Neka ostane među nama, film Rajka Grlića ›› Službeni web sajt novog filma Rajka Grlića 'Neka ostane među nama'. Scenarij: Rajko Grlić i Ante Tomić. Pogledajte prije nego opet prevarite voljenu osobu! Neka ostane među nama, film Rajka Grlića ›› Službeni web sajt novog filma Rajka Grlića 'Neka ostane među nama'. Scenarij: Rajko Grlić i Ante Tomić. Pogledajte prije nego opet prevarite voljenu osobu!

Kevin Stock

It seems like saying "my trip to Croatia to be a part of Rajko Grlic’s film "Just Between Us" was immensely educational" is a vastly inadequate attempt at conveying the mental metamorphosis I was fortunate enough to undergo. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to make it out like great big melodramatic epiphany bordering on the divine, but the experience, I can already recognize, was my first exposure to the next level of filmmaking, specifically, the professional. Again, I cannot cite a single instant of the young filmmaker’s coming of age like in the plot of a hackneyed American teenage date movie (that grosses an insulting amount at the box office). Several small factors ranging from specific technical demonstrations and explanations on the set to simple interactions with the people---who were all beautiful and filled with nothing but good humor, by the way---weighed in on this thing that I don’t know how to name. One could call it understanding, a momentary hyper-acceleration of my education, or something else entirely. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that the man writing this chronicle of the trip is a different filmmaker from the one that left.
The first thing I should probably mention is that this was my first time out of the US. Yes, I know it’s embarrassing. Oh wait, I have been to Canada, but, come on, it’s the 51st state. I know they hate when Americans say that, but when the culture shift of going from the US to Canada is equivalent to going from Illinois to Indiana, what do they want? Anyway, I’m not here to discuss the delicate balance of North American neighborly relations. So, I went to Europe for free and on business. I think that’s a good first way to go. It gives you a good solid reason you can sink your teeth into. You’re not just day-tripping around. So after the long flight and staying up the whole way, there I am with Sven and Anja in Zagreb.
At this point I should note something that significantly weighed in on the shaping of the rest of the trip. I’m an idiot. Just keep that in mind because it will explain a lot down the line. My first bit of tomfoolery, though, is probably the most profound. From the time last year when Rajko accepted us to be visitors on his set through reading the script through the travel preparations and up to and including when I got to Europe and even until maybe our second to last day on set I had no idea what the hell I was getting into or how unbelievably lucky, honored, and privileged I was to be given free access to all the various departments on a functioning, professional film set. I don’t know at what hat-check counter I had left my brain, but this never occurred to me. I made several other tactical blunders in the pursuit of knowledge: taking pictures of the actors while they tried to work, don’t do it, assuming that I was out of earshot of the active set, don’t do it, thinking I knew how to delicately accentuate the costumes of the extras with added flair, don’t do it, assuming the weather is fine everywhere in the world and packing/dressing inadequately to stand around on a set all day either inside, outside, or whatever possible weather scenario there could be, don’t, or simply assuming that I know how to do anything the correct and professional way, don’t do it. There were more, but I feel like you and I are already embarrassed. But, yes, the big mama of them all was failing to grasp the unique luck that Dame Fortune had dealt to me. We were kings of the set, or rather, the king’s chosen peasants who, for some reason, were allowed to witness firsthand the delicate but, in this case, jolly intricacies of the kingdom.
Let me say, though, the man you can learn the most from is the soundman. That was our gig the first day. It was a wide exterior scene in the heart of downtown Zagreb on a set right down amongst all the real people going about their lives. Cheap and authentic extras. Anyway, after my own experiences with the terrors of audio, to say I was skeptical about the reason that they were even trying to record it, especially since an apartment alarm kept going off at random intervals that seemed to strangely coincide with the Action call, is an understatement. So in my own charming brand of idiocy, remember, I sauntered up to the soundman to expertly discuss the futility of audio recording for this scene. "Going to have to ADR this one, huh?" I was met with a confused stare. "Why?" Busted! Here, might I note my surprise that everyone on the crew spoke very fluent English, a warning sign of globalization perhaps, but a pleasant one for a naïve American student. Anyway, before I can be embarrassed by my shallow assertions, he starts to show me his whole rig: his mixer, his recorder, the nuances of a six channel set up, the insurance of lapel micing along with booming, how to control the audio level of the violin in the shot to mix with the voices, why distance and the Doppler Effect can limit believable use of lapels, basically everything I didn’t know. And that was the amazing part. He wasn’t annoyed or angry or dismissive of my ignorance. He was genuinely passionate about his work and wanted nothing more than for me to try and gain a better understanding of the delicate nature of sound recording. That was the first day, my very first experience on set, after, of course, saying hello to Rajko and his wife and helping myself to some coffee from craft services.
So, maybe that was the eye-opener. A passion for filmmaking isn’t about elitism or a sense of superiority, though the clear delineation of tasks and communication in the hierarchy of the film is probably the most important factor in the health and efficiency of the project. Though we were allowed to see various departments during the shooting, that soundman and I somehow always gravitated towards each other for the rest of the film. It’s probably because soundmen seem to typically inhabit the outskirts, just the place for a know-nothing, know-it-all student. And for the rest of the shoot, I was freely asking him questions, and he brought in other mixers and recorders for me to see and gave me clear and simple demonstrations. Why? Because we were both excited for the art and the science. I don’t know. That’s all there was.
And that was the attitude everywhere on the set. Good workers who were genuinely excited to be doing there work from wardrobe up to Rajko, and the producer. You could see it in everyone despite the fact that a film set can seem slow and monotonous at times. That is what I learned the most. You have to know the technical. And you should always be open to learn more about the technical. But the passion for filmmaking seems to carry people through freezing cold days, long hours, endless standing around. I haven’t fully digested the trip yet, but based on an ignorant student’s observations, I think it’s clear that I’ve learned something.

Oh yeah, when going to Croatia, the words Karlovacko and Ozjusko will get you a long way.

Adios,
Kev Stock

12/29/08

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