miscellaneous debris that needed to be moved into our out of the shot.
When the day was over, or at least mostly over, I asked him how he enjoyed his day on set. He was tired, but enthusiastic. It had not worn off the edge of excitement that being around all that creativity. It was, to use the hackneyed expression, "a good kind of tired."
On the way home, I thought about all the times I had been in front of a camera. I thought about all the times I had been behind a camera. I wondered if my son might someday have the joys I experienced when I was a kid with my dad's Super 8 rig. None of the movies I made took five hours to make. I hope he has a chance to make his own five hour/fifteen minute movie.