A bouncer/security guard at my favourite bar keeps touching my arm and back as he checks my ID.
He’s a big man, and I’m a petite 24 year old female rape victim. It’s not ‘significant’ enough to report, but reminds me I’m not safe anywhere, with anyone. I will always be regarded as lesser than male and therefore free to touch and be expected to take it as a compliment.
A friend of mine and I got into a conversation about privilege last night. To be completely honest, our conversation ran the gambit but a significant portion was about how white males are never aware of the privilege they are afforded and how when you bring it up to them, it usually makes them mad.
We also talked about the privileges I as an African American female with two college degrees have over other members of society but how too often I come off as the Angry Black Woman because I’m assertive. No matter what I do, I will be the angry black woman and this woman, microaggressions, will be someone who can be touched without permission.
“And I want to be in New York for a while before it’s too late. People who think it’s never too late are optimists and wrong. It’s always too late to do something yesterday. And I feel like I’m in love with two women but they’re just cities set in different landscapes and temperate zones. Places unfriendly to cars with fantastic public transportation. San Francisco is the easiest place to live in the world. Everything is a short bike ride away and even on the worst days the weather’s not terrible. And I want to make movies and in New York there are cinematographers who sleep with their cameras. To make movies you need a team of people filled with unhealthy ambition. Those people exist in LA as well but I can’t live in LA. I arrived in LA in the middle of last year to edit my film and we immediately turned our backs on each other. I tried to make up with her, I even bought a car, but she called me a fool. LA kept making dates with me and not showing up. She’d tell me what she was going to wear and what we were going to do together and then she’d cancel when I was already on my way to Burbank, a small fire beginning under my hood, as much smoke as a cigarette curling its way toward my windshield. LA has no respect for time or space because LA has too much of both. It’s a great place to not get anything done. And so there’s New York. And then there’s San Francisco. And it’s a little heart-breaking. I’m going to New York, but I still live here.”—Stephen
It’s weird being in a flat that you recognise off of the telly. Especially when that flat is 221B Baker street, belongs to Sherlock Holmes and is basically a life sized doll’s house, on scaffolding in a hangar, in Cardiff. It’s like Sherlock Holmes goes 3D interactive. You can walk through it, pick stuff up, sniff things, walk behind things. You don’t because that would probably make important people shout at you. But you could.
Benedict had a week, and made a surprisingly good sound. I have no doubt he would be a good violinist if he had the inclination.
I get the shooting schedule through. Violin is needed from Tuesday- Saturday- so I head down to Cardiff for the week.
I’m called for 12.30 on the first day- but I am woken by a phonecall at 8 asking if i can be there in 20 mins.I say yes of course and then scrabble around frantically trying to a) wakeup b) get dressed c) wake up.
I go and stand on set, (ie in Sherlock’s living room/hallway or kitchen, 221B Baker Street) when he’s doing a scene with the violin in as he sometimes has questions between takes.
Amazingly, they are also shooting scenes which don’t involve the violin (IMAGINE!?) during which, I sit around watching the monitors and getting to know some of the cast and crew. I also get into a bit of a loop with Martin Freeman -who plays John Watson: He is the master of comic timing and understatement. He has an exceptionally expressive face, which you’d know if you’d seen him- which of course you have- he’s Martin Freeman for god’s sake. What’s wrong with you???
It’s a very long, demanding scene (as many of them are) with a lot of violin, and his playing is interrupted frequently. Sherlock is meant to be composing the music he’s playing as he goes along- so he breaks off mid phrase to write some of the melody down, then re-starts, then breaks off to swerve a question from Watson. So I need to see him; to play when he lifts his violin up and stop when he stops.
But Benedict also needs to see me; to copy my bowings and to ghost what I’m doing. Between us we decide that the best way to do that is for me to be outside the window (which he will look through)- my back to him while watching a monitor of what he’s doing in the scene. I have headphones on to hear the cues too. We try it. I am too low, Ben can’t see me. They put me on a scissor lift. Too low. They raise the scissor lift. They put one, then two boxes on the scissor lift for me to stand on. This works although I feel slightly precarious because the guard rail is now below my knees and the “baker street’ backdrop in front of me is moving in the wind- messing with my head, like an evil balance prankster ghost, and throwing me off balance.
backdrop and lift
I watch Ben on this monitor while he watches me through the window.
I gaffer tape the music to the monitor. They are recording the sound. It’s quite scary as I could conceivably balls up the takes. Occasionally Benedict knocks on the window to ask about hand positions. Given how much else he has to think about while playing an instrument entirely alien to him (his multitudinous lines, which hand he uses to point, being on is mark) he does remarkably well.
As with other scenes they shoot many different angles.
