The third dispatch from a first-time filmmaker chronicling his experience for The Atlantic
I wish I could say that, in addition to all of the other talented professionals working on my film, I had a pyrotechnics team capable of creating the startling effect in this photo. Unfortunately, this really happened. It was probably no more than an hour after sundown and we were crammed into a private house in Bed-Stuy prepping for a quiet scene between two leads—characters in the earliest stage of romance.
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Before anything could ignite between the actors, however, the air began to fill with the sounds of fire trucks arriving. Crew members lingering out in the yard rushed inside to inform us that a home several houses down the block had caught fire. I was loathe to stop rehearsal because we were already running late and had plenty of work to do. It's New York—Brooklyn, no less. One hears sirens all the time.
But I went outside to look. Flames leapt into the sky just a few houses away. Red and white engines clogged the corner near us. Firemen with axes and tools jumped out and raced past where a dozen of us filmmakers stood gawking. A woman creeped out onto her front stoop in slippers and a bathrobe to ask us what was going on. My sound man and his assistant began eyeing their equipment nervously. Even the big, scary dog next door stopped barking long enough to look worried. Back inside, our set was filled with smoke. Another crew member panicked.