Thoughts from 2nd Assistant Camera. Scene 27A. Take 87. Marker.

29 Dec

Ever since my first viewing of “Lost in Translation,” I have felt the need to visit Japan. The film romanticized Tokyo for me, so I applied to go, possibly in the hopes of making a great film, possibly in the hopes of meeting Bill Murray. After a semester of preparation with a God-ordained group of filmmakers, I have learned a few Japanese phrases and my anticipation to experience the city and culture has grown. Anticipation is really the right word. It’s also a word to describe my feelings for what we are really doing in Japan: telling a story.

Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up in the Midwest, or maybe it’s the fact that I grew up in the Midwest, but when I was handed a script titled “Persimmon,” I had no idea what it was. Now, in exactly one week I will be on a plane to Japan making a film about one, except not really. The story does include a drying persimmon, but it also includes drying people. These are characters whose lives are spiraling away from them, and the only way to stop the spiral it is to let it continue. The film is not about futility, but about fruitfulness, and sometimes we must let go of our seemingly futile attempts to control things before we can gain the fruits.

It’s an incredibly important story, and I am privileged to help bring it to life as 2nd Assistant Camera. My responsibilities include aiding the camera team, transferring footage to hard drives, and slating each scene. While this position doesn’t always include creative input, I feel deeply invested in the story. Our director and D.P. have a strong sense of visual style for this project, and we have all spent time talking about how to convey emotions and themes visually. Our camera team as a whole is likely the most talented and passionate I have ever worked with, and the creative energy we gain from one another is regenerating.

I have worked as 2nd Assistant Camera on several short films before, but this guy is a professional. He is also on YouTube, and I’m confined to the words of this blog page. He can explain my position better than I can. He’s a professional.

Here is a picture of a slate. You probably call it a clapper.

My Best Friend

Lost in Translation - Inspiration for going


I am looking forward to working in Japan with a team of people who all seem to share a similar goal of telling a truthful story. I have not seen ego in this team, but instead I have seen love and encouragement. The process of making this film is unique in that we are all united under the banner of the story. I’m not sure how often I will get the chance to work like this on a film, so I will savor every victory, frustration, and doubt that I have.

Shitsurei shimasu (I am going to leave – very formal)

-Aaron Kessinger

2nd Assistant Camera


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