So, I left you last time with the tales of working on my first feature film. Then the realities of needing money kicked in and I worked on a several commercials, kicking off with a Holden commercial with an Aussie Director. The highlight of this project was filming in Bryant Park and having our holding area in a Karaoke Bar. I also worked on a New York Stock Exchange commercial which was also fascinating and we got to film at some wonderful locations, including Webster Hall and of course, Wall Street and The New York Stock Exchange. I was lucky enough to get to be the Behind The Scenes Photographer on this shoot too. What an amazing feeling to get paid to do something I love! …Ok, self plug here…check out my website and feel free to contact me if you need any BTS photography or videography on your set…I will travel anywhere in the world!
I also worked on a Food Network promotion at Waterfront Stages with the most amazing view of NYC just south of the Williamsburg Bridge. I got to meet Rachael Ray and Guy Fereri, who gave me a high five for my amazing cue card writing and holding abilities. I also got to meet Florence Henderson and Vanilla Ice on that shoot! Next was a Citi Bank commercial that filmed all over the world – sadly I was only part of the NYC portion but still fun! Next up was a Macy’s commercial which was my silver lining for the summer – but more on that later.
I have also been out and about enjoying life to the fullest with horse riding adventures, ballet tickets at Lincoln Centre, chocolate tours, ghost tours, trips to Long Beach, hiking up Bear Mountain, camera operator-ing in upstate NY for a Festival Show Pilot and just general city exploration. My favourite discovery being the free tennis courts on the Hudson River. I was also excited to have my high school buddy Siobhan come and visit me for a few days where we went bike riding in Central Park, caught the cable car across to Roosevelt Island, tuckered into some serious chocolate at Serendipity, hit Times Square for some Broadway theatre, gallivanted around Governor’s Island at the Antique French Fair and indulged again with extra hot fudge on our Sundae at the Hard Rock Café!
On a personal note, I also kind of, sort of fell in love in this year for the first time in my life. I’m not going to bore you with the details but I met someone who swept me off my feet unexpectedly and managed to woo my heart with a series of “movie moment” experiences that I have no doubt will inspire my stories and scripts in the years ahead. Only in NYC could I have fallen in love like that! …Sadly in NYC style, the demands of work and life didn’t allow it to last too long but I have no regrets and I guess I experienced my first broken heart too.
NYC and I get along tremendously 11 out of 12 months of the year but without fail NYC loves to put me through my paces with a testing month to see if I really am tough enough to call myself a real “New Yoirker!”
So in July, unfortunately I became ill with a severe cold and chest cough, which lingered for the entire month. I persevered through work and also embraced an opportunity to write and direct a music video for a friend I met through my commercial production work. I worked day and night to pull together a concept for the music video and met a magician and rehearsed and planned and invested in my own equipment, which was exhausting but exhilarating too. My DP had to leave the project due to a clash of work so I became Writer/Director/Producer and DP, and I loved it all! And despite feeling ill and almost losing my voice, I had a fantastic crew and cast who made the shoot day a massive success! But sadly, despite all the hard work, the band did not like the end product. The bad luck started to swell around me and within one super hot week of July with over 40 degree temperatures NY hit me with a series of cold blows. Firstly, I began working on a Macy’s commercial which started so well when I drove a 15-passenger van into a car park that was too low and proceeded to scrape the roof of the vehicle as I desperately tried to escape! The Producer then would introduce me with that story in toe to everyone I met from that moment on.
The job was also long hours and had me working 14-16 hour days. One evening I had asked to leave early for a meeting to discuss the music video with my editor and the band to try and salvage the project. The meeting was set for 9:30pm and I was stuck in the office until 9:50pm. As soon as I could escape I ran outside to try and grab a cab and of course mother nature was washing away her demonic heatwave temperatures with torrential down pour (American Rain as my dad would say as it always pours in the moves and never just lightly sprinkles) and it was impossible to grab a taxi, so I ran/swam through the streets in the rain to my meeting. At the meeting I fought valiantly for my vision and we had some ideas to try and re-edit but sadly I left feeling defeated and secretly knowing that all my hard work was for nothing. I trudged to the subway to head home and of course I just missed the train and had to wait 20minutes for the next one. I boarded the next subway feeling cold and wet with the air conditioning sending the temperature to artic conditions. Now, long story short (and to be fair it ended up being a “miscommunication”), but I found out through a stranger on a train that my relationship, my first love affair was over…
Now I think there is a hierarchy of ways to break up with someone, ideally starting with a face to face situation, then phone call, then some form of written communication, email, Facebook, SMS and probably about 20 other form before we get to from a stranger on a train. I left the train feeling numb.
Also in that same week I had a bunch of quarters thrown at my head while walking home, I illegally swiped a friend into the subway station at 11:30pm at night in the middle of Queens with no one around and we got threatened with arrest by a police woman who took all of our details and threatened to cuff us and take us down to the police station for finger printing because we didn’t have US identification on our person.
And finally, for the first time ever on a production, after delivering 100’s of coffees over the past few months alone, I had an order for one single coffee that I managed to spill completely down the front of myself. It happened in slow motion as it slipped from my fingertips and scolded my tummy and legs. I searched to find some comic relief in the situation, which was delivered as the Starbucks staff surrounded me before the cup even hit the ground with two bright yellow “Caution” signs and began to mop up the mess. They had no idea how ironic those signs were. But NYC – I survived! And I look back and laugh…smile…well, grimace at least!
Thankfully, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I met the director Randall Einhorn on the Macy’s commercial. He has directed Wilfred, The Office, Parks & Recreation, Nurse Jackie and has many other accolades to his name. He has also lived in Australia at Mission Beach! Again, long story short, he is the first director I have worked with and I have true respect and admiration. We had many conversations and I mentioned to him that I wanted to develop my own directing skills and move over into the TV and Movie world. And amazingly, he offered me a job on his next pilot with FX called Death Pact starring Tracy Morgan.
Well, that’s just a high/low-lights list of the past few months. Next update I will tell you about my Vermont and Massachusetts expedition (hopefully have a short film to show you), my trip down under for my mum’s 50th Birthday and the tales from my first TV production gig!