Yesterday, I finished shooting my film.
It was tense (intense) at times, wondrous and a great environment and I really feel fulfilled in a lot of ways. The process of filmmaking itself is so great because it really allows you to find in yourself hidden reserves of energy that you never knew you had. It’s like something out of a comic book, as if you were Clark Kent in Smallville realizing you could fly (or The Blob realizing “hey i guess im really fat :|)
But I’ve waxed lyrical already about my experience filmmaking. I can’t thank my crew enough, including my parents, all of whom were on point, adding to the atmosphere and working hard past their lazy-bone director.
This post is not about filmmaking.
This post is about the morning after.
A gory film, carnival-atmosphere, like something out of Rob Zombie-Malone. A man is being shot at in front of a red velvet curtain while a bald clown laughs “HAHAHA! HaHAha!”
What a weird dream. I don’t even normally remember my dreams. But I remembered this one. Why do I feel so weird?
It’s 6am and I’m lying fully dressed on my bed, my phone on its charger. My head is reeling when I realize: I have no idea how I got home last night.
Backing up, it was the eve of wrapping picture for my film, I knew that and I had decided to go out for drinks with anyone with my crew who would have it. The place we were going was a cheap bar I’d been to before with 4 dollar shot-and-a-beers and I had drank a few (maybe 3 or 4) and my DP Chadd was having a conversation with my gaffer about how Steven Soderbergh was a good director, while I thought he was fucking terrible. Beardo-Malone, who was also there, kept on butting in trying to change the topic to weird Paul Schrader movies from the 70s and 80s.
I even remembered further back in the evening from the whole day of shooting to introducing Jason Beasly (the gaffer-and-general-good-guy) to Trapped in the Closet, which I in turn was introduced to by friends Dan Pleck and Najia Malic-Dar.
I remember it specifically. I played the first 5 chapters to him and he told me “This is the greatest thing ever”, which was very satisfying to be thought of cool-ly by a hipstery 26 year-old.
But now I was here, back in bed, ugh. I was fully clothed. A Gatorade was next to me which I did not remember purchasing.
There was only one explanation: Between the exhaustion from the film, the under-eating and the quick succession of my drinks, I must have for the first time in my life become black-out drunk.
Urgh. I felt awful.
First I grabbed for the Gatorade next to me and swilled as much of it as I could. Then I felt around my pockets. Miraculously I had my phone, wallet and keys near me. Even more miraculously, I had my credit card and license which meant I must have managed to close my tab.
It was time for a better explanation. I reached for my phone to send out a text to Beardo, Chadd, the adorable Ant Jones and ladies’man/jews’ man David Broad to see if I could get feelers for what happened last night.
It was about this time that I realized: I only had about half my glasses on my face.
Well, to be honest it was more like two-thirds. But the side of my glasses was missing, leaving the rest of my glasses to balance precariously on my nose.
I also realized I was about to spend the rest of the day in a truck doing returns.
This in turn caused me to vomit.
Red, I thought. Why was it red? I stared in to the toilet and remembered, oh yeah, the Gatorade.
I also noted that as throw-up experiences go, this was my easiest one as Gatorade tastes about the same coming up as it does going down, at least when you have an empty stomach.
I proceeded to drink water as I heaved myself out of the apartment, half-glasses and all, listening to Adam Green. But the ever-present recollections of what I must have drunk last night to get me to this point caused me to do my first sidewalk barf of the day, down the street from my parents apartment where I waited for the truck and Dave–this time just water, along with a pat-on-the-back from my Albanian doorman Osman, telling to me stick to either beer or whiskey next time but not both.
Urghb, I replied.
When I finally got in the truck and started heading over to tisch, the texts started coming through and I gathered that my DP, my producer and my sound man–the impressive, braces-laded Mr. Anthony Jones–had put me in a cab last night and though I didn’t particularly want to know the details, had informed me that I was just talking about “how happy you were about making a movie.” Apparently, according to my phone, I had also called Matt Morgenthaler and informed him of this as well. Goody.
