Thursday, August 06, 2009

LAStreetsBlog - Greensters Wrap Film and Start a Revolution

Three weeks ago
I asked the world for help in fulfilling Rebel Without A Car Production's commitment to producing a film sustainably. Our goal was to shoot locally and in partnership with the community.

It all seemed so doable when we were brainstorming and imagining a world of "Big Stories told with Little Footprints!" but when the production got going and I realized that all the grip & electric, all the camera and audio, all the food and all of the production supplies would need to be transported on bikes, I began to sweat.

There was a brief moment when I imagined myself riding solo through the streets of Hollywood in the middle of the night, laboring to keep the production moving, all the while cursing Enci's commitment to shooting "At What Price" sustainably.

That's how I found myself posting a video, calling for help, hoping that someone, somewhere would come and join me. In a moment of optimism, we named our substitute Teamsters "The Greensters" and the journey began.

Time was running out and I received a couple of emails, a couple of calls and a few nods and expressions of interest. I was happy for any interest, I was hopeful for help, and I was under pressure!

The day of reckoning came and history was made in East Hollywood!

Greensters showed up from all over, Beverly Hills, Orange County, Highland Park, Silver Lake, K-Town, Pasadena, Hermosa Beach, Marina Del Rey. They arrived on Xtracycles, they pulled wagons and trailers, they came on bikes of all shapes and sizes. DJ Chickenleather, who usually gets up at the crack of noon, even on his day off, arrived with a homemade bamboo trailer that looked suspiciously like a re-purposed Pier One patio display. It was all good!

We were a team. A team of Greensters and we had some history to make. Oh yeah, and a film.

Xtracycle_and_Bakfiet.jpgThe Greensters proceeded to pickup the rentals for the film shoot, getting in line with the Teamsters and their Studio trucks. The Greensters moved a lot more quickly and a lot more efficiently. They put the Teamsters to shame. (One guy with a big truck is no match for a swarm of Greensters who divvy up the load and "Ride Loaded!")

Ron "the Sherpa" Durgin served as Transpo Captain and planned the routes, organized the Greensters and led the convoy down Santa Monica Boulevard and to the location in East Hollywood, riding an Xtracycle loaded with gear and a the filmmaker who documented the journey!

Jeremy Grant also rode an Xtracycle as did Erik Knutzen and by the end of the production, they had quite a few converts. I had anticipated more cyclists with trailers and wagons but the Xtracycles proved to be the transpo solution of the future. No matter how we started off, within moments the Xtracycles were at the front of the pack while DJ and I rode caboose, debated philosophy and interviewed each other.
Josef Bray-Ali of Flying Pigeon LA graciously donated the use of a Bakfiet and an Xtracycle and Beth and Tracey put them to good work. Monster Kat of Handmade Store on a Bike loved what we were doing and set us up with two of the trailers she uses for her pedal-powered store.

The Greensters came from all walks and with different perspectives and that added another layer of sustainability to the endeavor. Laura is a Film Producer, Dale is a Transportation Engineer, Wai is a Marine Biologist, Shant is a LEED Contractor, Feather is a Chef, and Allan & Herminia are ZeroWaste Consultants. Through it all, the Greensters shared a passion for creating community and challenging the status quo.

During the shoot, the Greensters shopped local Farmers markets and the crew was nourished with fresh food, prepared at Camp Rebel, all with a zero waste commitment. Production was supported at all times with cyclists such as Ricardo who were quicker to get around the neighborhood on bikes than if they had been using cars.

Kimby in Bakfiet while the Greensters are lending a hand. Photo by Brian Smith.Kimby Caplan in Bakfiet while the Greensters are lending a hand. Photo by Brian Smith.

Riding around Hollywood was loads of fun but the true test came when late at night it was time for a company move. The Camera Crew were a little under-impressed as they watched us roll out, ready to move all the equipment to an exterior location a couple of blocks away. "Time is money! It's getting late! What about power?"

In less time that it takes to pry a Teamster out of a Motorhome, we had moved everything including the solar-powered LibertyPak generators and the Nila lights and we were ready to shoot. Josef's Bakfiet served as camera-bike and the DP sat in the bucket with her camera and a contented look on her face as Flying Pigeon LA put another dolly grip out of work, replaced by a Greenster!

We had a great time, we challenged the transpo paradigm of "the Industry" and Hollywood didn't fall of its axis.

At the end of the shoot, Enci had her film. That, in and of itself, is an accomplishment. But we went one better. We did it sustainably, with a zero waste commitment and by overcoming the two biggest obstacles that prevent Hollywood from doing the right thing; Transportation and Energy.

As for the Greensters, the next objective is to lay down the "Sustainability Manifesto for the Industry."

The challenge is on!

No comments: