The following is a note from Director Braden King that was forwarded to friends and family by Production Designer Richard Wright on the eve of production last summer. The note had originally been written to King’s own friends and family, but he sent it on to cast and crew. A time capsule from the start of the journey that’s continuing in the edit now.
Here is a portion of a note written by the director to his friends and family. I thought it was nicely written.
Not sure if it will answer any of your questions about what I’m doing here, but thought you might appreciate it.
We start shooting in less than a week. Home in two months!
As usual, have been wanting to write. Days are certainly passing quickly. We were on another country-wide scout from last Wednesday to Saturday night and a lot of the loose ends were tied up on that trip. Things feel about as dialed as they can be under the circumstances right now.
I’ve continued to be so impressed with the crew and feel beyond confident in them. Their attitudes and can-do spirit has meant a lot to me – in so many ways they’ve kept ME going. So that end of things feels really, really good. Ben Foster came on the trip with us and the more I get to know him the more lucky I feel that he’s over here with us. In many ways he’s been teaching me. I couldn’t ask for anything more from an actor – especially here. Lubna arrived two nights ago and is working hard on her Armenian dialog as she settles in. The entire team is just working very, very hard to get everything ready for our start in one week. It’s kind of amazing to think and feel that once we start shooting it’s a reverse countdown to being done.
The idea that this could actually be “finished” – at least the shooting – feels incredibly liberating and light and as hard as I know the shoot is going to be, the idea that each day is one more off the list is really exciting. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m dreading it – not at all – it’s more that it’s finally being accomplished. An amazing feeling.
No matter what happens, I think we are making something pretty special here that definitely transcends being just another film. We’ve met such incredible people and seen such incredible things. The spirit of the crew is something to feel. We have crew from the U.S., Armenia, Denmark, Serbia, Peruand the U.K – there may even be more I’m not thinking of. It’s an international production of very committed people who have really taken their own ownership of the project. It’s not mine anymore – it’s theirs. It’s ours.
It never seems like there is enough time to fully prepare but I feel confident that all the work done over the past few years will lead me and the entire crew through the shoot. I should have some time this weekend to make my final pass through the script before we start next week. Once we do it’s going to be a crazy traveling road show, that’s for sure. 35 crew members, ten vehicles (maybe even 12) plus actors… it’ll be something.
To the crew:
My heartfelt thanks to all of you for all of the hard work I’ve seen you putting in. Know that it’s noticed, felt, that your energy has fed me and the film. It’s beyond appreciated; it’s sincerely special. I can’t help but feel that somehow we’ve begun to transcend Making a Movie.
Something else has begun, something wonderful.
“FORGET YOU ARE MAKING A FILM.”
- Robert Bresson, NOTES ON THE CINEMATOGRAPHER
Let’s rock this thing.