Crudités at Two; Drowning at Three

Monday I headed out to New Braunfels with Christy to work on her short film, Melancholy. The back seat of her car was crammed with a large cooler, Andrew (who was to play the part of Despair), and his friend Martin. Neither Christy nor myself are much in the way of morning people. But Martin crackled with high-energy and kept a running commentary from the backseat. He mentioned later that he had been up all night, so I assume he was in the giddy sleep deprivation mode.

We stopped by Russ' place. He had all the equipment loaded up in his truck. So, after I finished off Russ' pot of coffee, and Christy changed in the bathroom, we were ready to head out. Christy's wig was in better form, and looked much more natural on her than the previous day.

At Comal Park, on the shores of Canyon Lake, we were waved in by a fellow manning the security kiosk. Christy had arranged permission for us to shoot through the very helpful Army Corps of Engineers.

We lugged everything down to the shore near the dead trees Christy wanted in the shots.

It was one hot and humid day. And both me and Russ were damn glad Martin showed up. He remained in great spirits no matter what grunt work fell his way.

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Christy and Andrew looked great in their costumes. Like samurai warriors seen through the lens of the old Buck Rogers comic strips.

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They started out in one of the dead trees. After some striking set-ups, we moved the equipment down to a rock ledge at the water line. Christy and Andrew were rehearsing their moves — a sort of balletic martial arts faux fight — and me and Russ were looking for a nice wide shot. I suggested that we place the crane off center on a rise looking down on them, and slowly track the action with a lateral movement. Russ had another idea. He placed the crane dead center on the rise and lifted straight up. It turned out to be an amazing over-head shot. There was a long strip of read cloth (used throughout the piece), and it was snaking across the limestone ledge. The sun was directly overhead, so everything was in sharp contrast. This also caused Russ to whimper in frustration because the camera kept casting a shadow into his perfect shot. But we tinkered with the crane and camera placement until we were ready to go.

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We broke for lunch. Martin, it seems, took advantage of his insomnia the previous night to cut up all the carrots and celery for our veggie dip. Culinary school paid off.

And then we caravanned to the stretch of mud flats where Despair (Andrew) was to drown Eve (Christy). I had on a pair of water sport moccasins someone had given me years ago. Russ had a similar kind of water boots. I offered Andrew an old ratty pair of sandals I had also brought along. As his feet are much smaller, they tended to shift around a bit on him. Martin had finally crashed, so, we cracked the windows a bit, and left him snoozing with his feet up on the cooler.

The shallow water nearest the shore was rather hot. But as we slogged out to a nice stand of drowned trees, it cooled off. There were regions of deep mud, quite a bit of rocks, and a few submerged logs. We moved slow and finally decided on the perfect place to drown our Eve.

As Russ pointed out, the nice thing about shooting in a nasty, inhospitable location, is that you move fast so you can get the hell out. I'm convinced we got some great footage. But after Christy inhaled a bit of brackish lake water, and after she stabbed her hand on something sharp, we decided it was time to head back to the cars.

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Russ invited Christy and Andrew to avail themselves of the showers at his Yacht club, and we called it a day.


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