Sunday, November 7, 2010

Crazy Early

As I write this, I am engaged in doing some acting in a small film. That is to say that I have completed my first day on the shoot, and am facing the second day to come. As is usually the case, actors and crew are called to the set at a very early hour so as to make the most of the day. Being in this case an actor and not crew, I am needed slightly later- half an hour later, in this case. Thus it makes little difference for anyone and none at all for me, as I must hitch a ride with a member of the crew anyway. It's really for the best that I must get up so early. I've commented on early mornings once or twice, primarily from a romantic perspective, but that's obviously not all there is to it. When I remove the influence from that side of myself, the early morning looks different.

The day always begins with a start, so to speak. The moment I hear my alarm and gain consciousness, I bolt upright and check the time frantically. Once the immediate feeling of stark terror passes with the knowledge that I've woken up at the appropriate time, it gives way to a feeling that might be called grim resignation for lack of better descriptors. The pleasure that comes from arising with the sun is not applicable for the earlier hour and for the fact that there is no time to tarry. The shower is a quick and practical one. The breakfast is likewise, although there is the hope of a better and more leisurely breakfast to come when I arrive on set. One can't place undue confidence in that, however. Many is the day that no real breakfast is to be had, and by that time it is all too late to go back out for anything. With a small breakfast in my stomach, I head out into the chill air with my way lit by street lamps.

I don't like getting up in the dark. Ideally, periods of sleep begin in darkness and end in daylight. The other way around is basically acceptable as well in that it offers an immediate indication of how long one has been asleep, but it's preferable that sleep offers respite from the cold, and wakefulness comes at a time when a warm new day has come. Those who work in the movies don't have the luxury of all that. It's most often the case that you return home from the set in darkness, and head out the next day the same way. It seems to me that in that respect it's something like working in a factory or mine. It doesn't positively affect morale, that's for sure. Also undesirable is the experience of waking up, getting ready and leaving the house before the morning newspaper arrives. Needless to say, I don't presently subscribe to a newspaper, but did do so not that long ago, and it's unpleasant to consider the fact that as early as the paper man makes his rounds, you're getting busy earlier.

It's easier to take once you are in the presence of the only people in the same boat- the rest of the cast and crew for the production you're on. There is nothing to report as to what everyone's been up to, exactly. There's been just too little time to have been up to anything. The odds are that everyone just jumped into bed upon arriving home. What may happen is a competition for the title of Least Well-Rested. It tends to be hotly contested. These hardships contribute to what I love so much about being on a shoot. Provided the group is a good one, everyone is bound together all the more tightly by commonly experienced adversity. That esprit de corps is only felt in such assemblages of people brought together in a common cause. No one is just marking time or, one hopes, drawing a paycheck (where that's applicable). That makes it possible to get up in the morning like that.

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