A Black Gold Diary – 2

Day 2:
Mornings are the same but the weather was rather colder than yesterday. Went on to the camp base and nothing much but clearing and cleaning. Went on sets for a bit and the weather were hot and I had to take off layers of my jackets. Once I was back from the set, I visited the SFX make-up artist, who is a Japanese living in Paris. He explained to me the kind of effects he is doing and has done. I saw some ear piece extensions and some scars that he had fixed on an actor. It was an interesting conversation and he is another friendly person I’ve met.

Day 3:
Today we had to be there early, so we left Doha at 5am, which means we woke up at 3.30-ish. While writing this I am actually dozing off. In the morning I helped out with the coffee table, cleaning and clearing and generally helping out. Later, went on to fix the red cones (indicators) from the camp to Sealine and back, then again back to Sealine to get some chairs.

Later I went on sets. I saw one shot being taken and that was the first time I saw the fake camels being used on set. They looked super real! They were doing an action scene and the one in charge of the fake bodies and mechanism of it was very happy that the shot came out well. She came to me and excitedly asked me if I saw it as it came out good. She is such a sweet person and I love to see how she cares so much about her work. I saw 2 more shots taken and then a little chat with Waheed, a DFI Producer. He was explaining to me about how to go about writing your story/script/screenplay : )

Fake camels used on set.


And then back to the same old routine! Wait for someone to take us back to base camp, and wait for someone to take us from basecamp to Doha, and then from Doha back to home. By the time I reach home, it was nearly 8.30pm.

It’s an early start tomorrow too, but I wouldn’t miss it for the world : )

Day 4:
It’s the first day that I stayed in the camp and not head out to the sets at all! Well, managing in the camp was what I was doing and I had to make sure the guys did their job and wait for the water guys and stuff. I helped out with the catering because the weather didn’t permit them to have lunch on location, so they shifted the lunch venue to the camp where the camels were. The cleaning was massive!

Day 5:
It was early in the morning and the guys started arguing over coffee at the coffee making area. We then decided: there won’t be chaos every morning in that small area where everyone fights to make themselves their cup of coffee, so we rearranged the tables later so it is now blocked and only the one in charge can make the coffee and serve the rest! Then off to the set for lunch – it was fun because, while eating lunch, the tent started flying off in the wind, and as we were the last few people there we had to leave our food and each one of us grabbed the tent and hung on it, to give it weight. This was when the director was sitting and having his lunch! Haha…good fun! The director looked up to the clouds and said something in French, which must have been funny as he looked funny and the rest laughed 

I headed back to the camp and a good chat with the SFX make up guy again. This time I saw how he made cracked lips. Then one of the guy, who makes the fake camels, were now dealing with real pieces of camel meat such as leg and chests which was needed for a particular scene. He sewed fake camel skin to the real camel meat! It was fun to watch and I volunteered to help a little… and this time I got to!  Yes!

SFX make-up artist making fake cracked lips.


After they have wrapped the shooting for the day, we wait for pick up and then back home!

Day 6:
First day after the rearrangement of the coffee table and there were less chaos. As soon as I arrived I helped in making the coffees and teas. Morning till afternoon I was busy with the cleaning and clearing of coffee table, making coffee and then checking the bathrooms – whether it is cleaned, water filled or sewage cleared. After lunch, I went on set and this time the set was slightly different from before. This place had lots of stones, and big huge ones too. I also got to see how the director was explaining the shot to the actors and the crew. I could barely hear as the wind was so strong and I couldn’t go nearer. As soon as he finished enacting the scene, I saw how he blocked the shot with his actors and also did a rehearsal. I manage to see one take of it. Amazing! 

The Director Jean-Jacques Annaud explaining the shot.

Once again off to camp to charge batteries and then the same nightly routine!


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