Creative Block: A Production Diary of Filming in Paris (Part 2)

By Nicola Rose

This is Part 2 of a two-part series by Nicola Rose on filming her short film, Creative Block aka Bloc et Blocage, in Paris, France, with fellow NYWIFT member Veronique N. Doumbe in the director’s chair. Last time we covered important topics including filming on the streets of Paris, the pressure to get things right in a limited time, and French cereal.


From last time: “We begin by shooting multiple takes of me walking past the Eiffel Tower with a bouquet of balloons. In the film, the balloons are practically characters, so I keep a supply of extras in my backpack in case they pop. It occurs to me this is what all producers should do: keep a supply of extra actors in your bag in case, for example, you step on one and it pops. This is probably a strange thought. Sue me; I have jet lag.”

1:00-3:00 P.M.: We head to the Louvre, where we will be filming at the subway station. Two police officers are patrolling the area with machine guns – a common sight in Paris following last year’s attacks. They are looking at me with my balloons and Vero with her camera, and I wonder if they’re going to tell us to move. Instead, they ask if they are in our way. This impresses me, their kindness – but then that’s how you want people with automatic weapons to be toward you: kind.

Afterwards we go to the Place de la Concorde, where being the consummate and laser-focused professional I am, I immediately become distracted by a dog. In my defense, it is a German Shepherd. Arnaud even caught it on camera! See?

nicola-and-dog

(All photos ©Arnaud Galy)

Arnaud’s photos of me at the Concorde are some of my favorite of the day. He has a remarkable eye for catching cinematic moments. And check out that gorgeous fountain! What does it have to do with the story? Nada. We just wanted to shoot there. Wouldn’t you?

3:30 P.M.: We arrive at our final stop of the day, the Champs-Elysées. This is the part where, inevitably, I start fretting about production matters outside my control. One of the pitfalls of being both actor and producer is that when you start worrying, it shows in your face on camera. Vero quietly reminds me that we only have one chance to do this right, so my only worry should be getting my film exactly as I want it. I am truly grateful for the reminder, and for her support and talent. And we do get exactly the shots we want.

 

nicola-at-fountain

5:00 P.M.: Our final shot is shortly after 5:00, and that’s when it starts to rain. And yet… next thing we know… we’re done! It’s a wrap! I can hardly believe it, even as I write this some ten days later. Somehow, I went from New York to Paris and filmed a significant part of my film. Unbelievable.

So to sum up, here are my takeaways from the day, some specific to the project, but most of which are just common sense:

  • Surround yourself with positive, calm, talented and capable people who know more than you do.
  • Always stay calm and positive yourself. This is important stuff, but let’s face it, it’s a film, not life and death.
  • That being said: Get exactly the shots you want to get.
  • Plan ahead. Plan everything. Plan everything you think you need and then some more, because once the day comes around, it will still not be enough.
  • Bring extra balloons.
  • Eat French cereal.

 

Nicola’s glossary of useful French shooting words:

  • Tournage: filming (tourner – to film)
  • Réalisateur/réalisatrice – director
  • Producteur/productrice – producer
  • Caméra – camera (for video, appareil photo is a camera for photography)
  • Objectif – camera lens
  • Cadre – frame
  • Couper – to cut
  • Monter – to edit
  • Scénario – screenplay

 


You can follow Creative Block’s “making-of” Tumblr at creativeblockfilm.tumblr.com, and Nicola on Instagram at @nicolarosemce / @callieandizzy.

 

And support the film’s IndieGogo campaign! Donate online by January 21st to help Nicola & team cover the costs of the New York part of the production.

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