“Just a little further!”. Line Producer, Norman Denver, forged ahead, his constitution fortified by boxing and scotch. “Almost there!”
I scanned the trees to either side, then the winding pathway that dipped up ahead before curving and disappearing behind the dense brush.
“Watch your step!”warned Brandon Tataryn, skirting a deadly patch of ice and then scurrying to keep up.
I gave the frosted path a wide berth, then threw a look back at our two stragglers, Executive Producer’s Assistant Elliot Sokolsky and Director Ron Murphy, both of who seemed to be having second thoughts about this whole forest venture.
It was approximately 3 p.m., the temperature was dropping, and the lunch we’d enjoyed at Hamilton’s premiere Indian restaurant was not sitting pretty. We’d spent the morning scouting locations for Episode 204, three different warehouses, when Norman suggested we squeeze in a forest stopover. It seemed like a good idea at the time and when, after a cursory stroll through one area, Ron had suggested we check out another area “just a short walk down”, I’d thought “Why not?”. In retrospect: “Because it’s cold and dangerous, you fool!”
Norman, our fearless leader, stepped off the path and pointed off in the distance. “There’s the parking lot.” Sure enough, there it was, our final destination, less than fifty yards away. And the only thing standing between us and sweet, sweet heat was a treacherously steep forty foot mud-covered slope down, an equally treacherous, equally steep forty foot mud-covered slope up – and the frozen river in between.
“We can always go back,”Ron offered, almost plaintively. Elliot seemed to be in full support, throwing me a look that said: “Please?” I turned to gauge Norman but, by way of a response, the wiry Englishman was already heading down the slope, crouched low, like a seasoned wrestler poised for battle . Brandon, like any good 1st AD, was blindly following his line producer’s lead, arms stretched out for extra balance – or, presumably, to help break his inevitable fall.
I watched their descent, fully prepared to turn and run back the way we came for medical assistance the second one of them toppled – but when they reached the halfway point, I was forced to reconsider. I glanced back at Ron and Elliot who were, clearly, not convinced, then decided “What the hell” and followed. Arms out for balance, keeping my center of gravity low, I negotiated the slippery moss-covered rocks and followed them down, ever so thankful I’d decided to switch over to my winter boots that morning.
It was touch and go, but – amazingly – we all made it to the bottom without losing our footing. Then, we crossed the frozen river. Norman sat on a fallen tree and sort of scooched his way along to the other side, Brandon, Elliot, and I jumped for our lives –
Yours truly in mid-flight (photo courtesy of Ron Murphy)
While Ron walked an impromptu bridge.
Careful…(courtesy of Elliot Sokolsky)
Careful!!! (courtesy of Elliot Sokolosky)
After down and over, there was nowhere to go but up!
I like to call this a Deliverance selfie (courtesy of Norman Denver)
The ascent was only slightly less perilous thanks to the handy saplings lining the slope, perfect for support and balance –
So long, suckers! (courtesy of Brandon Tataryn)
– but hazardous when they become uprooted while using them to pull yourself up…as was Norman’s experience.
I’m happy to report we all made it back to the parking lot – and, subsequently, back from our first location scout uninjured. Hard to believe.
So as not to tempt fate, I think I’ll skip tomorrow’s “seedy bar” tech survey.
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