On Location, Arguing With Cops and Hip-Hop Heads

The fourth dispatch from a first-time filmmaker chronicling his experience for The Atlantic

g train brooklyn flickr bigalia.jpg
Flickr user Bigalia

Yesterday was a struggle. Late arrivals stalled our pace. A near-constant drizzle dampened the crew's spirits as much as it threatened our exterior shots. We rode the G train, guerilla-style, from Bedford-Nostrand to Court Square to Church Street and back, trying to nail a shot. This lead to an unexpected and momentarily heart-stopping verbal dust-up with the boys in blue, which our clever sound man surreptitiously recorded for posterity. We froze our digits off on a Crown Heights rooftop, halting production every 45 seconds for sirens below and planes passing overhead.

At the end of the day, though, we got some wonderful material. And, due to the nature of the script and the crew that we've attracted, our shoots stayed lively and cheerful with the sounds of grown men literally shouting over one another about completely useless hip-hop-related trivia. Second day on set, things got heated over "worst MCs of all time." Later, it was "best DJ Premier-produced album." (Eerily similar to the heady days of barking at Ta-Nehisi over beers about whether Group Home was or was not unforgivably wack.)

At one point recently, the topic of "One Hit Wonders" arose, and I just wanted to recall this awesome, momentary blip before either my cinematographer or my AD can remember to fling it at me over the craft services table:

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Neil Drumming is a filmmaker, screenwriter, and journalist. He is a former staff writer and editor at Entertainment Weekly, and his work has appeared in Wired, The Washington Post, Vibe, Rolling Stone, Essence, and Vanity Fair.

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