As you may know, there is plenty of downtime between shooting movie scenes. Setting up the cameras, lighting, blocking, changing batteries, and all the other mechanics. These are known and controllable.
Then there are the “uncontrollables”. Yes, on location there are plenty of them. Weather events, unwanted noise of all kinds and from every direction, actors who drift away and are not ready, people wandering into the scene because they were not intercepted or refused to wait, and hey, even clouds when you don’t want them, or waiting when you want them.
These unforeseen conditions are sometimes frustrating, always cost money…and drive the crew crazy. But if handled right, that is, seeing the magic in something gone wrong, by embracing serendipity, a real gem may presents itself that no one thought of during the planning phase.
This happened just the other day in New York on the set of a film I was in. The delays started with an electrical problem in the get-away car. The car did not start and hence, couldn’t…get away. This problem was finally solved by an extra who was a mechanic in real life. But in the meantime, really bad weather in the form of thunder cloud cells was coming in from the west. It rained and cleared. Rained and cleared again. And then the director was hit by inspiration. During the next rain cycle, they filmed the now working get-away car in action with all the rain and lightning and thunder. No post process special effects needed. And the scene looked really, really good. Really deep and moody and foreshadowing.
I guess the moral is, there is always opportunity in what looks like disaster. You just have to have the courage to change the script.
c 2011 Michael Krozer