Behind the scenes of The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (Part 4)
Excerpts from director James Strong’s “Director’s Diary” (DWM #372)
[After having to re-do the lighting for the ‘gravity globe’ in the pit, putting them very behind-schedule]
My joy is short-lived. It’s proving difficult to communicate with Claire and David. They can’t hear me, or - even worse - each other. Also, they’re steaming up whenever they talk, which is making the playing of a scene virtually impossible. The helmets are lifted off, and design and sound spirit them away to see what can be done. Our schedule is so tight that we’re trying out all these things for the first time on set. Not ideal…
Good news. The helmets have been fixed! Our genius sound boys have created a microphone and earpiece system that allows Claire and David to hear each other, and me. Prop man Phil has also worked out how to stop the glass steaming. We shoot on through to 4am. It’s great stuff, just not enough of it. We’re behind. Way behind.
The second night in the quarry […] the weather is drawing in. It’s bitingly cold, and snow is falling intermittently. We’ve drafted in a second camera and are getting through the pages, but are constantly battling the ice and snow on the actors’ visors. Then suddenly, 10 minutes after Phil has gone home, it’s a white out. The entire crew is engulfed by a swirling snow blizzard. It’s like we’re inside one of those little snowstorm ornaments and being shaken about. We shoot on, then as quick as it came, it’s gone… leaving two inches of snow on the ground. So we now have half a scene with snow and half without! I re-shoot the first half and frame above the white floor… and crawl into bed as the dawn is arriving, with my face burning from the cold.
Levi never feels his name is special. A name doesn’t carrry any other thing aside of how are you supposed to be called. Not until a particular boy named Erwin came around, “I like your name, Levi” and so Levi is struck with rose creeps upon both of his heated cheeks, “I like my name, too”
Specifically a spell to help me grow my business. I’m stagnant.
The waxing moonlight was creeping through the roses drying against the window in front of me. I repeated my affirmations and meditated on my intentions before performing the spell, watching the candlelight flicker through my eyelids. Rocking back and forth, I opened my eyes and saw a firefly on my altar. I have never seen a firefly in California before, but I knew them well from the summer nights of my childhood in New England. It was on its back, struggling to right itself, its abdomen flickering like another candle. The universe sent me this firefly, I thought. This is what I felt in my human existence—I’m struggling to get my footing. I took my raven feather and flipped the firefly over. It shook off its wings and took a few steps, flashing its light like a purring cat. I picked it up and put it on the window sill, and moments later, it flew away towards the blooming cherry plum tree outside. Utterly humbled, I performed the spell, and closed my circle.