Photograph by Eric Scott

  • where:

    Georgetown, Guyana

  • what:

    Insanity, Terrible Movie

  • why:

    Adventure

  • when:

    Year Round

  • Geotag Icon Show on map

So the story is this. I was hired to production design a Bollywood movie in Georgetown, Guyana. I was given numerous signs that taking this assignment was a bad decision. Before I left NY almost the entire crew quit because of the insane ramblings of our very proud Indian director. The script was terrible, I won’t go into detail, but I did have make my first trip into peep world to buy a dildo, which was to be used as a prop in a scene where a penis transplant is taking place and somehow a cat enters the operating room, steals the removed phallice and runs out of the hospital. Anyway, my assistant, Dave, and I decided to stay with the production, because we wanted to go to Guyana.

Dave and I arrived two weeks before the rest of the crew to acquire the necessary props and to see the locations. The producer, a local entrepreneur, picked us up at the airport. On the drive to Georgetown he asked if we wanted to stop and see the river, so we pulled into a resort. We were talking on a dock when out of nowhere the producer said. check this out. He proceeded to pull up his pant leg and showed us he had a gun strapped to his ankle, which was very disconcerting. We were staying in the house Jimmy Carter used when he monitored the Guyanese elections in 1990 with the director of photography, Larry. I was told that Larry had shot over a hundred films, which I later found out were mostly soft-core porn.

Photograph by Eric ScottAfter our encouraging start we spent the next two days driving around to the shooting locations. We were promised a budget of seven thousand dollars to purchase props, but hadn’t yet seen any money. On top of that our container with all the equipment including my kit was delayed and scheduled to arrive a week after we were supposed to begin shooting. On the third day I was having a meeting with Larry where he began to question my work ethic in a very condescending manner. I explained to him that I hadn’t received the money I was promised so I could not start shopping for props. I also asked him not to speak to me in that manner, which he responded to by having a screaming fit. I tried to walk away from him, but he followed me around the house. The next day I woke up and went down to the kitchen to get some pineapple out of the fridge. I passed Larry’s room, he saw me, and proceeded to start screaming at me again. Later that day, Pradeep, the producer spoke to Larry and talked him into silently hating me.

On a side note, we were told that Guyana was completely safe for Americans. I did my own research and checked out travel warnings and found that there were safety issues, but only in certain sections of Georgetown. When we arrived we were told we were basically under house arrest because it wasn’t safe. The only reason we took the job in the first place was to see Guyana. The first night we were sitting in the house bored, so we decided to risk a trip out on our own. We had no problems, found a great restaurant, and were joined by some local ladies, who took us to a concert and made sure we got back to our hotel safely in a cab. There was apparently an element of heightened danger when we were there because the FBI had been cracking down on the local drug kingpins. In a country where drug money pays for things like schools and other social services a disruption in the cash flow can have far reaching consequences including increased aggression towards Americans, but the whole time we were there we didn’t have any problem accept for a few comments from kids. Right after I left the minister of agriculture was murdered in his home.

We ended up only receiving five hundred dollars to do the job. We were able to take most of the furniture out of Pradeep’s many stores and were introduced to a man named Ronald who was a “import / exporter”. Ronald drove us to one of his warehouses outside Georgetown, which was a massive house guarded by a fifty year old man who sat in a rancid chair all day watching a four-inch television. When we entered the house there were shelves lined with broken kitchen appliances, washers, dryers, toys, and a multitude of other products. I asked what he was going to do with all these damaged goods. He said they were being shipped to the U.S. to be sold. Ha! I will let you draw your own conclusions on this.

Photograph by Eric ScottDespite all this craziness Dave and I managed to get everything together. The rest of the newly hired crew had arrived and so had Marcy who had the flu. Dave and I, made an appearance on Guyana Today, we made a trip into the interior and toured bauxite mines, and were invited to attend a birthday party for a Indian man who ran a local “Security Company”, which was interesting. Half of the Guyanese population is Indian and the other half is black with a very small percentage of Amerindian which are the native peoples. Almost all to the money is in the Indian side, so the two don’t get along very well, which is why Pradeep carried a gun on his ankle and hired private security forces.

Photograph by Eric ScottOn the first day of shooting, Dave and I had to make a mannequin look like it was a body hanging from a tree. Since our kit hadn’t arrived, all that we had to do this was an old roll of duct tape, a hot glue gun and a hacksaw. We actually managed to make it look pretty decent. We were pulling the mannequin up on the rope, when Larry came over and started yelling at me about the feet not being pointed enough. I began to explain to him that the wardrobe decision was to put high heels on the mannequin, which flattened out the bottom of the feet. Before I could finish my sentence he told me to, “shut up”. So having had enough I went into third grade mode and said, “no, you shut up”. He moved in within an inch of my face and told me to tell him to shut up again. It was completely bizarre, I though I was going to have to fight an old man. I told him to shut up again. He stared me down, but I stood firm. He eventually turned and walked away screaming expletives. I told him where to go, he turned and began yelling that I was fired. At that point I was more than happy to go. They called a cab to set to pick me up. As I was getting in the cab the director expressed how happy he was at how the mannequin looked, then asked where I was going. I told him that I had been fired. He told me that I wasn’t fired, but I assured him that I was.

I returned to the hotel and Marcy and I booked a vacation into the interior. The best part was that we had to stay in the hotel where the production crew was staying for another day. I went for a morning swim in the pool where the production was scheduled to shoot that day. When Larry saw me I thought his face would explode it became so red. Dave decided to take over my position. When we were leaving the hotel he was lying in the lobby waiting to be taken to the hospital with a case of tourista and exhaustion from working eighteen-hour days.

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

The Interior Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Public Convenience, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Georgetown, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Georgetown, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Bauxite Mines, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Bauxite Mines, Guyana

Photograph by Eric Scott

Bauxite Mines in the Interior, Guyana