After a successful first day and a good night’s sleep I was floating across the clouds, feeling the return of prose to my cluttered and overtaxed little brain. The drive out to the location was glorious, and (as I have already written) I felt like a writer again. When I reached the White Horse Mesa Bar things were just getting underway. Pirates were milling about, waiting for makeup. “How’s it going, Jerry?” asked Nobby Pete, shaking my hand.
No need to feign enthusiasm. “I feel friggin’ fantastic this morning,” I said, or something like that. I went through them like a tornado of enthusiasm, and I could feel the mood lifting in my wake. Not that the mood needed much lifting anyway; things were going well and the pirates were already building up their reserves of chaotic madness. Today we would be shooting interiors, picking up from where we left off the day before.
There were some worries – flat performances by Ruthie and Miguel the day before threatened to undermine the production, and there just wasn’t enough food.
For all I appreciate the good work that the Duke City shootout is doing, and the unbelievable opportunity they are giving fuego and me, I do have a couple of bones to pick. One of them is about the food. I was told the catering budget for each crew was $200 a day. We have a big crew and we knew that we would have to pick up some of the slack, but this has just been ridiculous. Next year I’m going into the catering business. If Duke City Shootout is paying two hundred clams for peanut butter sandwiches, somebody is getting rich at their expense. At lunchtime Rudolph drove to the Route 66 Casino and rounded up a buttload of tacos to supplement the meal. That made him very, very popular with the crew.
Partly because of the lack of food I skipped breakfast and left the set before lunch time. No sense making things even worse. I had things to do in town anyway, and I wanted a chance to do some writing. I headed for our “Production Office”, the Flying Star Café on Central, where they have free Internet. I took care of some communications, farted around for a bit, and set to writing. A good way to spend an afternoon. I was in my happy place when I got a call from Rudy: “Can you go to the Bird and get us another keg?”
My stress level jumped in an instant, partially fueled by one too many free refills of Iced Tea. Imagining that production had come to a screeching halt I hustled over to the place we had purchased the first keg. “I’m working on the movie with Rudolph,” I said. Rudy had told me they would know the name and could put the new keg on the same tab.
“I don’t know anyone, and I don’t know nothin’ about no movie,” the man answered, responding to my stress with stress of his own. I took a breath to calm myself. It didn’t matter. I just needed to buy a keg. They were out of the sort of beer we had started with, so I explained that we needed whatever beer looked most like the first. It took them a moment to realize I didn’t care in the slightest how the beer tasted. We would just be pouring it out, anyway.
Finally, armed with a few gallons of crappy American light beer I was on the road, gobbling up the miles between the suds and the stymied crew. I blew into the parking lot in a cloud of dust, jumped out and hauled the keg out of the passenger seat. Other people watched me with vague disinterest. “Do they need that inside?” Charles the First asked.
They were not out of beer. They had been planning ahead. Imagine that.
I stayed at the location for the rest of the day, generally not being helpful but enjoying watching the process. After we wrapped for the day, even farther ahead of schedule than the previous day, we paused and had a couple of beers. We were in a bar, after all.
I gave Giovanni a ride back into town, talking shop, mostly. He was on the phone, trying to arrange his next paying job, hoping to exchange the work for more equipment. He was thinking about how much better our opening car shot would have been if we had a longer boom and a remote-control head that could move the camera as it hung way down in the car, tilting it as the boom lifted and the car pulled away. We talked a little bit about writing; he asked if any of my novels would make a good movie. “Yes,” I said with complete confidence. I may be the wrong guy to ask, but The Monster Within would make a great movie. My answer got Giovanni to thinking. “fuego thinks it would take about $80 million to do it right.” Giovanni was a little taken aback by that, but not too much. “Keep making contacts,” he said.