’m an avid thrice-a-week cyclist and my primary path out of the city is the Cady Way trail. There is one Ichabod spot, a place where the route punches through a stand of woods on a long curve (southwest of Baldwin Park). At night, it’s downright spooky. But this was bright daylight and I was returning home, four miles short of my thirty mile round trip.
Looking up, I saw a curious sight – two people in white with conical hats. Given the turn and my blistering 17mph speed and the long curve, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to process each point as I closed. Swords. Rattan swords. They were fighting.
Between me and them, a tripod stand with a bright light.
Just off the trail to the left, two normal-dressed people in jeans and t-shirts. Another tripod.
One of the swordsmen went to his knees in scripted death.
And then I was on top of them.
I passed between the camera and antagonists, and as I did, I leaned down, cocked a wave and said “Photobomb.”
As I came out of the woods and started crossing a street grid, I got to thinking as I head-swiveled for cars.
Yeah, it was a low-budget (if not no-budget) filming. Possibly they were rehearsing. Or possibly learning the craft of film-making (just as I had through my wrenched earlier writings). It was their art. And I might have ruined it.
Ask any writer – there is that moment when you are in the groove, writing perfect, images leaping from your mind to your page. And then there is the knock on the door, the question, the phone, the attention-seeking pet. Moment broken.
I’m not a filmmaker (but would gladly sell rights to Early ReTyrement). But I’m thinking that these four people were each learning their crafts, be it acting, or filming, or directing, or best-boying. They were in their artistic moment. And I photobombed them.
Then again, as I write this, I’m also thinking that interruptions are a part of art. Learning your craft means you learn how to recover from distractions, to find your muse quickly and pick things back up. We can’t always produce art when we feel the urge. There are deadlines. And editors. And the whims of readers.
So yes, maybe that was a lesson for this intrepid film crew; your set is never perfect. You have to shoot when you can and work around intruders. It’s part of what makes art art.
But, yes, I was still a dick.