In April, the production moved to Florida for almost three weeks. The cast and crew had already shot segments of the movie in Pennsylvania and Japan, but as a lowly production assistant I wasn’t invited on those trips.
In the weeks leading up to the Florida shoot, I begged and pleaded to get myself on the short list for the travel crew. Parts of the movie were shot in Los Angeles, but I knew that the real action was taking place on the road. By some twist of fate - or perhaps the producers just tired of my whine - I was allowed to join the movie shoot in Miami and Orlando.
I worked myself to exhaustion in Florida that Spring. I was one of only three women on the road and I wanted to prove myself worthy of the position. I fetched water, washed vomit buckets, and held the camera during a crucial movie moment. I have more stories from those eighteen days than almost any other condensed time period in my life.
In the very few moments I had to myself, I was engrossed in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. During lunch breaks I would hide out in the production van and curl up with the classic novel, twisting my hair and letting the roughest parts of guerilla movie making fall away. One day the director caught me. Barely a word had passed between us in the four months I'd worked for him, but seeing a prudish young girl reading romantic Russian literature on the set of his vulgar movie finally forced his hand.
“Why are you reading that here?” he asked, half amused, half genuinely curious. I opened my mouth, not sure how to answer. I had always been a reader, but even I understood the juxtaposition of that novel against this movie was odd. That conversation led to a lengthier one about life and love and why I was working in television production in the first place. We sat in a crowded wood-paneled bar and talked until closing time.
Back at the hotel, others had gathered to watch video from the day. We joined them, and the Director Big Boss, in his very quiet way, started pointing things out to me in the shots that I didn’t understand or couldn’t have learned from my PA perspective. We stayed up until the sun was threatening to rise.
It was all very innocent. He was so much older and in such a different position in life. When I fell into my hotel bed in the early hours of morning, there wasn’t anything romantic about my swirling thoughts. But I was already deeply taken with this person. He thought differently than just about anyone I had ever known. And he did things, really did them. He made me think about art and meaning and, just when it could have gotten heavy, he convinced me that I was taking life too seriously.
After just a few hours of his platonic attention, I felt like I was glowing from the inside out.
Join me for Part III this afternoon, where I redefine the term "schoolgirl crush."