China Diary

Day 105: Reality (Out there)

Once you get it going, filmmaking can be pretty addictive way to live. Every morning, somebody picks you up, gives you a very tightly-planned schedule of what’s expected for the day, feeds you, gives you a script on what you need to shoot today and eventually drives you back home. The worries of the outside world start fading out and the small village mentality sets in: what matters it what’s going on on the set, and within the crew, and the rest of the world feels slightly more unreal, something that’s just out there to read about in news, emails and Skype conversations, but it’s not really there, at least not that much.

But of course, it is. So, as a filmmaker, it’s important not to be lulled by the fake reality of the sets, studios and actors around you to forget that the reality is right there around the corner ready to smack you in the head with a hammer the moment you let down your guard.

So, the bills still keep on coming, the non-production-related issues keep on popping up, the people around you keep on living their lives and it ripples to your reality, sometimes harder, sometimes softer, changing and shaping your future. If film itself is an art of escapism, so is filmmaking, too. It’s a bit like going on a long hike in the middle of nowhere; you just have the road ahead of you to hike, and the world keeps on revolving, but you take an exit from it, partially.

Well, there’s some armchair five-cent-philosophy for you, dear readers. Yesterday we changed the location from the highway to finish the car-and-motorcycle stunts at the Wanda Studio Lot, where they had built a piece of the street in front of a huge, two-hundred-meter-long green screen, where we would be shooting the next two even-colder nights.

Big-ass green

While shooting, the production designer came over and took me on a quick tour to one of the studios where they are building some of the sets. I can’t wait to get shooting in a studio, I’m literally done with locations, these long nights and the freezing temperatures. It’s great to see the huge sets being built: that’s one thing in China the productions know better than anywhere, how to build big sets quickly and with an impeccable style. I’m always more and more amazed as I wander through the studios, trying to understand how the hell do they make all this happen in such a short time.


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