August, 2006 Archives

31
Aug

African Sunrise

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN LUSAKA ZAMBIA AFRICA – We were told not to miss the African sunrise, but most of us found our beds too warm and our pillows too deep. It was curiosity that got me out of bed. I couldn’t wait to take an open air shower! I am weird, I know, but it was cool, because there was warm water and pressure and a tree to hang my towel and I could look outside while I shampooed my hair! I walked outside our hut and down the path to my personal chair overlooking the gorge. It was so quiet and peaceful even with the sound of the rushing rapids.

I walked down to our open aired dining room and found the crew and other guests visiting. The conversation sounded loud and inappropriate. I wanted to shout “Be quiet! Listen to the silence!” I wanted to take a moment and sit and reflect and think and just be in the moment. I was not able to do that. We might be in a beautiful place, but we were there to work. I promised myself to get up early the next day and take the time to ponder and think and reflect.

Off to Victoria Falls. We hiked as far as we could. It felt so good to feel the mist on our faces and the clean air in our lungs. Then off to lunch. Food! Yea! Back to the lodge to enjoy the evening at the top of the world. There is nothing quite so odd as blogging on a laptop under mosquito nets. Sleep came quickly. I love it here!

_MG_7002.jpgI managed to wake up for the sunrise. I sat at the edge of the gorge and watched the day begin. I thought how much I wished my family were here to share this amazing experience. I even shed tears and watched them dry in the red dusty dirt. I whispered words on the wind and felt them float away. This place is sacred.

I climbed aboard the helicopter and didn’t even have the chance to think about what I was doing and where I was going. We flew over the falls, over the river, over the elephants, over the villages and soon we touched down and the other crew members climbed on board. Was I just in a helicopter? Yep!

On the way home we toured the animal park. Tons of elephants (Really!) Zebras, monkeys, wildebeests, water buffalo, impalas, and hippos. Now for the long ride back to Lusaka! Back to the cast and our last days of shooting. Will we get it done? Of Course we will. We are the most stubborn bunch of filmmakers I know. Actually, we are the only filmmakers I know!

There have been so many memorable experiences, but for me the lodge and the gorge and my morning of solitude have been the most meaningful. No matter where I go I will always remember the rising African sun.

31
Aug

Soul Break

by Pj in Random

treeClimbers.png

BY PAMELA BOWMAN

Lazy horizon swallows the African light
Dust and dusk silhouette sauntering baskets upon chitenge.
Faithful followers of ancient paths.
Deepen the trail of their children’s graves.

Dark child straddles what once was, is and will be.
Eating the dust that has long been stale.
Wondering wandering waterless way
Back to where nomads wouldn’t linger, couldn’t stay.

Small fires signal the presence of life and home
Boiling the nshima to fill their hungry souls.
Bloody moon half rises to silent sobering eyes
The cries have died without ears to hear and mouths to lie.

Wind carries the morning without a hint of dew.
Young withered hands are hunting food.
Babies wake with stomach empty ache.
Another African morning, more souls to break.

28
Aug

A Promise Of Good Things

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN LIVINGSTONE ZAMBIA – We left Lusaka at 4 in the afternoon. We were told it was a 5 hour trip to Livingstone. Alec was the first to suggest before we even got out of town that we should stop to eat. So technically we left at 5. We arrived in Livingstone at midnight. Once again, Zambians have a different concept of time.

We managed to find the turn off to our hotel, The Taito Falcon lodge. We called the owners, who were waiting dinner, to inform them that we were almost there. At the turnoff the pavement ended and the ruts began. Individually we began to look out into the night and see the bush we were driving in. Our silence became nervous giggles as our bus load of film makers could see the possibilities of the Blair Witch Hunt African style. The road became narrower and steeper. We passed huts and African tents and tall tree houses. We kept driving and occasionally found a small sign indicating that we were on the right road. Cyndi said, “They said that there was only one fork that was unmarked.” Great we silently thought. We didn’t know how close we were or how far we had to go. We just knew we were lost in the African bush. Are there still cannibals in the world? Would we drive off and into the Zambezi River? Would we fly off the Victoria Falls? We started to write a story line for lost or survivor. We all knew who would be voted off and given to those cannibals!

lodge_bed.pngAfter a moment of forever, 40 minutes, we arrived. We exited the bus and were greeted by a voice that could rattle your bones in fear and did! Raspy, deep, brawny South African accent accompanied by a demonic laugh. We clung to each other as we walked single file to where this man led. It was dark, It was quiet. It was after midnight. We followed the narrow path to our outside dining area. Waiting for us beside a campfire was an elegant table surrounded by real luminarias. The buffet serving table was built from small stones. The surrounding walls were constructed of hatch. We had finally arrived in Africa. Even though we were exhausted we wanted to explore, to capture, to feel the very essence of this place.

After an appetizing meal we were led to our rooms. I don’t think any of us could have been prepared for what we found. We slid the bamboo doors open to an open aired room. Inside were our beds covered with mosquito nets. Bamboo walls reached as high as my head. A rock wall divided the bathing area from the bed area. Our rock shower had a tree growing in the middle with hooks for towels! It was so cool! The best part was the soft comfortable beds. We were in Africa! Tomorrow we would discover more, but for now it was just enough of a promise of good things.

27
Aug

Weekly Review Two

by Pj in Random

August 21 2006 Monday:
Great Day- We were shooting at our lodge.
We got 11.5 pages done
Amazing experience — Looks like a great week ahead.

August 22 2006
We spoke too soon!
Ying yang for sure
By the afternoon we were back in the swing.
Amazing footage of bridal shower with drummers and dancing.
It can’t get much worse…can it?

August 23 2006 — Wednesday
Shot exterior shots around town
Went to Mtendere — a high density area.= scary!
Interviewed many of the people = SAD!
Let’s hurry out of here!

August 24th 2006 — Thursday
Lost the bus- Acquired a new bus. Great Bus driver named Benny.
Shot wedding scene at church.
Actress deliberately came five hours late to insult Cyndi. Lovely.
8 crew members left behind in dark to wait for ride- Looked for big dipper- received lesson on constellations in the southern hemisphere from oh brilliant one!

Danny_at_the_dolpins.jpgAugust 25th 2006 — Friday
Shot at ZNBC –violence on the set — oh boy the drama!
Something about the rules applying to everyone.
Shoot at restaurant with Dany.
Dinner at restaurant — Dancing again! Interesting evening.

August 26th 2006 — Saturday
Researched options concerning Pamela’s baggage.
After receiving laundry bill, crew spends morning doing their own.
Boys used latex gloves. They have such sensitive skin!
Went to Lusaka Playhouse for 50th Jubilee.
Was rude and left to go eat dinner and relax and do more laundry.
Cyndi calls her father to wish him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

August 27th 2006 — Sunday
Some go to church. Others slept.
Visit internet café. Blog. Shop for souvenirs.
Plan trip to Livingstone. Get bus arranged. Get hotel arranged. Should be fun.
Crew needs a break. Off we go!

27
Aug

No Problem

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — Zambia’s mantra is “no problem”. After two weeks we have learned that if anyone says “no problem” it means there is a big problem. Example? Well, we were told all of our set locations were arranged. Now in our world that means that if you are shooting at a bank the bank has been contacted and has agreed that a film crew will have access to the location for x amount of hours for x amount of days. In Zambia that means that someone has thought about what bank would be nice to use and when the film crew arrives the bank manager is approached and asked if the crew and cast could shoot for a little while.

OurGangOnSet.jpgOne day we verified with our location scout about the shoot the next day. He asked what time we would be arriving. We told him 8 am sharp. He said “No problem.” Our location scout is also our transportation coordinator. We were waiting by our gate at 7:30 then 8:00 then 9:00. The cast was waiting for their pickups as well. Finally our bus arrived and took us to a different location. We finally arrived to a surprised business owner who quickly tried to accommodate our cast and crew. We could tell he was uncomfortable with us being there, but we had no choice. We tried to get the set ready. As we lit the set our lights blew as did the owners transformer. The room filled with smoke and a smell that was well unbearable. Our location scout said, “No problem.”

