Wednesday, November 11, 2009

She Moved The Pillow: A Tale of Tom & Mary.

Tom had known Mary for a couple of years-- not well, but casually, and well enough to have a little crush-- when he invited her to tag along on one of the shoots for his new film. The film itself isn't all that important: it was, in the end, a manifestly terrible piece of work, a cynical and completely misanthropic film that had nothing but contempt for its characters. The person who made that film scarcely resembles the person writing these words today. And yet, somehow, miraculously, Mary saw the latter in the former and fell in love with him. And I'm so very glad that she did.

And while I think our love was built slowly, bit-by-bit over the years, evolving into a fast friendship and then, wonderfully, something more, I can pin-point the very moment that my infatuation, my attraction, my crush on her exploded madly with passion and desire.

It was on that shoot. I had set up my actors on a couch-- in those days, all my scenes took place on couches, so much so that the joke going around the set was that next time, the couch would move-- and my camera was at one end on the couch, glaring at them in profile. Or, at least, it was supposed to; situated at each end there sat a pillow. Not a big pillow, just the sort of ordinary square pillow that adorns any couch worth its cushions. But it was big enough to obscure my camera's view of the actors as I tried to frame my close-up.

And so, I started cranking up my tripod-- an old photographers tripod, really intended for sitting photographs, another reason for my commitment at the time to cinema du sofa-- to try and peer over the pillow. When that seemed to not be working, I tried tilting the camera upwards. No dice. I adjusted the tripod again. I got my dolly-- by which I mean, of course, a block of wood with some casters on the bottom-- and placed the tripod on it to gain some extra height. Still wasn't quite what I wanted.

This went on for a few minutes, constantly making adjustments, continually getting frustrated. And then, Mary got up off her chair, walked to the couch, grabbed the pillow, and, without saying a word, sat back down with the pillow on her lap. The shot was very quickly framed and, as they say, in the can.

Mary moved the pillow, and my heart skipped the beat.

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