Archive for production

Screen Angle

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2012 by javedbabar

“Keep moving please!” said the traffic cop. “No stopping here. There’s no entry.”

Sami was annoyed. He thought that by coming on a bicycle he would get a break, but the cops were treating car drivers, motorbikers, cyclists, skateboarders and pedestrians the same. He wondered how wheelchair users would fare.

“But I am part of the production crew. I am the local project manager for the screening.”

This had no effect. The cop waved him on and said, “Well you should know better then. Nobody is allowed through this way except VIPs. Do you have VIP credentials?”

“No, I don’t.”

“Well, go around the back like everybody else. Once you pass through security, you’re in.”

It was strange to see the heart of Lucerne cordoned off. It was an important event, he knew, and they had to take precautions, but it didn’t seem right somehow.

The global launch of the film HUMANITY could have taken place in London, Tokyo, Mumbai, Paris or New York, but the director had had his vision for the film while climbing mountains here. The white bulk of Mt Alba at one end of the valley, and dark bulk of Mt Negra at the other, had caused him to “transcend the monochromicity of the world, while retaining its bipolar archetypes.”

What this meant, nobody really knew, but he was a world famous auteur at the peak of his creative powers, so it didn’t matter. He declared this film the “cumulative cultural container” of his lifetime’s work, and said that it must be revealed to the world in the place where the world had revealed it to him.

The producer had wanted to show the film on the railway tracks to signify “humanity at the crossroads,” and his people had conducted negotiations with the provincial government, village council, railways department, health and safety boards, and emergency services, but had been unable to convince them to allow this. So instead they had settled for The Place, the communal square in the centre of the village.

It took an hour to get through security. By the time Sami was on location, the scaffold and screen were set up. He knew that the screen was twenty by forty feet, but in situ it looked much bigger. The film would look awesome on that.

He scoped the area, paced it out, and ran through things in his head. VIPs were here near the trees, premium diners there near the fountain, ordinary ticket holders on the terrace, and press near the bar.

Hang on! The VIPs would get the same view as everybody else. That wasn’t right. He had been told that VIPs must get the best view. He would have to move the screen, maybe angle it a little towards them. He called over a technician.

The technician said, “Look pal, it’s all set up. It will be tricky to move it. Why don’t we just leave it there?”

Sami felt he had no option. “I’m afraid we have to move it.”

“But isn’t this film called HUMANITY? Why don’t we give everyone an equal view?”

Cinema is a cultural artefact. By exploiting the universal power of visual communication, it is used for entertainment, education and indoctrination. Individual images are shown rapidly, creating the illusion of motion. One cannot see their flickering due to an effect called persistence of vision, wherein the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after its source has been removed. Thus, things persist, whether we like it or not. One such thing is social privilege.

Sami said, “We need to move the screen for the VIPs. Can you please call the rest of the crew.”


Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by javedbabar

The boys were drooling. These weren’t just any girls baring flesh before them, it was the HOT TV girls. Not all their flesh of course – for this was a respectable village, with families, seniors and religious folk – but enough to be racy. Plump curves were pushed out, and where appropriate, pushed together. Neon hot pants and bra tops did a great job. They came in bright yellow, hot pink, electric blue, and lime green. These hot sorbets boiled young blood at the heart of town. All the boys appreciated this show of pneumatic female charms, but not everyone knew who they were. One boy caught a girl’s attention and asked, “What is HOT TV?”

She puckered her lips and gave him a saucy look, and said, “Don’t you know it when you see it, baby?” The boy went as pink as her bra top, and as his friends laughed, touched upon coral red.

Sophie was the only girl not wearing hot pants. She was in blue jeans and white T-shirt, official uniform of producers worldwide. Sometimes the girls made her feel sick; their carnal display was a step back for feminism maybe fifty years, when men thought there were only two kinds of women, the housewife and the party girl.

These girls were out of tune with modern female aspirations. Didn’t they wish to be respected for their brains rather than their bootys? Their display served a purpose though; they were honey pots, sticky sirens, flirty fishers of men. In a small village on the edge of the bush, where jobs were scarce, they were generating legal, taxable income. Some received additional welfare, but at least they were earning something.

The girls were also an asset in the office. HOT TV shared a space with a web development company, COOLSPACE. This bunch of nerds had little experience of women, except of course for hot babes in the games they devised, for whom they created names, vital statistics, clothes – or lack of them – and hair colours. Contact with real women caused them to freeze. If there was any kind of technical problem, all it took was for a HOT TV girl to wander over to COOLSPACE, and the issue was soon resolved. Sophie’s attempts were usually less successful.

Sophie produced HOT TV’s live shows. She dealt with every aspect of production, including idea development, screenwriting, set design, casting, fact checking, shoot supervision, and often directing; she was responsible for the overall quality and final delivery of the film.

Today’s shoot was more bearable than usual. There was no water or jelly involved, just people and location. Her job was to make a film to promote the new space at the centre of the village; the redeveloped car park now called The Place.

Groups of HOT TV girls were stationed at the highway, at the town’s roundabout, and of course at The Place. A steady stream of guys was attracted to the desired location, where they were interviewed and filmed. She needed vox pops and some mischievous antics; that always pleased viewers.

Guys arriving at The Place were seated at tables and served local food and drink. This week had an organic agenda – salad plates, vegan sweet loaves, strawberry hummus, and herbal iced teas. Some of them wanted natural beef burgers and sustainable hot dogs, but they were long gone. Sophie took a quick break. She went to her truck and then the washroom; she made some urgent calls and returned.

The HOT TV girls were all huddled together, and the boys had all gone. “The bastards groped us!” they shouted in chorus; all were angry; some were crying. “They said we were flirting, and they groped us.”

“Oh my God!” said Sophie. “Have you called the cops?”

This was a stupid business, thought Sophie, HOT TV. Teasing guys too far. But it allowed single mums to earn a living. She wondered if there was a better way; something more wholesome; something better for their children. What about TOT TV?