21
Aug

Spiders

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, AFRICA – It was like the first night we were there. We could hear the screams in all of our rooms. A spider had been found. The screams sent the insect into hiding, but our crew of ladies searched until the ghastly arachnid was found. The shoes and other accesible weapons surronded the enemy until Ginger protested the killing of the creature. With mouths agape, Ginger approached the enemy. She captured the offender and placed it in its POW portable camp. She slowly carried it out of the compound and ceremoniously placed him outside and watched him scurry away. It should not have been a surprise to learn that she was the one to get the kiss of gratitude from her leggy friend! I guess that could mean the creature is back and stalking us all. Yep, there is Jeniece and MK screaming. The search is on but, with the pacifist gone, the weapons are loaded! We are taking no prisoners and there will be no humanitarian releases.

21
Aug

Weekly Review

by Pj in Random

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA, AFRICA – The other night we filmed each other and talked about our first week. Sort of a debriefing. Some had to stop and think, “what did we do this week?” Lack of sleep seems to create a blur of time. So we decided to recap the week in brief summary form just to help us recall what we did and that we were productive.

Thursday August 10th – Arrived in Zambia – Received VIP treatment. We have arrived.
Dropped off luggage at lodge – became acquainted with resort and its staff.
Went to Lusaka Playhouse – Met the cast

Friday – August 11th – Educational exchange meeting at Evelon Hagn College
Copy scripts for cast
Met with cast for script distribution and contract signing
Script read through

Saturday-August 12 – Continue script read through
Internet cafe
Visited high densitiy area. Interviewed locals for Doc – Village Mandevo
CREW LOVED THIS EXPERIENCE

Sunday-August 13 – Some went to church while others slept
Prepared shoot of N’goni warriors at village
Shot N’goni warriors at village and at resort
COOL DAY

Monday August 14 – Rehearsal at Lusaka playhouse
Set up set at Persian warehouse
Lights blow – power issues
Set break down/return to lodge
research light problem at ZNBC
Shop for lights
PROBLEM SOLVING DAY

Tuesday – August 15 – Pick up new lights
Begin shoot at ZNBC – Late night
LATE NIGHT but we worked!

Wednesday – August 16 – Shoot at Tweekatoni school
Mosquito and rent issues
Rebuild glide cam
Shop for dolly supplies (CYNDI CREATIVE!)
Build dolly
Cyndi and Pamela get lost in search of food for set
Crew returns tired and blood sucked from mosquitos
EXHAUSTION AND FRUSTRATION

Thursday – August 17 – Shoot back at ZNBC
Set improvisions/issues
ARGHHH!

Friday – August 18- Shoot at ZIS
Sound studio
Shoot at ZNBC
GETTING IT DONE!

Saturday- August 19 – Meet with Zambian screen writers- pitched their ideas- feedback
Film country storytellers
Teach local Zambian film students (lights, sound, makeup)
Pizza with all students. Visit with students
Eat out at kareoke restaurant
Dancing at Rumba club
RELAXING AND FUN!

Sunday -August 20 – Church for some
Sleep for others
Shopping for family
Internet cafe
Evening at lodge- relax
Discuss next day shoot-verify with actors on Pick up time.
RESTFUL

Monday – August 21 – Shoot at lodge

20
Aug

A New Week

by Pj in Random

PAMELA BOWMAN LUSAKA ZAMBIA AFRICA – Tomorrow begins a new week. We are spending time recuperating from last week. Yesterday, after spending the afternoon blogging and writing to our families, we went back to the resort. We showered and got dressed. For everyone else that meant clothes unrelated to the film. For me, it meant wearing my whites instead of my jeans. Yes, my luggage is still in luggage twilight zone. Then we went to a restaurant. It had a karaoke system. Only three of us were brave enough to sing. It was fun to be silly or watch others be silly! My family has banned me from singing in public or private or in this lifetime. After dinner we went to a Zambian rumba club. There were moments when most of the crew danced in a circle with wild abandon. Even the old ladies were be bopping to some kind of music we had never heard before. By midnight the majority had had enough of crouds and music and the day. We returned to the resort. Instead of going to bed like mature adults we sat around and talked again until 4 in the morning! What is wrong with us?

