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Producer’s Diary

Gary Marks, Shootout’s Executive Producer, reports about his
experience at the Toronto Film Festival while the show covers the event.


Mid festival. We’re feeling pretty good. Such a great vibe in Toronto: relaxed, crisp, inspired, electric. The show has gone pretty well so far. No. Not pretty well, very well. George Clooney, Jodie Foster, Julie Taymor on the first day. Don Cheadle the night before. All fantastic.

And so, of course, we decide to get fancy. Peter Bart has an inspired dream moment — how to do the open of the show. Last year, in Toronto, Sacha Baron Cohen showed up to the Borat premiere getting out of the trunk of a cab. Bart wants to recreate it. Guber will be nervously pacing in front of the store on his iphone, wondering where his co-host is. A cab will pull up, the trunk will pop, and out will come Bart.  Guber comes up with a tag for it at the end that is funny.  Let’s do it. How hard can it be?

Yeah right. I explain that we’ll have to shoot it like a film: several takes, several set-ups. They’re into it. Let’s try.

And, so, two hours later, we are out on the streets of Toronto, without a permit to shoot, very little planning, and one very befuddled Pakistani cab driver who doesn’t know quite just what hit him. But a guy in a suit is climbing into his trunk. We’re directing traffic, closing it off, dodging cars, using walkie talkies to communicate between two different camera set ups — one on the street, one perched on a roof across the street high above. Police cruising by wondering what the hell is going on. Bart and Guber ready for their close-up. And me wondering how we got here. Complete pandemonium.

And, all in all, except for the cab driver smacking into a limo on the very last shot, it went pretty well. If it cuts together, you’ll get to see it open our Toronto episode this coming Sunday.

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