Technically we’re already a quarter of the way through the shoot (it’s an intense 10-day shoot). I’d be terrified at that idea if it weren’t for the fact that everything is running so smoothly.
The first thing we shot was a party scene. Naturally with so many people around, lots of shots to get, and having to mix moments of awkward humour and emotional outletting, we ran into a few minor snags. My stress levels were a little high as we went over schedule by a couple of hours. By the end of the night I wasn’t sure we had pulled off the opening scenes or even if the rest of the film was going to work, but my mind was put at ease as I watched back the footage the next day (still didn’t sleep that night though).
The majority of the scenes on Saturday were fairly long, emotional roller-coasters with actress Emilia Ufir. ‘Heavy scenes’ is probably the only way to describe what we were attempting as we (well, Emilia) had to go from moments of bliss to the lowest of lows within a matter of seconds as some painful home-truths are revealed. I’m very much aware of how hard it is to bring yourself to emotional extremes, and even more aware of how hard it is for an actor to go from one extreme to the other, but guess what, Emilia did it with flying colours, and the scenes are some of the best we’ve ever shot.
Once we got the more serious moments out of the way we welcomed Charlie Saville into the fray and filmed a scene at the complete opposite end of the spectrum, in what is arguably one of the funniest scenes of the film (morning after a one-night stand). It was a welcomed release after the more unsettling/intense hours previous. As we were running ahead of schedule we played around with the scene for a while, but mostly ended up corpsing for the majority as both cast and crew piled on the obscure comments (ranging from ‘wombs’ to ‘it’s an odd world war this one isn’t it?’ to talking about ‘Fireman Sam ending up crucified’…it got a little out of hand. But it reminded me of how much fun it can be to make a film. Obviously the video blogs we regularly make are quick, fun, easy bits to make, but more is at stake when making a feature, so it’s obviously nice when you get to enjoy it (as we seem to have done ever since).
Then it was plain sailing as me and tom ploughed through a scene which we knew the ins and outs of, having done countless improv sessions for it. At this point I really need to point out how overwhelmingly pleased I am with both Stuart Almond (camera) and Andrew Beeken (sound) who both brought their A-game. The film is shaping up to be even better than I could have hoped for as they continue to put their all into every passing moment of the technical side of the film. THANKS!
Sunday morning was always going to be tricky. Whenever I invite, one of my closest friends, Shaun Woodgates to be a part of the film we always struggle to get things done as there ends up being too much laughter. Not normally a bad thing, but on this occasion we were shooting exterior shots, which are notoriously harder, so I had to reign in some of the ‘on-set nonsense’. I always try to avoid shooting outside because of the countless problems that come with it (audio mostly – thanks to cars, birds, passersby, dogs…) Given the time of year I was anticipating the weather would come and screw us, and it did. The shots look beautfiul and the comic timing was superb, but it started to rain. We tried to carry on but had to give in as a wet camera is a dead camera (kind of like ‘Gremlins’). We headed back and watched back what we had captured as we ate lunch. I was ready to be disappointed that we hadn’t got all we needed but, to my amazement, there was one exceptional take in there where I can cut before the final line (as it started to rain), taking the scene in a different, even more uncomfortably funny direction, before the next scene.
Then the rest of the day was left to me and Tom to doddle through a handful of scenes which we had no trouble with. Laughter ensued (not thanks to Tom, he’s not funny. Ever.) Between takes we wasted(?) quite some time by imagining scenarios from the Dark Knight films, but with Batman on the toilet instead (‘ALFRED!’). Things are much more comfortable/fun/enjoyable/vomit-inducing when you allow this kind of thing to happen (listen up ‘serious directors’)
Now I just want to sleep…but there’s a lot more to get done (more soon)