Despite everything you do in preproduction, despite every minute spent, each of which saves an hour of headache in production, despite all that labor, what can still go wrong will go wrong. Filmmakers are meant to be tested on the anvil of pain. Maybe that's why I do a film only once a decade. I'd much rather be spending my time ferreting out new restaurants with challenging chocolate-mousse recipes . . .
Locations, for instance, can be a nightmare. They can be frustrating to find, lock down, and keep available until needed. Even if the finding and booking goes smoothly, there can be unforeseen complications since they were not constructed to accommodate the specific needs of film shoots. Hence, the great reliance on sets built in studios where all elements are under the filmmakers' control.
On the other hand, a location can be as mood-inducing as the cinematography, and as much a character as any of the performers. I took my cue from Dawn of the Dead, which was filmed predominantly in a mall-under-construction outside Pittsburgh. This fabulous location was obtained at no cost other than electricity, insurance, and compensation for the night watchman—by giving the mall's owners points in the production. I had a similar plan in mind when I wrote and produced Street Trash: the director's father owned a collision yard on the BrooklynQueens border. We not only filmed there for three months, but cannibalized car stalls to build our makeup, wardrobe, and camera rooms, and even a standing set.
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