Tonight it is back to business. We have a planning meeting for next week. Cyndi is really good about de-briefing the crew and analyzing what has happened and what needs to happen. So I am confident this week we will make great strides in getting more scenes wrapped up.

In the meantime dinner awaits at the resort.

19
Aug

It’s All About the Food

by Pj in Random

zambian_breakfast.jpgBY PAMELA BOWMAN LUSAKA ZAMBIA AFRICA They have pizza here. They have bread. They have bottled water. You may notice we talk about food a lot. That is because we are working so hard that we are always hungry. We decided that we needed to have food on the set for everyone to nibble on between sets. So Cyndi and I left one night to go to the grocery store….alone! Cyndi was driving. She said I couldn’t because I am a student. What is up with that? So she is driving. In Zambia you drive on the left hand side of the road. She kept repeating to herself “Do what feels wrong. Do what feels wrong.” I guess that includes driving down the middle of the road because you can’t really judge how close you are to the wrong/right side. Are you following all of this? Hitting the curb is the other alternative. She managed to do that a few times too. They have round abouts. We thought we were just circling around and around. I couldn’t help but have a Depends moment! It was too funny. We did manage to find the grocery store, but then we had to figure out how to get back to our resort. The only thing I am allowed to say is that getting lost in Zambia was an experience and one we have managed to repeat again and again as we forage out for set food! I am not allowed to discuss details because some things that happen is Zambia must stay in Zambia. As a result Cyndi has hired a private car and driver to take me to the store in the evenings for the set food.

We are also making a move or two here. Last night we all were on the local T.V. show as they highlighted our crew and project. Being on someone elses set felt odd. I thought Cyndi was going to start telling the host how to fix the lights or check the sound, but she refrained and then made the whole crew march onto the set and introduce ourselves. March we did!

We are having fun getting to know and work with the cast of BAD TIMING. They seem as dedicated to this project as we are. They are also as hungry as we are! It’s all about the food!

Another week starts in 36 hours. Thank goodness for Sundays. We all need a day of rest and some more good food! Just don’t let Cyndi drive.

14
Aug

Solving Problems

by Pj in Random

NgoniVillage.jpg

BY PAMELA BOWMAN, LUSAKA, ZAMBIA — I thought the first day of shooting would be today. I was wrong. No news there! We actually had an unexpected opportunity yesterday. Our bus driver is a dancer for the Ngoni warriors. He actually organizes his troup to dance at parties and such. So we thought it would be cool to see his group dance. Our host graciously located a village about 5 miles from where we are staying. So Cyndi had this bright idea to shoot it. She is brilliant like that. It took FOREVER to get there. Lovely roads! Anyways, the dancers were all in authentic dance attire and we landed at the village just in time for a sunset shoot. AWESOME! Our whole crew pulled together and captured amazing footage of these native dancers among these real African huts. Most of the village people were so sweet and curious and cooperative. We loved it. After, we came back to our resort and watched the footage. The colors of Africa are amazing. We are so proud of ourselves!

Then today happened. We started our shoot. We had to wait a couple of hours for our bus. ARGHH! Finally we were off to the theater house and had a small rehersal. Then we went to the location. We got everything set up and the actors were ready, the cameras were ready and we were ready. Lights, camera….wait lights, pop. Big problem. The electricity couldn’t handle the lights. But being the seasoned crew that we are. I mean we did shoot the night before! We remained calm. Figured out we had a problem we couldn’t solve, broke down the set, fed the crew, loaded up the crew and began figuring out how to solve the electicity issue. Cyndi, Jabbes and Jacob, Mike, John and Susan went to ZNBC and received the information they needed for tomorrow’s shoot. Problem solved.

The rest of the crew went back to our resort to do laundry by hand. That is easy for me because I only have one change of clothing. Homeless in Africa, Need of clothing. Please help the airlines find my luggage. I am borrowing one piece of clothing from each crew member! It’s all good. I don’t care because I am in Africa shooting a film! I am also still queen of all card games. The crew has been humilited by the old lady!

Tomorrow is another day. It will be a good one. Hopefully we will be able to blog more often soon. Another problem we are working out. We are great problem solvers. In the mean time we are learning about Africa, each others families and about each other! Scary stuff!

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