Monday, March 29, 2010

To Script or Not To Script....

So this weekend I have been invited to go up to Derbyshire, about 100 miles from Nunney and, apparently, quite remote and cold, to visit the set of Jane Eyre. A script supervisor who I've never met in person but have known for a few years from an script supervisor's Yahoo! group, is welcoming me onto their set for the day. She's never met me, but knowing I've worked on network television is taking a leap of faith that A) I'm not a complete nutcase and B) that I know how to behave on a professional film set. The B in this equation being I think the more important question than the A.

So Jane Eyre. One of my favorite books of all time. The wilds of England. Beautiful. Men in frock coats. Do I need to say more?

But what I think is interesting is that in my head, as burnt out and tired of the entertainment industry as I am, the idea of being on this film set is exciting. True, the best part is that I'll be like the producers, sitting in the background, getting to read my magazine and enjoy the takes instead of trying to figure out which hand Rochester used to pick up the candlestick.

But this is good writing. Well, starting with a classically well written book anyway as I haven't read their script. But my last year in the industry I was reading the trite, often silly dialogue of 90210 while working at a network television ridiculous pace with no prep time and a lot of behind-the-scenes production drama.

So it makes me I sick of the industry, sick of network television, sick of production bullshit or really just sick of silly, badly written teenage dramas?

There was a huge part of leaving the industry that was about not having a life. But that's part of network television. On a film set, you shoot for two months and then can be off until you take the next job. In LA, I hadn't done a feature film for now almost three years, the last being Stiletto that I did with Stana Katic a year before she took off in Castle (yay Stana!). But I love the puzzle building of a feature film. In TV, the pace is constantly relentless, the puzzle changes regularly and you don't get time to accurately prep and everything feels, well, almost slapdash. A film set is just that tiny bit more civilized.

We'll have to see what happens when I get up there. There is a magic of a film set that's like no other. And I probably could work here if I wanted to as a script supervisor (after joining the union and all that). I expect I'll have a lovely time and enjoy being there. But the curiousity, at least on my part, is if I will feel that spark again, that joy and excitement of building something as a team. And that I think is what has been lacking in TV. The bond with the director (in TV they change every episode) and the additional burdens of dealing with writers and producers and egos that suddenly become the script supervisor's responsibility. I haven't been on a set since November (a Sarah Silverman commercial for Comedy Central) and haven't been on a narrative project (TV or film) since 90210 last March. But I'm intrigued. So while I feel that I'm done with the industry...maybe I'm not quite as burned out as I thought.


  1. Will be so interested to hear how you feel about it after you've "been there".... let us know.

  2. I hear you loud and clear. Some days on set I am so.. and I do mean SO... over it. Seeming to be the only one who is sweating at the pace and frantically trying to keep up while, behind me, the glam squad idly pages through the latest fashion magazines, and the producers sit beside me, either nattering away at each other or on their iPhones.

    YET... here I am, not having been on a set since October and missing it dreadfully. There's really no life like it. And it just RUINS you for a 9-5 desk job. UGH! I just can't go back to that.

    AND... another version of Jane Eyre? That has to be one of my all-time favorite novels as well (you should go to Haworth while you are in England and visit the Bronte manse and the village - FABULOUS). But I can't see ANY version ever topping the BBC one with Timothy Dalton as Edward Fairfax Rochester!!! Have you seen it?