Peg the Fun Meter
Hi, hello, how are you? Yeah, Good...
This is the Daughter of Godcast, select stories from the 11 year campaign to shoot, edit and distribute the narrative scifi featurette Daughter of God with myself Dan Kelly, writer director and today joined by my excellent friend Ann Loeding, Daughter of God's Line Producer in Kingston, Ontario. I met Ann when she dated my pal Mark (not Mark Dillon from Episode 004.1) back in high school. She of course is much younger than me, like at least 10 years so that would have made her like 8 years old when she was dating Mark. I think the statute of limitations has probably run out by now, so Mark you can rest easy if you're listening.
Ann Loeding, Line Producer for the Alexander Henry
Mark is a ghost buster these days, or CHUD hunter, the rumors are conflicting. The last two episodes I've been off in weeds talking about gear and money but before we return to the primary narrative back aboard the big boat in 2006, I feel compelled to muse about the inexplicable, the phenomenal. This is after all the Halloween episode.
Daughter of God can be taken as fiction, as a mash up of tropes from writers both revered and obscure, including Phil Dick, Michael Swanwick, Micheal Crichton, Kurt Vonnegutt, Cory Doctorow, HG Wells, James Blish, William Gibson, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, and anyone else who I've ever read, with a heavy infusion of genre movies both A and B.
However, I want to offer another perspective for our mutual consideration. In the infinite variety of the multi-verse, could Daughter of God be a true story?
What if Werner Heisenberg had not been able to cripple the Nazi atomic program as he did in our timeline, and New York City had been taken out by a nuclear tipped V2, launched from a U-boat near Nantucket? How would that world look like in 2017?
What if parallel realities are bundled together, like fiber optic strands? What if each strand is a little leaky? What if nearby timelines can bleed over into ours, like radio stations on adjacent frequencies?
If you've been tuning in to Daughter of Godcast for awhile, then you know I am not shy about acknowledging my extensive talents, but what if the gentle release isn't all me? Screenplay, cinematography, supporting actor, primary investor, composer, VFX director, editorial, podcast, web presence, social media... how likely is it that one person, albeit a brilliant, exceptional artist, could pull all that off by himself? Doesn't that seem kinda... impossible? Is there an alternative explanation? In the words of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Homes, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
What if Daughter of God is leaking over from an alternative timeline? Is this movie a transmission from the could be, a nearby now? What if I told you that I am not sure myself?
Well, running with this paradigm, the rift between our timeline and the universe next door seems to have recently widened. You may have been catching the odd snippets of poetry posting to Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, Linkedin and occasionally Instagram via Buffer. I am sure that's ME filling Buffer's queue, it's got to be... right? I must be making all that up and scheduling it to post. A couple years back when my heart was breaking, I committed to roughly a year of posting only poetry on Facebook. There's nothing supernatural about writing love poems. What's a little freaky is that I was full on with Daughter of God then too. If that's me posting the poetry today, was I being prepared to receive these current transmissions, warmed up like a dirt bike on a chill fall morning? Expanded and reinforced to allow the full flow?
Creation is being a fire hose and learning how to find the hydrants. We're all fancy tubes, a hookup between the ineffable and what's for breakfast. That high pressure gush several stories high? That's the cosmos coming through, slaking the raging blaze of desire.
Wait! If you're a hose, and desire is a fire, then what's burning, who's the fire brigade, and why are so obsessed with mixed metaphors? Is this a finger pointing to the moon or just spooky nonsensical bluster? YES.
I don't want to pull a Twin Peaks on you and just keep opening up mystery after mystery without any supporting armature. I suspect there is an armature, an underlying structure that is discernible, and once perceived can trigger a boon, a blooming. The Daughter of Godcast podcast started out as an exposition, what happened years ago making my movie. At least I thought I was making a movie. Now I'm not so sure.
Time to roll forward on the primary narrative, in episode 006 we're ready to start production - Lights Camera Action and all that. Current enigmatic musings and anecdotal evidence of strange happenings? To be continued. The takeaway from today's little intro is just this... I don't have an explanation for the phenomena that is the gentle release. If you want to pretend it's all me, go right ahead.
A key factor in deciding to shoot on a big boat was that this made the chances of Ann Loeding coming along a lot more likely. She's into big boats, especially old, sunken and/or decrepit big boats. The past few years, she's been leading the effort to restore the Columbia, a steam powered passenger ferry built in 1902 and originally based in Detroit, MI. In 2015, Ann and her team moved Columbia to Buffalo, NY in preparation for eventual transport to the Hudson River via the St Lawrence Seaway.
Because Ann has a full plate between the Columbia in Buffalo and her family back in Kingston, New York, I knew she wouldn't be up to speed with the podcasting and my version of events. Her recollections would be pristine. After getting the latest news from Buffalo, Ann and I talked about her memories of production aboard the Alexander Henry in Kingston Ontario, 10 years ago.
