Talking about work is something I was always very cautious of, since we sign NDLs (non disclosure agreements) and basically any photography on set which can reveal actors, costumes or set design is a big no no.
Well I do love my job and I spend a lot of time doing it. Also I get to travel a little more with it now, which is great. So as I embarked on what was supposed to be a 12 week shoot in Thailand I though I will try, as much as possible, to document my experience here without giving away too much of all those things I cannot talk about.
OK, so without any further ado I will quickly summarise my weeks 1 and 2.
I have arrived on the 28th of September, which was my birthday and Saturday. On this particular project our working weeks will start every Sunday as a first day of the week and typically our days off or weekends will be Friday and Saturday.
I have battled insomnia for the most part of week 1, luckily we were still in prep so my mornings did not have to be very early. The project, as it usually happens, had some set backs with the scripts, because I cannot prep if there are no shooting scripts I had a relatively easy week. On Wednesday night my boyfriend flew in to see me and miraculously healed my insomnia. Together we explored a little bit of the local area, which was really one of the few first times of me wondering off from the apartment. Went for food at “The Loving hut” – vegan chain restaurant and lovely veganised versions of Thai food indeed. Also sells fresh tempeh for 60 bath. (Have not seen it in any supermarkets here so far). By some lucky chance this week started running vegan/ vegetarian food festival in Bangkok, so on Friday and Saturday we also did some street food tasting around central, walked a lot, went to see Joker at one of the mall cinemas here and ate some more at another chain vegan place called “Veganerie”. All in all my first working week in Bangkok felt more like a holiday than work. Highly unusual for this business, but very welcome of course.
Stuff I found interesting:
- Had a vaccine done at one of the private hospitals here. Felt like in a period movie, from the chandeliers to the uniforms the nurses wore. Cool.
- Learned how to say hello and thank you. The longer you keep the sound “ka” (if female, “kap” if you are male) going, more polite you are.
- Really enjoyed Joker. Did not expect that. Also the cinemas in this city! WOW. Kinda makes me feel a bit proud that people build places like that to watch stuff we work on.
- Just after the trailers and commercials at a cinema they ask everyone to stand up to give respect to the king and then they show a quick promo video about his life.
- Malls! Everywhere!
- The main park – Lumphini, supposed to be the biggest? Perhaps. Made me see my local Hyde park in London in a different light.
- The boyfriend can handle some extremely spicy food. How?
Week 2 started with Sunday in the office. It was supposed to be our 1st shooting day, but due to the late scripts we got pushed one day, or so I thought. One of the main talents got injured over the weekend pretty seriously, so it literally put us all on hold from being able to shoot anything. I really feel for the 1st AD (person who schedules the shooting days and runs the set), because, well all of the sudden the whole plan had to be changed very much last minute.
On the happier note, Monday still went ahead as the “Day 1” of our principal photography (the only day during week 2 actually). I always enjoy shooting on location as you get to see places you would not normally visit and this being my first time filming in Thailand it was all more exciting. I met some more of the foreign team (which are us) on the day, who I only previously talked via email, got introduced to the majority of the local team I will be dealing the most during my time here and of course some of the actors. A lot of the dialog in our scripts run in different languages, most of them I do not speak, so it was an interesting challenge to try and keep a track of French with only the basic understanding of it. Luckily actors did not give me too much trouble. Had a little bonding session at the local bar with the other HODs after the wrap and this concluded a pretty good “Day 1” as they go.
Tuesday to Thursday I spent at the office “standing down”, which meant prepping one of the episodes. Normally prep time is very scarce, so having all three days for one episode felt like luxury – silver lining of it all. On one of the evenings we had a date night with a trip to “Veganerie” and AD Astra at a different mall. This time we tried to be more conservative with the amount of food we consumed and almost succeeded. The boyfriend was tasked with keeping me away from all the sugary stuff, because for some reason that week I felt like I had no self control and wanted to try all the treats I could see at the food court, he did good. Proud.
Friday, we did not leave the apartment, ordered some take away, cooked (peanut butter, sweet chilly and coconut milk sauce is something!), had some cocktails and just chilled in the fresh air-coned breeze. Just like Cinderella the boyfriend left me before midnight – had to catch a flight back to Shanghai.
Saturday I spent doing house stuff, figured out how to use the washing machine, did laundry of all my work “German soldier uniform” and went to the mall to get my gel manicure and pedicure sorted. Overall a very productive day concluding one more productive week.
Stuff I found interesting:
- Thai film crew here colour coordinate between departments.
- We had a woman on set taking photos of the crew, I though she was a stills photographer. As it turns out this is a legal procedure to prove that we are actually working, later they present you with the list of those photos in the document which you have to sign to confirm that it is you.
- AD Astra – the highlight of the film for me were the recliner chairs at the cinema.
- Got to drive around the motorways with the taxi driver who couldn’t get off at the correct exit (it costs 50 bath to enter the motorway, by the way). Saw some new parts of Bangkok.
- Animal fair at my local mall. Was supposed to encourage people to get a new pet. Made me feel that I want to free them all.
Cheers with the glass full of elephant!