Soundman Jeff Hayash and I once did a very arduous shoot in the Lone Star State.
Eighteen days in a row in the middle of a Texas Summer. No cool Hotel sleep but a sleeping bag on Church Basement Floors the entire time. The shooting was almost all hand held, the subject matter, deeply disturbing. The Producer from LA was rather high strung. We shot an average of 15 thirty minute Beta Tapes a day, never less than 10 and sometimes 20. We shot everything that moved…
Driving back from a day’s last location to our Sleep Church, the Producer asked… Jeff “What was that last tape number ?”
Jeff: “Number 42”
Producer: “You have it ?”
Jeff: “Well, it’s in the back”
P: “You sure”
J: “It’s in the back”
P: “That’s fantastic stuff we shot… You sure you got it ?”
J: “Yes, It’s in the back…”
P: “We should go back. You might have left it”
J: “No, I’m sure it’s in the back”
Another 15 miles down the road and several failed attempts to contact the location. More worry about tape 42, the Producer pipes up “Let’s stop and check the back”
J: “I’m quite sure it’s somewhere in back”
I toss in “I’ve never known Jeff to lose a tape.
In a heat haze we pull off the highway and dig through the jumble of equipment.
P: “Ah, I knew it. We lost the tape, it’s gone, gone. Let’s go back… Go Back”
We are almost to our Sleep Church and after much worry and discussion it is decided to continue on to our destination, unload the vehicle and find the tape.
P: “OK, let’s hurry. I will call from the land line at the church.”
We pull into the parking lot. Jeff and I immediately start to unpack. The Producer can’t wait and rockets off to make the call. Just as he disappears into the church, Jeff finds the tape, wedged between two cases. I am in an evil mood and ask Jeff to give me the tape. I remove it from the box and stick it behind me in my belt. I hand the empty box back to Jeff. The Producer appears in the church doorway and announces “My God, they can’t find the tape. This is a disaster, it’s lost, lost…”
Jeff: “Well here’s the box…”
The Producer now rockets toward us totally revitalized. “Ah…the tape, the tape…”
Jeff opens the box and says “But it’s empty...”
He halts halfway across the parking lot as if shot by an arrow. “Ah, I knew it, I knew it. Lost, Lost…”
Jeff and I watch the spectacle of agony for a moment but, but … I just can’t stand it. I pull the tape out of my belt and walk to the producer “Well, we found the tape too…” He swirls around joyously “Ah it’s found, it’s found… What a miracle !”
The wind up to all this is that tape #42 contained about 8 minutes of unremarkable
B-Roll… The moral of the story… Don’t go to Texas in the Summer…