The following story is the second in a series of entries exploring Evan’s experience with his first job on a film set working as the 2nd Assistant Camera for “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” which is available on DVD as of today, September 7th. The series is divided into three parts: Pre-Production, Production and Aftermath.
After wrapping on “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” my first priority was to reestablish contact with the rest of my friends. I had essentially dove head first into an aggressive production and managed to drop off the social radar while doing so. I hadn’t known what I was getting into that first day, but I sure knew that I had loved it by the day after.
Saying goodbye is always bittersweet, but was especially so on this film. I had felt mentored by many of the crew who had put up with my naivity and as such I grew to become good friends with many of them over the course of the month.
Many people compare production, especially longer ones, to summer camp. And like the last day of camp when the parents come back for their kids, picking up my car from Cooley’s house after the wrap party I couldn’t help but feel sad it was over and yet yearning for the open arms of home. In short, GDE had kicked my butt and I was exhausted. We all worked really hard.
I was lucky enough to being work soon after GDE wrapped on another feature I’ve mentioned on this blog, Below the Beltway. That job was obtained through crew I met on Ghosts Don’t Exist. Many people say your 2nd job is the most important because it shows you didn’t mess up on your first. It made me feel good that not only was I able to work on a feature length production, but able to capitalize on more opportunities. A career in film was always what I strived for and it was exciting to kickstart it before I had even graduated college.
Slowly but surely, gigs fell into place like a puzzle nearly finished. I owe almost all of my work to “Ghosts Don’t Exist” and the people I met through it. Cinematographer Kunitaro Ohi is a good friend and great boss – someone who I not only enjoy working for but admire the work he can achieve armed only with a keen eye, a few lights and a camera.
After awhile, I had moved on to other projects, diving head first into positions with different responsibilities. “Ghosts Don’t Exist” had escaped from my conscious memory while we all awaited the edit to be complete.
It wasn’t until a full 10 months later that I would see the completed film at the DC Independent Film Festival. I was proud to see my name appear on the screen in a movie theater next to all the other cast and crew who had worked so hard.
In the end, “Ghosts Don’t Exist” proved to be worth my month long commitment by rewarding me with further jobs and valuable friendships. And when I pop in the DVD with my family, I know I will be able to stand proud over something that I helped create no matter how small a part I played. Filmmaking is a collaborative art and look no further than Ghosts Don’t Exist for the culmination of this philosophy.
Part 1 – Pre-Production
Part 2 – Production