It was around this time that all-around-good-guy Dave attempted to cheer me up with a New York Breakfas: a slice of pizza and a diet coke. The thought was nice, but unfortunately the pizza wasn’t: it was from the utterly contemptible Cafe University, a place I wouldn’t have eaten at even in my dormitory days and upon one bite, the pizza didn’t taste like pizza, my stomach wasn’t having it and I made it outside the truck in time to puke right outside Tisch an orangish mess that seemed remarkably like the fake vomit I’d used the day previously on my film.
At this point, upon third vomiting, I had now reached the chills-and-dizziness phase of the day and though my attempt to garner sympathy and help from the production office failed (fuck you a lot Matt B.), my friends Brennan McVicar and Dan Pleck showed up to help me take stuff up, along with Dave who, as I mentioned, was a sweetheart about the whole deal.
However, the problem I had begun to have was a normal problem of the serial-hungover-vomiter, which is that, eventually, you start to get hungry. So, analyzing the problem as a lack of sufficient deliciousness, I went to McDonalds to get a Chicken Biscuit and a Hash Brown along with a big-ass Sweet Tea, which I thought might provide some hydration.
Again, this worked until I realized that we were about to drive a lot in a truck.
Even as we got the equipment back to Tisch, we had only gotten 3 blocks down bumpy Broadway on our way to Brooklyn to return equipment there when I told Dave to pull over and this time only kind-of-made-it out.
Instead, I threw up on my t-shirt and jacket before getting out the door. Now finally, after vomiting all day, I was finally covered in it. And damnit if I hadn’t used all my paper towels, along with Dave-the-producers, on the three prior vomiting sessions.
Lacking paper towels and seeking some respite from my vomit-coveredness, I made a snap decision on Broadway.
“I’m getting a shirt.” I told Dave and headed in to Urban Outfitters.
“Shirts.” I told the man at the door. I was covered in vomit and half-blind, having left my glasses in the truck to spare them any contact with the rest of my body.
“Downstairs.” The stylish black bouncer told me, backing the hell up as he rightfully should.
I grabbed the first shirt I could find, pushing past hipster-bitches comparing v-necks and cougars trying to look like clubbers before I found what turned out to be a t-shirt with Bill Gates 70s arrest photos on it and put it on ripping off the tag for the woman when I was in line so she could scan it.
“Can I see an ID?” She asked me as I handed her my dad’s credit card, left over from filming. I just stared at her blankly, still somewhat covered in vomit.
She just said “Nevermind.” and ran the card.
By the time I got outside, Dave was in the process of getting a ticket and getting in a fight with the traffic cop, a woman whose language he mocked.
“You ‘done told me to leave’?” He asked. “I don’t think you ‘done told me’ to do fucking anything.”
It didn’t help but he took the ticket and ran.
When we finally got to the rental house in Brooklyn, I went to their bathroom useless, only to find out that they also didn’t have any paper towels.
“Company-wide shortage.” The company man said. FML.
I left my vomit-stained old t-shirt there as a thank you.
But the day got better from there, I’m glad to report. By then it was almost 3, the time I had predicted my hangover to be over and it was getting there. My dad took me out for the hangover-killing Dallas Jones. I had someone be real nice to me when I dropped off my film. I even got my glasses replaced by LensCrafters for a discount, after they told me they couldn’t repair the two-thirds-frames.
I ended the night with my hunger finally in force, downing arepa after arepa from Caracas arepa bar with friends and walking home though the wind-and-rain, listening to Dylan–Shelter from the Storm.
In the end, I guess, I felt better. That’s what I’ve always liked about drinking: at the end of a hangover, you feel fantastic. You appreciate anew your body feeling good, feeling normal. You feel superhuman being human, after a day of debilitation.
But it also could have just been the thrill of making a movie, how well it had all went, the excitement of going to editing and post, transfers and cuts and maybe even festivals.
At least I didn’t have to vomit any more.
At least not for a while.