Even though I am watching him, watching me, watching him and concentrating…and we’ve been doing the scene for a while and I’m standing on a high thing with wobbly walls, trying not to fall off.. even given all of that…when it comes to the close up of Sherlock’s face when he’s playing this sad theme- he looks so forlorn and so deep in his own sorrow that I get overwhelmed with sadness and fill up. That’s good acting that is.
I tell him afterwards that he made me cry. He beams…. Pfft. Actors.
The next day and Benedict has asked for a lesson in his trailer before going on set to film a scene where he plays Auld Lang Syne . We never managed to practice this one before as there was so much else to do. Hand positions, bowing straight, stance etc. And he only needs to be able to fake it too- it doesn’t have to be pitch perfect. But it does. Because he’s Benedict.
I am stunned as Ben picks out the tune himself- I give him a starting position and a finger (oh hush) and sit aghast as he picked out the notes He had pretty much nailed it in ten minutes having only had three proper lessons- none of which was on the tune. We’re so excited, we spontaneously high five (something which I doubt either of us would normally do) and I decide he is something of a genius.
My bit done, I creep out…the rest of the cast and crew still have 3 weeks’ shoot left. (Some of which get interrupted by riots in London)
Once the edit is done , David Arnold and Michael Price set about writing the score. They also check the violin scenes for synch as there was no playback on set - that would have compromised the fluidity between dialogue and music. (My previous recordings were more as guides than the final thing). Some of the shots now cut between beginnings and ends of songs, and they look very beautiful but the songs still have to sound as the songs themselves. So I re record the pieces. It’s a balance between keeping the tune as close to the original as possible, and back- matching the bowing, so I adjust my playing to fit with the picture as best as possible.
I am so grateful to have been a (tiny) part of the second series of Sherlock, having enjoyed the first series so much as a viewer.
I watched Scandal in Belgravia all the way through for the first time last night when it aired on BBC1 and was so glad I hadn’t read the script properly beforehand. It was a real treat to see it and without knowing what was going to happen next.
It also means I get to read the script now, with a cup of tea and some slightly stale mincepies.
School started this week. I’m always excited about the possibilites a semester has during that first week. Usually you remember why you started going to school and how much you love the smell of old books and making new friends. I never thinking about how I barely made it out of the last term with my life and sanity close enough to intact for me to be considered alive and clinically sane.
No, I always thinking about the possibilities of how this semester might change my life. How I might open up a corner of my brain left foggy from that one class in high school where we talked about theoretical consequences of time and space travel. I think of the time I learned the name of that one thing I’d notice my entire life but was never able to put my hand on and the one class that taught me how to correctly cite a research paper. I think of the class where I met my best friend and the class that taught me how to ask the right kind of questions.
I always wonder if this will be the semester I say something in class that will endear me enough to the professor that they recommend me to be their assistant on a ground breaking project that will change the world in three years. Will this be the semester where I sit next to that one guy who will irritate me for the entire time but ask me out on the last day of class for coffee which become a weekend of talking about life, love and world domination that ends in a weddings in two years? Or will this be the semester that spring boards me into being picked up one evening by a black sedan which whisks me off to a government facility where I’m given entirely too much money to do a job I can tell no one about?
What I never thinking about is the suffocation. The feeling I get after reading the syllabus and seeing that I have to write three papers, do three class presentation, complete a major media project and write a 18 page research paper while working a full time job. The feeling of being overwhelmed but having no idea how to get out of a mess that started $24,000 and two years ago.
The feeling never surprises me. Cold hands start in my belly and slowly reach the base of my neck. Their grip is so slow panic never occurs to me. I just start to feel the choking happen. Even then I don’t panic because I’m so busy focusing on not paying attention to the choking and figuring out how I got my self in this mess that I can’t bring myself to acknowledge that I am dying. I also know that the choking isn’t the problem, it’s just the sign that something is wrong and I have to fix it right now or I will go from dying to dead.
Usually the feeling only last a few seconds and the hands retract back to their home among my doubts and fears. With them goes my memory of them and I forgetting all about their existence until I feel them suffocating me again. No, I never thinking about the negative things that happen mostly because they teach me just as much as the positives do. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the choking but I don’t thinking I’ll ever be sad that it comes either.
And without the so-called piracy, you would never have discovered or gotten into it to begin with.
What the people behind SOPA don’t understand about the internet and sharing is that people have done this for centuries. Shared new music, movies, books, picture they like, how to make cool clothing, excreta, excreta, excreta. Sharing didn’t happen because of the internet. More than likely, the internet happened before of sharing.
The only difference between that sharing and what happens on the net is the amount of time it takes share something and the bad economic times we are currently living in.