I spent the day in back-to-back meetings with wardrobe, set design, sound and camera. Super fun. However, when I emerged from the living room/office at 5:55 pm for our first full cast rehearsal I was in for a shock. All of the producers were gone.
No unit production manager, none of our three producers, no production assistants, no one. They were all out shopping for props or doing God knows what.
None of the props were set, no craft service was laid out, no chairs or tables - nothing. The actors would not be walking onto a movie set, they'd be walking into a vacant house.
When I called the line producer I felt like Michael Corleone desperately trying to save the Godfather in the hospital scene. "Nobody's here! I'm all by myself!" Nobody had even thought to put up street signs directing the actors to the location. I had asked for someone to stand at the front gate and guide actors into the backyard. But no producers were even at the location. Nada.
"All by Myself" by Eric Carmen played incessantly in my head.
By 6pm a dozen actors had arrived. What choice did I have? I gave my daily opening speech, explaining our goals for the day, and got to work. Blocking fifteen actors across a 61,000 square foot location with no assistance, no props, no tables or chairs, required some energy. To make things more complicated, several actors missed rehearsal and I was counting on using my producers as stand ins. This is critical for a blocking rehearsal, as someone is eventually going to have to teach those actors their blocking.
In the end, I have to give credit where credit is due. With enormous thanks to our amazing actors, we blocked 52 pages in four hours.
Think about that for a minute. 52 pages in four hours.
Tonight I sent a very, very gentle e-mail to my production team. All I can do is hope tomorrow will be better.