I still remember this moment like it was yesterday. I remember exactly where I was. The way that time slowed down. That knot in my stomach that lurched into my throat when my director approached me in the kitchen and said in a quiet voice:
“Hey, so… we lost all the footage we shot this morning.”
It was our first shoot day and until that moment, everything seemed like it was going well. We got started on time. The craft service was yummy and plentiful. The weather, which had threatened to rain, was holding. Everything was happening according to plan.
But that’s not how filmmaking works.
At the moment in question, we had been shooting for about three hours. We had already called and wrapped one of our actors. As far as we were concerned, we already had nearly an entire episode in the can.
Our editor had come by to collect and test the footage transfer and when he tried to get it off the drive, it wasn’t there.
We still don’t really know what happened, but it quickly got sorted out so that we didn’t lose any more footage that day. We would, however, have to reshoot the entire morning. So I began hoping, praying, and lighting candles to ensure that we could get our actor to come back to set 5 weeks later and that we could create 4 more hours in our shoot schedule without adding a day to the schedule as everyone on the crew already had other work scheduled. And there were still 8 hours to go in that day and I had to get through those 8 hours without letting on to my cast and crew that I was so scared we wouldn’t be able to get our actor back and that we wouldn’t be able to make up the shoot time and so I just wanted to run away and cry and scream and re-think all my career and personal choices to that point.
And that’s why it was my favorite day.
It was one of those days where you really figure out what you’re made of. A day where you have to dig in and get things done. A day where you worry that you cannot do the things you deeply want to do. A day where your heart breaks a bit because you feel like you made a terrible mistake and you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but you just keep moving forward.
These days are not fun. But they are necessary. And we wouldn’t have the good days without them.