Goblin March Sea Dream
I forget which filmmaker it was (maybe Lester?) who, after he retired, was awoken one night from a horrible dream. (No, I just this instant remembered — it was William Wyler.) Mrs. Director, lying alongside, asked what was the matter. “Oh, I just had the most terrible dream. I dreamed I was directing a picture.”
I had that this morning, in my last hour of sleep. Fiona had gotten up and gone to work, I had fallen asleep again, and I dreamed I was on a beach, directing an epic based on something loosely derived from Tolkein. Probably it was “inspired” by a couple of pages from The Silmarilion (wait and see, once they’ve finished gargantuanizing The Hobbit, this WILL happen).
I had an army of orcs at my disposal, and they were engaged in a forced march to the accompaniment of drum-beats and a Volga Boatmen type choral arrangement, on playback. There were also boats in the sea, a big galleon and some smaller model ships behind it. The FX team showed me a large-ish model ship they had available, which might bulk out the fleet usefully: “It’s actually the Titanic,” they explained apologetically, “but if you put it far back enough…” I shrugged, “Sure. What the hell.”
And as the orcs slogged past (“Too slow,” argued the producer) I realised I didn’t even know where they were supposed to be going. I looked around for my 1st A.D., eventually found her, asked for a copy of the script. She handed me a folder full of CRAP, strange schematics and incomprehensible call sheets, plus a few thin pages of screenplay scattered amongst the bumf. When I looked up from this, none the wiser, I found a vast PETROL STATION had been erected.
“Isn’t it great?” asked the producer. I spluttered and fizzed incoherently. “Not for THIS scene, I know,” he explains. ”For that LATER scene. I just wanted to show you. I can have it all taken away in five minutes.”
Awoke feeling incredibly groggy and reflecting on the irony that filmmaking is nothing but stress while you’re doing it, and I spend all my time wishing I was doing it. And I don’t particularly LIKE stress, mind you.
“Ordinary people spend their life avoiding tense situations. A repo man spends his life getting into tense situations.” ~ REPO MAN, Alex Cox.