Day 3 on the set of Cities of Light

I’d like to introduce our director, Ted Nicolaou, who is an extraordinary gentleman and director. Ted has been working with us on this film for the past 2 years, and is an extraordinarily good fit. He describes himself as “a storyteller with an open mind”, and has a vibration about him that is quite contrary to what you think a typical Hollywood director would have.

His job is to hold the vision for this film, which he has embraced with all of his energy, enthusiasm, and creativity. He gives us the artistic direction for our scenes, plan all of the shots, and works with the Director of Photography and the 1st Assistant Director, who make everything happen on the set. I really want to say how incredibly grateful I am for his patience with all of us inexperienced Ananda folk.

The end of day 2 was quite fun – Narayani did a fabulous job, and is so natural in her expression of who she is. Quite thought provoking, actually, as I’m working on who this David Eby really is, and how comfortable he is with himself, expressed through spoken word.

Then we sped down to the Joy Symbol at the entrance to Ananda, where I explain the symbol to Juliet as we first arrive. So here I am, driving without my glasses (I don’t wear them for the film), doing some technical driving to execute a “banana turn” (90 degree) and land on the right mark, without hitting the 6 cyclists that pass right in front of me!

During one of the takes, we get in the car to drive away, and I couldn’t get the keys in the ignition fast enough to start and drive away (I had taken them out to avoid the dinging that the car does when you open the door with keys in the ignition). So, the next take I made sure to keep the keys in, but in the process, forgot to set the brake.

So here’s the shot that I hope will make it onto the blooper reel: Juliet got out of the car, and I follow, only to see my truck slowly rolling backward out of the frame. I dove back in to grab the brake while Juliet stood there beautifully, oblivious to the hilarity that is happening behind her. Thankfully got it stopped in time, no one hurt.

Do you ever wonder how on screen the cars take off as soon as the actors get in to drive? Here’s the answer: The cars are running, and they edit the sound. Now I know.

So today we worked with one camera on a short scene explaining the treasure of our school here, while the other camera was filming extras throughout the community.

We then returned to Swami’s garden for closeups of Swami and Juliet during the first interview. Today their interview had some amazing new developments (as everything is unscripted!), which I’m sure you’ll see in the finished film. It truly is a beautiful experience to see Swami interviewed by someone new, giving all his love, energy, and speaking with great clarity to universal questions like “what can we do to get out of anger?”

This afternoon we finish the interview scene with a wide angle “master shot”, and perhaps something else.

Each day has been an extraordinary adventure and development, and thank you for your support! The prayers are truly felt.

Joy, David

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda