the feeling the first day that it wasn't real. literally waking up and thinking "i'll be able to check email between shots like i always do".
standing on set with darius khanji, my director of photography, the man who shot "seven" and "evita", and watching him creating light in space that i thought didn't need light. and then learning what light really meant.
the way darius would look up at me after each take and say "you are happy? what else should i do?" and thinking to myself "oh god. he's asking ME."
the night i went out with paul norman and we talked about how it was going. and he told me i was doing well and that people liked working with me. and i told him i could tell a good story, i could pick talent, i knew my music, but everything else? i was just blessed to have people better than me, teaching me. cause that was what was going on.
the flow of the amazing argentine crew by day one. the way we got TWICE the shots we ever got with any other director. the models who had never acted, yet were more natural on camera than most actors i've ever cast. because i just told them to do what they would do if they were really in the situation. and to not do anything else.
the constant, constant support.
shutting down diagonal norte, the main boulevard of buenos aires, and spending the day shooting set up after set up down the length of the street.
sam and nina. their simple, friendly, joyous chemistry. the way it radiated through the lens. that day was simply magic.
the way every time sarah ruba got on camera, i barely had to direct her. the way she reworked a scene to make it more comfortable for everyone, including me. just on instinct. the way the camera "ate" her every expression.
the stairwell at that one location, that made me feel "blade runner" but see "breakfast at tiffany's" every time nina scampered down them.
looking up and seeing connie watching me, carefully, between takes. then handing me a water bottle to keep hydrated. then sending me to bed early.
hanging butterflies on the bedroom wall, randomly, and seeing a room come to life with richard's art direction.
watching Lights perform on film with a big crew for the first time. this little pint sized powerhouse with a voice from out of nowhere. and connie and michael manacop rockin the all asian backup band, black lips, extentions and all.
the way the crew would smile after each take.
the day people started introducing me as "the director", and i didn't know how to respond.
the day people started calling me "sir", and i still didn't know how to respond.
the way i never ever felt truly tired. i felt alive. i wanted more.
the way kira would smile at everything i asked, walk away and get on the phone, then later, calmly say, "it's done, love".
the way phillipe, the assistant cameraman, and i grabbed a digital handheld and ran to an alternate location with yamila and karim, a grip, rita, richard, and a bounce card, and rattled off two critical sequences on the street while the rest of the company made a move to another location so we could get the shots and keep the schedule.
creating alternate takes on the fly.
living COMPLETELY IN THE MOMENT FOR SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT.
convincing people we needed sequences in slow motion, and watching their faces when we did playback.
watching richard creating a traffic jam. and a garage. and a jewelry store. and a neon-lit chinatown. and gasping a little inside every time i walked up to them because they were so real, and yet too beautiful to deserve "real".
watching the style team cry as we played the raw footage back on the wall of the alley the last night.
feeling the crew applaud me at wrap. and knowing they deserved the lion's share, but were generous enough to literally share.
dancing in the street after the final take to michael jackson's remixed "i want you back".
saying to myself "that's my film".
and having paul say "no one can take that away from you now."