The Day Before Opening
I've got everything in my backback go-bag. Teaching animation class, then jumping into the car, Jen takes me to the airport. CAE-ATL-LGA. Q33 bus-7 train to Astor. On to La Mama. There's a show in the theater below ours, so there can be no work until 10pm, so I meet up with the person who will be letting me into the dorm. Artists can actually stay at the theater, which is great since it can cost a small fortune to stay in New York.
I look around, and it's super cute. Bohemian to a fault. Sheets draped everywhere separating where people are sleeping. Wait what? Um. No, it's cool, I can hang. When in Rome and all that.
A gesture to a vinyl rectangle in a hallway. "That's where you'll be." "That's where I'll be what?" "That's where you'll be sleeping."
"The hell I will." Not to be a diva, but if any other professors were staying in an open hallway on a cracked orange vinyl rectangle with eight grand in production gear in a backpack next to them, it would've ended there with me shacking up on the vinyl. I don't require creature comforts, I require my gear to be absolutely safe. And I really don't like being an afterthought. I'm certain it's a misunderstanding about the parameters of where I'm to be sleeping. I decide to take it as a misunderstanding. Luckily I'm a local enough to know a cheap dive of a hotel in the garment district where I can get a locked door for very cheap on short notice. Problem solved (assuming the reimbursements go well).
An aside: barring the comedy, assumptions, misunderstandings, and creative omissions... it's a really bad idea to have me sleep in a situation like that. Exhibit A is my colleague Will Akers from Vanderbilt, author of the fantastic book Your Screenplay Sucks. We roomed together at a UFVA conference, and I had to be relocated due to my snoring. They put me in another building, as far away from others as they could. I'm not making this up.
Before setting up and running cues, I have a bite at a new place. Bareburger. I had a wild boar burger. Amazing.
10pm hits, and i set up the projections. The rear screen is much, much (much much much) smaller than indicated. The first thing I do is get rid of all the projections on the rear screen except one section where an Inquisitor points out all the heretical aspects of a pig in a nun's habit. I move some of them to the front screen, which is not nearly as weird as I thought it would be. The front scrim get drawn back and forth several times during blacked-out sections of the play, and when it's there, it sort of gives this cool halo around the actors. Looks good. Looks amazing with the projections over them.
Many changes needed. No surprise there, I was prepared for that. A lot of the really intricate animation I did ended up getting thrown out. There's a sequence at the end where Bosch's paintings sort of flow around him as he prays to keep his fearful visions. I had all kinds of motion and dimension, it was maybe a little over the top, but I understood the notes to require that. The new notes are "more like a slide show."
Now, if you've ever had an animation class with me, you know that during critique if I tell you something looks like a slide show, that's what in the business we call a Big Fucking Problem. You also know that I'm not a man of small ego. So I'm quite proud of how little it bothered me to chuck all that work and build a sequence that is essentially a big slide show. It looks good, I don't think it messes up the scene.
Part of doing client services and design work is making your case, selling your idea to someone who disagree with you. If you can't make a case for why you think something should be the way it is, then you shouldn't be designing. And this one was not worth going to the mat. Plus it was 1am, and I had to be back at the theater at 10am, with all my changes rendered and set in their cues.