Javkhlan “Jack”, our 1st AD, left us. Not for good, only for a bit. He’s doing a Robert McKee seminar in Beijing. We miss him. He’s a great guy and really good at what he does. But that’s what happens when you’re doing a micro-budget debut movie: people got other things lined up, got to make money during the shoot, work in evenings or keep doing their day job while they work, write, act, compose, shoot for you.
Debut films suffer from this fact, but people gotta make a living. Like our drivers, who kept putting the seats back in our equipment truck, after we repeatedly and kindly asked them to take those seats out and leave them out. And it’s not that they are not willing to co-operate. No, we could descry the mystery behind their strange daily routine. Not able to survive in Ulaanbaatar from low-budget-filmmakers pay alone, they are working as cab drivers during the day, offering a micro-bus taxi service whilst we’re shooting. Lucky we Germans did not bring other work with us, but keep doing what we’re doing. The challenges of a nano-budget production put our director in tough situations, but he takes it like a man.
Out of a crew of about 30 people there are perhaps 26 locals and we are the only four foreigners on board. Communication is a challenge each and every day, but at least my German team can not run off to do rounds as a cabby.
I was very lucky to have a great bunch of people with me. I know them so briefly and I’m in love already. Most in love I’m with my department: my 1st AC, Lambert Strehlke, who took the amazing rain image below, and my great key-gaffer Hanna Mayser, in fact the reason for every sane person to move to Berlin. But wait. Lambert is in Munich. So – where to go? Hm.
We’ll ask Jack for advice. Soon he’ll be back, Jack.