Bonsai Girl – Final Day (of my involvement)

2010-02-04 13-42-02

Daisy the assistant producer (my assistant) had gotten us the location of the day through a friend of hers. It was a courtyard café in the hutongs, that her friend owns. Therefore she felt she had added responsibility (in her job) on set… Which was followed by a bigger ego … Then followed by referrals to herself as the producer of the movie. Yes, not the assistant producer. SHE NOW KEPT CALLING HERSELF THE PRODUCER!!! Every single person that was contacted that day through anybody involved in the film would always ask for Daisy the producer. So, it seems that her mutiny had started first thing in the morning.

When I told our runners to go and fetch breakfast McDonald’s for the crew – Daisy was on her way personally to 7-11 buying sandwiches and noodles. Ensuring that most of the crew got a double fix of breakfast, most of the food going to waste. This would come back to haunt us – and is the fundamental reason why everything went to hell later that night. McDonald’s and Noodles? Shit like that just don’t happen on a movie set!!! Daisy Daisy …

The courtyard café, I would later find out, was a front to try and sign us all up for a calligraphy seminar on weekends, with Daisy getting a cut of the profits. If we didn’t get out of the café before 6pm, we’d not only have to sign up for those lessons but also pay a 5000rmb fine. Daisy!!!

Things went slowly for the first few hours, the director was in his groove this day thankfully and did a very good job with the actors. The cameraman continued to be spaced out in his own world of knobs and buttons.

Before this day, it had been me and Daisy trying to get people to work faster and finish on time, this time it was actually me and the director, Efraim … trying our best to get things done in a speedy manner. Why did Daisy all of a sudden decide to ask for continuous lunch breaks and food breaks for the little girl actress? Angrily declaring all the time that we were starving her … this only 45 minutes after the little girls second McDonald’s meal of the day. So, for a full one hour we watched the little girl on Daisy’s insistence eating another full meal – which she obviously couldn’t . There were other instances that day of our assistant producer delaying the shooting as much as possible, for what? To get us well over time and into a 5000rmb fine… yes, this was her friends place. When conspiracies happen … they happen!

Finally after arguing with Daisy about her 4th attempt to not starve the little girl, I lost it and walked out, slamming the door behind me. For some reason – I’m afraid the director might have thought it was aimed at him (because he’s sensitive), but it wasn’t – what was going on behind the scenes was miss Daisy trying to take over the whole production, something that she continues to do even if the film has long since stopped shooting. Daisy Daisy!!!

In many way’s this was the day that the director came into his own, faced with an actor that just could not act, a little girl that suddenly became hungry every 30 minutes and two producers reaching boiling point.

He managed to find solutions for the actors, which not everyone can handle given this kind of a situation. It’s a shame, because this was actually the first day, that despite the over acting of one actor and all these problems, the director kept his cool and if it hadn’t been for me and my assistant things would probably have gone much better. It’s a lesson that I learned, and of course what I expect of a producer, is that you always need to both encourage and protect your director.

I’ll give producing a rest for the next foreseeable years, since I failed in every regard this time.

So, Daisy took over and got her rebellion – most of the crew stayed on not because of her, but because they believed in the director, he; throughout the process managed to direct and lead like a professional despite all the childish behavior of most of the other crew, including his autistic cameraman.

If the film turns out to be a good film it’s entirely thanks to the director, if on the other hand it turns out to be something it wasn’t meant to be, then he’s more than welcome to blame everybody else – and he’s entitled to it.

So, thanks Efraim Smits.

and Daisy knows what she can do…

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