This Absurd Life


The wind has been blowing an average of 25 mph on the plains north of Las Vegas, NM, for months. Fine dust gets stirred up and trapped in eyes, food, camera lenses, and sweaters, turning them brown and gritty, never to feel truly clean again. On a good day the wind dies down at sunset and on a bad day it doesn’t.
We stand with our backs to it, like cattle, trying not to breathe too deeply, wrapped head to toe in scarves, hoods, and goggles, trying to emerge unscathed.
I look around at the crew and smile. What are we all doing out here? What other profession requires its workers to work through the night, outside, in snowstorms, wind, dust, and rainstorms, to get the job done regardless of personal and collective discomfort? Highway crews, farmers, maybe some others… But movie crews seem to have a particular love of misery, a masochistic, adrenaline induced need to see how bad it can get before it’s just not worth it.
But, in the end, it seems it is almost always worth it. If for no other reason than the bragging rights that go along with the toughest conditions you’ve had to endure. The movie in Russia where you were shooting on top of a train and temps dipped to minus 60. Or shooting in Morocco in dust storms that lasted for days in temps above 115. I’ve heard these stories and joined in with some of my own. For all of the misery that weather and difficult conditions bring, in the end it adds to the adventure and once you get through it, it leaves a great story to be told, and embellished, somewhere down the line.

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