She talked about having to fill the role of mom, and how that was a little strange for her, having only been a mom herself for 9 months. The upstairs common room at the B and B where most of us slept, our flophouse. Her and Melonie trying to dress Christina's cabin with props from the Kingston Salvation Army and feeling frustrated at the lack of options. Our struggles with recording sound and heavy reliance on lavalier radio mics, a boom operator being impractical in the low ceiling cabins with deep focus compositions, not to mention no boom operator. Take, after take, after take. Overloading the ship's electrical service and having to run our own generator. Wrangling with payments to the museum. Reviewing location agreements from our lawyer, shuttling the gang between the B and B and the boat for an 8:00 am call, her vague impression of Layna as being a consistently sane and calm presence, in contrast to everyone else who at some point was wound up and cranky, me included.
... I remember you being overwrought, burning a 110 watt light bulb burning on 240, watching you struggling to keep your bon ami...
My bon ami, francaise for good friend. Also a scrubbing powder made from feldspar. Pretty sure she meant the french.
... and be a leader but at the same time you were sort of overwhelmed and frustrated...
This was what really interested me, her impressions of my presence as a new director under extreme time and staff constraints.
... was hard getting everyone out in the morning. The call out was 8 and you were like 'C'mon, let's go!' People were drag ass-y, didn't get to sleep at the right time... you were asking them to be more professional and they weren't quite ready for it and sometimes you were short tempered because you were dealing with all these things...
Ann's perception was that the group was young and inexperienced. Griping about trivia. She had logged many hours as a commercial captain, so the complaints of the Daughter of God crew would have seemed trivial to her in comparison to what she and her ship crew had endured, towing barges, weather, navigation, keeping million dollar infrastructure intact and afloat in challenging conditions. Ann was overkill as a movie producer. Which was why I wanted her with me.
I don't remember any specific complaints, it was more of a group whining, they were young. just about how you were mad at them or weren't being nice to them, a management thing...
Along with everything else she was doing to support production, Ann became a soothing influence, giving everyone an opportunity to vent their frustration, with me mostly.
... just make them feel like they had someone else to talk to that may be able to then report to you which of course I don't think I did. Whatever you're saying is stupid and immature and suck it up. [laughter] alot of this is knowledge that I've gained in the last 10 years, but people out of their element and maybe need a little more hand holding than you were in a position to give because you were juggling all those technical things.
Shit going wrong during movies is pretty much the rule, not the exception. My inexperience as a director was ultimately the reason folks were struggling and feeling frustrated. I had made the technical preparations, but I hadn't prepared the people for adventure, for the intensity of the adventure. With how I might transform.
... you were a little less nurturing than your normal self would be. I think people came to expect a certain person with the person you are happy go lucky and that person wasn't in evidence...
Ann and I had both been through the intensity plenty of times, together and separately. We had a healthy respect for the vortex, but we're ready to surf if waves starting rolling. As she said, we wouldn't court disaster, but we knew how to get lucky if it happened to show up.
... that's the part of the job I liked, things going pear shaped...
In 006, I discussed how the energy of emotion is more powerful than effort, and how I attributed the clearing of Carmen's work permit to my steady deliberate feeling of well being, that everything would work out. Back then however, I was mostly a man of action. I thought that effort was the driving force. Making luck was what I did to pull my ass out of the fire. I had the sense that if I enjoyed too much luck, I'd run out. I wouldn't be able to reconfigure the universe for the really serious shit. Like staying out of jail, or not drowning.
So my presence on the set was all about action.
I don't think anything you did was out of control Josef von Sternberg or Otto Preminger, whoever that guy was who was always yelling at people... You put yourself under a lot of pressure, time pressure, money pressure...
We certainly didn't have enough people. I couldn't have anticipated loosing Eiji. Looking back I could have spent more time in Brooklyn rehearsing with everyone, to practice together the transition between who were before Canada and who we would be on set. Between Dan Kelly, fun loving rascal and Dan Kelly super focused surfer of intensity.
... you sort of see the shape of a project working on newspapers...
So I could concentrate on the 10 jobs required to pull off the next take, Ann took care of everything else. Our interaction was easy and therefor unremarkable.
... seamless between you and I, you said I need this this and this and I said OK we'll go get this this and this...
Having Ann as our line producer was excellent. Her combination of pragmatism, empathy and ability to stay chill under fire was key. Ann's contribution is only rivaled by the amazing good fortune we had with craft services, which is movie speak for catering. The Sleepless Goat.
... the logistics of keeping people fed, lucking out with sleepless goat...
Sadly, the Sleepless Goat shut it's doors in March of 2016. So much for our April of 2017 release dinner in Kingston, Ontario. A moment of silence in memory of this incomparable coop cafe.
Thanks for listening. Episode 008, Daughter of Godcast. I'm Dan Kelly and we're here all week folks, every week until the story is told, boldly, as best we remember, of the making of the longest little movie ever, Daughter of God. She's coming, she's on social media, she's stir frying tempeh and mung bean sprouts for you, she's borrowing your socks, her whisper is the sound of falling leaves, the sun on your cheek is her kiss. Find her everywhere.
What happens next is anyone's guess
Krishna, Christ, Buddha and all the rest
Throw up their hands at our perfect mess
We try to pray, curse, accuse and confess
But we can't help smiling at the shining, scared truth
That you love me and I love you
My friend, let's meet again
(excerpt from Lauren's Birthday Song 2003, © Dan Kelly 2003)