Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year's end.

I made a mistake.
I had a bad feeling about accepting the last commercial of the year, but I did it anyway. It's only a week, I told myself.
It felt so much longer.
There's a feeling I've been getting lately - South Africa's plummeting rand has been good for the film industry, BUT ...
foreigners arrive here thinking that we are cheap, thus inferior.
I have never been treated with so much condescension and disrespect.

Afterwards, I burnt my notebook. I deleted all of the emails.
The bad feeling lingers.

Sometimes the only good thing about a job like that is the sheer relief when it ends.
And knowing that at home, the earth runs riot.

So much pleasure!

The frangipani blooms much pinker this year.

In a few weeks there will be figs.
The curry leaf tree is flowering now - the scent more intriguing than anything I know. At night we make fires, we brush against basil and bergamot.

I want to join the spotted black beetles as they dive drunkenly into pink blossoms. I want a peaceful new year, for you and for me.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A pinch of salt.

While on location recces, I admit - my mind does wander. There's a lot of technical jargon, there's a lot of uhm and ahh. So I stand with my notebook making notes, and then sometimes I drift away for a while. It keeps me sane.

On the Sea Point promenade, escaping a conversation about beard shaving (note to self: dull cutthroat razor before shoot) I was very happily surprised to find a flourishing island of Soutslaai. I know it from the West Coast. Pretty soon the locations manager came over to see what I had kneeled down to photograph. Huh, he said, when I told him, and ate a leaf.

It was sunset, it was Saturday. There were still four hours to go.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes.

My legs were trembling. My kneecaps felt like the moon jellies my mom used to watch at the City Aquarium, and just then something brushed up against my bare shin, and all the hairs stood up on end like I'd been zapped with a taser. Tatari!(Spirit Attack!) I thought, and jumped and screeched, and my dad started to laugh, and in the next Buddhist moment I found myself looking down into the moss green eyes of a tiny white-and-black cat. He gave me a quick sideways glance, then turned his back and started doing that thing that cats do, winding himself through my legs, arching his spine and sticking his tail straight in the air while extending his front paws.
His fur was soft and hot, and just then the temple bell began to ring with a sound so deep it made the green blades of the bamboo leaves shiver, and Dad, who was standing just beyond the stone gate, looked toward the temple and whispered to no one,
which is what you say when you come home.

Excerpt from A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

Every house we shoot at has a cat. The people go away, the circus arrives, and the cats slink around corners, eyeing us from afar.
Commercials are like feature films on speed. Those long hours you hear about - these are them. Getting up at four or earlier, working till nine at night, or later.

When it's over, your head is spinning. You're left bruised and breathless. But sometimes, when things turn out incredibly well, or you realise you're actually having fun while you work, you remember why you chose this life and there's a particular sense of fulfilment that makes you mad keen for more.