Saturday, January 21, 2023

She Who Is Alive update - Chapter 6: The Third Degree

The Third Degree

I asked my co-producer Lindsay if one still says in the can when there is no can and she said yes, so I may say now that we have three chapters in the can.  The first two, filmed back in August, told the story before and after Dr Maria Stryker, played by Laura Bohn - who turns out to be a Movie Star of no mean talent - is interrogated by the Polemarch Rorman, and during which she meets Peter Sesley (Bradley Kynard!) who is actually not Peter Sesley, but she and we know that, and the plans are laid for her defection. So this section - pictured above - is the interrogation itself, with the impressively buff and deep-voiced Hadleigh Adams as the Polemarch Rorman. Off to the left is Talya Patrick as his maybe-more-than-secretary-could-be-mistress (in the Mistress as Master meaning) and it was so lovely to work with her again after so many years.  

It's always the case that, in the lead-up to filming, I am plagued with anxious dreams, covid worries, fretting forgetfulness, financial panic, and the not-unusual wonder as to why I am doing this at all. But then there is the delightful frenzy of the shoot itself, the joy of working with people of talent who take my gigantic† weird project so seriously, and, once it is in the can, and all the props are back in storage, and one is editing and color correcting and berating one's neighborhood so-called artificial intelligence into doing what it is told, one can feel a slowly beating desire forming to please do it all again, which we shall, although not soon enough, as there are nine more chapters to go. One gets out ones colored pencils to mark up the text with notes of where to get the horse and the ski-plane and the castle on the frozen lake for the next bit, and how to shoot this and that, and one inches toward the kids' piggy banks and the penny jar and thinks well, it's OK to take a little loan on the future once again, right?  The future may never come anyway, and we'll just worry about that all later. 

The beauty of the image above is almost entirely due to the subtlety of the light that Heath set in the deconsecrated cathedral of St Joseph's. As a wannabe cinematographer (and everything else associated with any art form), I long to grab the camera and do this and that, but he is possessive of his creations - as serious artists unlike myself are - and anyway, I was forced by circumstance to conduct.  Since the delightful Fame's Orchestra of North Macedonia had recorded the backing tracks, I conducted from the vocal part, a fragment of which is seen below. The whole section is in 4/4 but with beats that aren't always the same size and, as in the rock 'n' roll that I grew up with, sometimes dropped off the end. But the really nice rhythmic thing that happens is when it switches from the 12/8-style 4 beats to the 4/4-style beats and back, the latter building tension and the former falling back into a relaxed groove, following the ebb and flow of the cat-playing-with-mouse dynamic.

A bit of the vocal part

†[Editor: In once again courting Timur for this project, as the oily Colonel Hippolite Reverdy, he said "you had me from gigantic."] 

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