A rainbow of shotgun homes whipped past the window of our rental car. Maria Marrone, my production designer and honorary DJ, turned up the Beatles as we sped through the battered New Orleans streets and onto the highway. My director of photography, Joshua Herzog, nodded off in the passenger seat. An array of lighting gels and gaff tape jutted out from the backseat and lightly licked his arm.
The pre-production process, filled with hiccups and sleepless nights, had worn us down before we even began. After locations falling through, our lead actor dropping only a week before production, and watching the money we raised quickly draining from our account; it was a miracle we were there. I sent up a prayer, thanking whatever spiritual unknown that may have helped us along the way.
After many setbacks and hurdles, we finally made it. We pulled up to the equipment rental house as my producer pulled up simultaneously in the box truck. Hopping out, we were greeted by two men who were eager to help a younger generation of students. They generously gifted us far more equipment then our budget could have afforded, much to our appreciation. When it came time to pay the highly-discounted price, the men asked for the director. They raised their eyebrows in amusement as my petite build stepped forward —a reaction that is not uncommon, nor an insult, but simply because as a woman, I was not their usual client.