"a Night At The Shoot Of Night Shyamalan?s...


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Dr Malcolm Crowe

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"a Night At The Shoot Of Night Shyamalan?s...
« on: February 15, 2006, 09:49:32 PM »
 SOURCE: http://www.brynmawrfilm.org/seville.htm' target='_blank'>http://www.brynmawrfilm.org/seville.htm

A Night at the Shoot of Night Shyamalan?s Lady in the Water

What a truly thrilling experience I had a couple weeks ago: spending 5 hours on the remarkable set of Lady in the Water, Night Shyamalan?s latest movie. I arrived at 6 pm on the set, located on the huge Bristol Business Center property near Levittown, PA. It looks every bit like a studio in Hollywood, with gigantic sound stages built into and around the existing old factory building, large tents, scores of trailers for actors and other purposes, a faux street of houses; huge cranes lurking over a 5 story, U-shaped apartment building complete with swimming pool and patio (all newly constructed only for this movie), golf carts, rain-making equipment, an artificial ?moon?, etc. etc. The security guard told me it was a bit busier than usual, with 300 extras ready to perform in the party scenes. They accounted for the lively ?buzz? I heard in one of the huge dining tents.

Maddie Karpel, a recent Bryn Mawr College graduate, met me and took me across the lot to the apartment building where the scenes for the evening would be staged. Maddie was an English and Psychology major at Bryn Mawr and landed a job that is just what a liberal arts education should prepare her for: assistant to Night Shyamalan, and already a valued member of the team. Her intelligence, ingenuity, independence, literacy, and initiative were being used in subtle and obvious ways as I watched her throughout the night.

There are about 300 crew and actors (not including extras) involved in this undertaking. While many of the key people are imported to the area from as far away as Hong Kong, it is also evident that countless other locals have been employed to make the film. The night I visited the set the activity in all areas was non-stop. Some on the crew had been working all day and would not stop until 4 in the morning. For others there were alternating 20 minutes of intense work followed by 20 minutes of waiting and small talk. Indeed, activity on the set is rather like a pendulum: the stage hands, carpenters, lighting, and sound people run about doing their jobs until the call ?rolling? is heard, at which point they freeze and the actors, camera and sound crew become activated. And back and forth it goes, take after take (there were no fewer than 6 takes per scene, often more) and scene after scene ( I left after 5 of the planned 10 scenes were shot).

The care and attention that every detail in each scene, in each take, receives from the director (Night Shyamalan) and the cinematographer (Chris Doyle),to single out the two most ubiquitous artists, surprised me, even though I have taken courses on the art of film making. And shooting the scene is just the mid point in the film?s creation. For, first it had to be conceived, then written, possibly drawn, laid out and planned for ?sets, costumes, etc.-- rehearsed, and filmed at least 6 times in case the focus or sound or action were not quite right. Then this scene will be subjected to all the post-production efforts of editing, re-recorded or re-mixed, and goodness knows what else. In Lady in the Water there are about 200 such scenes! After observing only one phase of this creation I was awe-struck. Would that I could witness the rest of it. Films are art, technology, craft, business, and science?no wonder they require support by tremendous resources of talent, energy, passion, and money.

Night Shyamalan wrote and is directing and acting in this movie. He dashes about the set but remains calm and courteous with the staff and overtly appreciative of their efforts. I never saw his interest and attention to detail flag. He is good humored and would seem to be fun to work for. For this movie, he chose the very well known cinematographer Christopher Doyle, and surrounded him with top industry lighting and sound technicians. Doyle is just amazing. A lean and rugged man who moves with the agility of an acrobat and speaks Mandarin and French (lives in Hong Kong), he leaps about the set with such energy that just watching him made me breathless. He is famous for all the Wong Kar-wai movies including 2046, which we plan to show soon, for Yimou Zhang?s Hero, for Rabbit Proof Fence, and many others. Doyle made me feel right at home and kept running over urging me to show movies he is proud of or appreciates. At times he wore a large cushion tightly wrapped to his thin frame to help support the steady cam and wedged himself into the tight shots so that he and his camera seemed to disappear.

Many of the actors (Paul Giamatti, Bryce Dallas Howard, Cindy Cheung, Sarita Choudhury, Jeffrey Wright, and Jared Harris) came over to the small area where Maddie and Night had made room for me, an area devoted to the monitors that the director and others use to check the scenes. They seemed modest and enthusiastic, these stars. Ready to chat at length with a stranger. Possibly happy to speak to someone as diversion during their long waits between scenes.

I also had a chance to chat with Barbara Tolliver, the film editor who was watching a few scenes she had particularly requested be re-shot. Her work is so closely allied to that of the director and cinematographer that it seems hard to imagine the kind of collaboration that must go on among them. We hope Barbara will find time during the months of post production work, while she stays here in the area, to come to the BMFI and talk about her work.

Someday it would be wonderful to bring this experience to others who love movies and belong to the BMFI. We?ll see if we can find a way to do it. Till then, thank you, Night Shyamalan for giving me a rare glimpse behind the scenes....

Juliet J. Goodfriend


SOURCE: http://www.brynmawrfilm.org/seville.htm' target='_blank'>http://www.brynmawrfilm.org/seville.htm

Rohan

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"a Night At The Shoot Of Night Shyamalan?s...
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 02:50:20 AM »
 Lucky She! I wish I would be there also.

-Rohan

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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2006, 09:29:51 AM »
 Nice article. I can only dream of being at Night's side, conversing about film and what not.

They say this one has a surprise ending.
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Dr Malcolm Crowe

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« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 12:48:31 PM »
 
Quote
Nice article. I can only dream of being at Night's side, conversing about film and what not.
I know! I would love just to say "hi, I am a true fan". I can't even imagine being on one of his film shoots. There might literally have to be an ambulance on set, lol.

Rohan

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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2006, 05:45:13 PM »
 Same here! that would be like so awesome being on the sets of his movie and you talking to him at the same time after cuts and having few sips of hot coffee with him discussing life in hollywood and about his past and future movies.

WOW!  I Am Gonna Make That Happen "I am serious"

-Rohan