When her roommates left to quarantine somewhere else, eastern region 1st Assistant Rebecca Rajadnya (Love After Love, Appropriate Behavior, Little Men, Strange Ones, Hustlers, Broad City , Russian Doll) was alone, sheltering in place, in her very small Greenpoint, Brooklyn apartment; and seeing the once-bustling streets of Brooklyn turn into a ghost town made it even lonelier. So Rajadnya relocated to a friend’s house several blocks away. Now she’s surrounded by friends, and able to stretch out across three floors and a backyard. She says she can bounce ideas off others face-to-face and focus on personal projects.
Has being able to connect with friends/family in distant locations via Zoom revealed new aspects to those relationships?
Zooming with people living in distant locations or even just a train ride away has revealed to me how easy it is to prioritize making time for those that are important. When working, we put on “set blinders” which often excludes thinking about catching up with family and friends. It is so simple to open up Zoom and call someone for even just five minutes to say hello and let them know you’re thinking of them. I’ve also been having group Zooms with crews from different movies, and what quickly becomes apparent is how that sense of “family” never goes away, no matter how much time has passed since we wrapped a show.
How have you kept those isolating with you (or yourself) engaged and active?
I have been using Zoom to its full capacity during this quarantine. A few friends and I have an ongoing group for watching “so-bad-its-good” movies – like The Room or Cats. I do online dance classes nearly every day with friends to stay fit and have been participating in a weekly trivia game. A few friends have also started a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which is a great way to stay creative. Todd Banhazl, DP of Hustlers, is a fantastic DJ who held a live set over Zoom. I got to watch the L.A. sunset from my room in Brooklyn while virtually dancing with friends from across the world!
Have you attended or participated in any live Q&A’s with industry peers?
I’ve attended a few Instagram live Q & A’s with Todd, [Guild Director of Photography] Chris Teague, and his colorist Nat Jencks. SteadiSchool has been doing weekly webinars with different Steadicam operators and I have also tuned in to some of the chats through BSC’s YouTube page. While this pandemic has been very stressful, I do appreciate DPs and operators allowing us into their homes and taking time that they normally wouldn’t have to impart their knowledge in a way that is accessible to anyone hungry for it.
Any chance to improve your cooking skills?
Before quarantine, I only ordered take out when I wasn’t on set. Given how precious time off is when you’re on a long-term job, cooking never seemed like a priority, but sheltering in place has changed my mind. I’ve been experimenting with cooking foods I would normally order in. The biggest success was probably when we made a casserole with a bunch of leftovers and random stuff we found in the fridge and created the most perfect amalgamation of salt, cheese, veggies, and bacon to ever come out of an oven. The biggest failure was when we had a “fry night” where we fried everything in sight and decided to try to make kale chips. They turned into bitter ash that was pretty much inedible.
Has your streaming diet been inspiring, scary, weepy, or just pure escapism?
At the start of the quarantine I set out to form a sort of a curriculum: I wanted to delve into the classics and lesser-known films that are influencing filmmakers to this day. I have learned a lot from watching where the foundation of film style was formed as well as what you can learn from other countries’ classic films. When I just want to relax though, I swing towards comedy. I barreled through all seasons of Veep and I’m currently re-watching Rick and Morty.
What music is at the top of your COVID playlist?
I’ve been listening to a lot of ’50s and jazz music while I read, but otherwise, the list can vary from electronic, pop, to rap; anything that makes you dance!
What charities have you become involved in? And why did you choose?
I’ve been supporting the BK Bail Fund, We the Protesters, Fair Fight, and others. In these times, there are many ways to help contribute to pushing society forward to an equal and fair place for everyone. You just have to find which way works best for you.
Have you been taking photographs, either to document or as a creative outlet?
I generally always go out with my 35mm camera, even before the pandemic. I find that it helps me stay present in the world and the search for a shot makes me view my surroundings in a way I wouldn’t without my camera.
What is the one thing you miss most about being on a film/TV set?
The camaraderie; that precious feeling of everyone being on the same page, working towards the same creative goal, and feeling like a family. I even miss the late-night delirium that sets in on those dreaded Fraturdays!
How do you think your outlook on life will change post-COVID?
I hope when all of this is said and done, I will remember that there is always enough time for anything if I choose to set it aside. There is enough time to prioritize my own creative goals, to cook for myself, and to keep up with those I care about. My life isn’t just about filmmaking; that’s just one facet.