As many of you know, this is the holiday I created to celebrate my life as a writer. It always falls on the day after a taping of The Nite Show, and I take the day off to write and properly enjoy the holiday.
Today, I had some intriguing Deep Thoughts swimming around in my head to add some excitement to Writer’s Day.
Danny, the host of The Nite Show, asked me over the weekend if I would shoot a sketch for this week’s taping. I’m not one for change or breaking from routine, but I jumped at this opportunity without hesitation.
I’ve always had a (not so) secret desire to be a director, and I’ve missed being behind the camera. A simple sketch in a relaxed, friendly environment, would be the perfect way to get my feet wet on the other side of the lens.
I had to shoot my own films back in the good old days at NYU, but lately, my camera time has been limited to selfies or shots taken along my running route.
My cast was Danny, The Nite Show Band, and a local celebrity who’s been on The Nite Show multiple times.
As you can see from the above photo that I took during a break in the shoot, the mood was light, and there were balloons.
I was nervous, but excited. I discussed the idea with Danny, who had some basic shots in mind. Then I chatted with Ric, our local celebrity, and we brainstormed ideas for the ending, which Danny had pretty much left up in the air.
Ric and I riffed some ideas, and I’m thrilled to report that he used one of mine for the grand finale. I’ve always said it helps to have a writer behind the camera.
The shoot went pretty flawlessly. The Nite Show isn’t about rehearsing, so I wanted to get everything done in one take. I did, however, insist on a second take of one of the shots because I hadn’t been happy with my camera work.
The only hiccup in the shoot came when we were all gathered in the bathroom for a key scene. Eight men and a camera in a less than spacious men’s room should never be the norm, and when someone wandered in to use the facilities, he got an unexpected surprise.
Everything went swimmingly once that young man found another bathroom to use. I told Danny I definitely wanted to shoot more sketches. Being behind the camera is addicting, and I’m ready to do it again.
Like right now.
This morning, Danny and I were chatting online, and I brought up the TV series I’ve created based on my time at NYU.
Danny caught me off guard by asking why I don’t just shoot it myself since I have the background and clearly enjoy the work.
My immediate thought was that it was ridiculous. I have interest in the series from a TV network, and I want to provide them with the most professional version of the Pilot as possible. As much as I would love to direct it myself, I don’t have the experience or the assets to take on an hour Pilot with a large cast, multiple locations, and so much riding on how it turns out.
That seemed like the safe, intelligent, and confident answer.
All day long, though, I’ve been asking myself if I could shoot it on my own. I’d love to go all Kevin Smith on it, shoot my passion project, and turn it into an indie darling, but I’m not sure that would be wise.
Yes, I would love to direct episodes of my TV series, hell, I’ll even direct the Pilot, but I want a seasoned production team behind me. This project is far too important to the future I have planned to ruin it because I get too ambitious.
I want to take the risk, but at the same time, I think the smart move is to make an amazing first impression with my writing and a Pilot directed by someone who’s got more experience behind the camera.
The next step, though, would be learning everything I can from the Pilot’s director so that I could take the helm for future episodes once the series gets a full pick up.
I definitely can see the entire Pilot, shot for shot, in my head, and would want to be there on set, plotting it out with the director, but I don’t think low budget, guerilla film making is the way to go here.
Give me the money, equipment, and a full crew, and maybe I’ll change my tune.
I certainly want to get behind the camera again, and I’d love nothing more than to do it on the set of the TV series I created. What a great idea to ponder on Writers’ Day…
And make sure you tune in to The Next Show next week to see the sketch!