At 12:17 a.m. on Thursday, First Assistant Director David Cluck called, “That’s a wrap!” for the last time on “Believe In Me.”
Six weeks before, in Ned Houk Park just north of Clovis, we took our first shot of the picture as lead actor Jeff Donovan climbed into the blue pickup that would serve as Clay Driscoll’s truck. Now, in a cold north wind outside Highland High School in Albuquerque, Jeff climbed out of the truck, and the movie shoot was over.
Last Tuesday, at 2:30 a.m., we picture-wrapped the Lady Cyclones. Their work on the show was over. That remarkable group of young women, from Los Angeles, Austin, Pittsburgh, Clovis, Farwell, and Portales, was brought together for the first time two months ago in the gym at Clovis High School. They had become a true team and in all respects champions, but they had to break up.
There is a terrible joy and a sweet sadness to this business of making pictures. People otherwise unrelated find themselves in shared company with a common goal, united in intense work, over long hours, in unlikely locations.
And then it’s gone.
The circus pulls up stakes and moves on. I know that some of our friends in Clovis felt this shock of our leaving and I want to say that all of us, even licensed motion picture professionals and fairly hardened types like producers, feel it too.
Late into the night some of us were talking and Jeff Donovan put it well: “It’s not that we leave each other. We don’t. We carry each other. We carry the experience with us, and it changes us. We don’t forget.”
That’s particularly so for actors, I think; it’s ingrained in the show business, that gypsy ethic, and yet strange threads of history and connection persist.
Lynn Bernay, our key costumer in New Mexico, a tireless and brave woman, couldn’t shake the feeling that she had somehow previously known or met Samantha Mathis, who was playing Jean Driscoll so beautifully; in fact, Lynn had dressed Sam’s mother 27 years before, when Samantha was a child, and gave Sam a picture of her mother from that time, when her mother was the age that Sam is now.
From those threads a net is woven. A community built on transience perpetuates itself.
The old adage is that you make a movie three times, once when it’s written, once when it’s shot, and once when you cut it. And so now the movie goes into another phase, one much less populated.
Bob Collector, whose inspired understanding of the power of Coach Jim Keith’s story and whose craft created the screenplay that brought us all to Clovis, will take the shot footage, probably about 30 miles of film if you can fathom that, into the editing room with his editor. They will set about the task of making the movie that third time.
Bob will emerge about two months from now with a first draft of the movie ready to show to some people and see how it affects them. Some months and however many changes later, we’ll put music on it, rebuild all the sound elements, balance the colors of James Carter’s masterful cinematography and have a movie ready to take out to the public.
Wish us luck.
At the end of the picture, somewhere in the tail credits, will be a list of people who helped us get to that end. I know it will offer thanks to the people of the Clovis and Portales region, but those thanks can’t possibly be sufficient.
Let’s have another party. We’ll bring the picture. See you all again soon.
Cotty Chubb is producer of the “Believe in Me” movie filmed in eastern New Mexico this fall. Contact him at: