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  • Writer's pictureRodes Phire

DIRECTOR'S DIARY - 7 Days after wrap

I wish that I was able to write that it was the most wonderful shoot ever.

However, wishful thinking has seldom been a benefit.

Judy Garland's voice echos in my head, "Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my."

But instead of lions and tigers and bears, it was Covid and fires and hot air... oh my.

A team of nearly 30 women showed up to rock it. However, as prepared as we were... We weren't prepared enough.

Our leadership team was truly Rockstars, my INCREDIBLE producers and 1st AD ran the entire week prior to production, with the utmost rigor, double checking everything and supporting me best they could. This created space for me to mourn my uncle's death... to finalize all of SAG requirements... and to manage any last minute hiccups.

SUCH AS: SAG requires 72 hour COVID testing prior to production, and then again after 72 hours of work. Asking people to show up and play for a reduced pay is hard. Asking them to inconvenience themselves in the middle of a pandemic and go to a SAG approved testing facility... well, that really sets one up for a vertical climb.

Yet, we did it. Miranda went to the local hospital, Treisa headed over to Dodger Stadium and others dispersed to facilities to wait, wait some more, and then jam a q-tip up their nose...

CUE the hot weather report. Allison checked-in and reported that temperatures were going to be in the hundreds. HUNDREDS. Like, WTF?!?!

So I had to pivot, and we re-worked the schedule to move exterior shots to the morning hours.

Then, of course, the day prior to DAY 1, the AC goes out in the Stage that we were planning to shoot on... so we again, we pivoted, we headed to the location, re-examined the options and adjusted... Which also meant, that everything has to be re-contracted to reflect the changes.

Saturday morning, we get to set and the camera build is taking longer than expected, three times longer than expected.

We lost any cool morning air and were now force to try to make up for time lost in excruciating temperatures. Oh, and we are all wearing face masks, and shields, and staying 6ft a part from one another.

CUE the fire.

Yes, you read that right. CUE the mother freaking FIRE.

A wildfire that will eventually consumes nearly 31'000 acres, is less than ten miles away from our location. Lauren activates and begins to process an evacuation plan. We have to include time to load equipment and we must move indoors to avoid HORRIBLE air quality.

Lions, and tigers and bears, oh my.

This army of women, truly knocked it out of the park.

I am unable to express my true emotions about those who showed up unprepared, who were not team players and who did not play well in the sandbox.

Because that's on them. And yes, sadly that existed. I mean, if any other job called me into these circumstances, I'm not sure how I would react, especially if my investment was so minute. So there's no judgment there, simply acceptance and wisdom gained.

Yet, in the end, we found OZ, we: Lauren, Silver, Allison, Mackenzie and myself, discovered all of the beautiful lessons learned journeying together to the Emerald City, that we built, yes, that we created. I mean, wasn't it all in Dorothy's head? And in that team creation, the Emerald City came into existence. The story and the performances were FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC. The Women who championed being on the frontline, who showed up prepared to boogie, and held that line, were AMAZING.

I couldn't be PROUDER to work and create beside them, and will most certainly DO IT AGAIN.

It's always about the ride.

Now I can't wait to edit this footage.

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