The film challenge came right on time, and was pretty simple: The end of the world. Free-choice genre, no prop or dialogue, only a story about the end of the world. You can see why this would make a Detroit crew feel they were halfway there:
Yes, it’s our old friend the Packard plant. But how can you not use it? If you needed a vast, already-dressed set suitable for the end of the world, duh. So we went there for a few shots.
Our main character is a teenage girl reduced to scavenging the ruined, depopulated city. She lives in a hovel. Our art department constructed one in the basement of another building, a former printing plant converted to lofts and performance spaces. Fortunately, the basement retains that “Silence of the Lambs” feel. I went down there as they were building her pallet:
God, these people are good. (The art department.) It was simultaneously post-apocalyptic and human. That light over the pallet felt precisely like weak winter sun coming through a skylight. It’s such a pleasure to work with people who are good at what they do. Like our makeup guy, Dan Phillips:
Dan used to be an autoworker. Took the buyout, went to makeup school, and is now working pretty often on the many productions going on here. He has some good stories. That’s Robert Young III, in his cameo role as Vacant Lot Corpse, showing off Dan’s handiwork. Photo by Connie Mangilin, another producer.
The film? Haven’t seen the final cut yet. I’ll keep you posted. This is the point in the process where I get crabby and it’s best that I keep my distance. Otherwise I might be striding around the office like a tyrant, channeling my inner newspaper cuss. One of our news editors in Fort Wayne would, when the desk fell behind, call out in his rich southern accent, “People! We ain’t puttin’ up a shuttle here!” I don’t think that would be helpful.
I’m not helping out much here, either. I commend to you today some words by our own J.C. Burns, who has beheld one too many grovels by broken-down, dispirited news executives, and has something to say to both the executives and the bored-bored-bored news consumers they allegedly serve.
I’m off to encounter Busy Monday.