The fifth dispatch from a first-time filmmaker chronicling his experience for The Atlantic
By virtue of the out-of-sequence, counterintuitive way in which motion pictures are shot, on Monday, we filmed Yaya DaCosta's first scene in the movie on her last day with the production. Call time was early in the morning. But by the time I barked action outside Sam Ash Music Store in midtown Manhattan, we were already running desperately behind. From there we moved way uptown to a recording studio in Harlem, where we shot well into the night.
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Yaya, like everyone, was tired by then. Moreover, she was distracted, as she still had to pack and fly out to attend to some personal matters. In between takes, I felt for her because I knew her mind was elsewhere. But I could not be more grateful that she never showed any signs of preoccupation while the camera was rolling. During those last few hours, Yaya remained, as she had been throughout the past week, entirely present, inventive, and truly wonderful.