Sunday, August 8, 2010

Skirting Disaster and Working Hard

6am I'm driving the hour it takes from home to get to the first location, the car is full of equipment, tracks, board dolly, jib arm, counter weights, Black 70% Shade Cloth (great for negative lighting windows/doorways). The camera gear and lights are already at the location, picked up by Frankie, the lead actor and I'm pumped, ready for a great day of shooting. The weather is perfect, and the location is fantastic, everything is great...until I realise that I've left the HD tapes at home.

What a rookie mistake, what a complete amatuer move, I was swearing at myself in my head with a lot more choice words than that. I decided to drive the final 15 min and drop off the gear and see if anyone from the crew is still back in town and could pick them up from home.

Negative ghost rider, too late. So I dropped off the gear, made the actors comfortable, apologised profusely, swore at myself some more, and drove the hour back home. Picked up the tapes, got back in the car, drove back to the location.

9am. I arrive back at the location, set up the gear, and discovered the production house who we hired the camera gear from had not given us a shotgun mic. I checked the invoice, I had paid for one, they hadn't included it, but had told Frankie it was in the bag...

I'd already lost 3 hours, what to do! Hit the phones, call every Soundie in my contacts, who had a mic? Got a mate back in town who had one but wasn't able to run it in to us...Back in the car, hour there, hour back.

5 hours behind schedule, early afternoon, light fading, not a single frame recorded and we had a night shoot to get to by 7pm at another location in Brisbane, 1 hour's drive from where we were.

It is a testament to the professionalism of my cast, and my crew that we got it done. Sharon Grimley, who had been cast three days previously was amazing. The rapport she had with Frankie was so heartening, and made the scene real. Frankie powered through and showed a softness and depth to his character that will make his cold killer three dimensional.

My brother in law was my only crew member for this part of the shoot and he was brilliant, his work ethic and his involvement in this film helped me through when my spirit was flagging. When your crew are busting their ass to make this work, you work harder so as not to let them down, and together we got it in the can.

Low budget indie film making, ultra minimal crew, one day to shoot it due to cast availability, we worked hard and got it done. While we were doing this, the large cast was assembling at the Brisbane location to prepare make up and costume. Alison Green, who was a non speaking role actually had Assistant Director experience, and took charge and fed, watered and organised the crew at location 2, while we were at location 1.

Desiree Voglesang was our makeup artist there, who actually worked on Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, her experience was invaluable! The bloodied victims were disgustingly good!

We made it to the night shoot, to be told the club location where we expected to shoot till 11pm was actually shutting down at 8.30pm (it was a quiet business night) , we had arrived at 7.15pm. So I quickly shot the one interior scene with Jake Stormoen who had driven two hours to be there for his scene, and arranged for power to be left out the back of the club when it shut down so we could complete the exterior scene.

For the next five hours in freezing cold, we splashed thugs with blood, shot people, got vicious, used the tracks, and worked our way through the shot list that Keith had in his hands, keeping us focused on what was needed. Our armorer fired off our blanks and we had half a film shot.

Sunday was a lot more relaxed, and we got to spend a decent amount of time on the emotional scenes, and explore Frankie's character. He really is a star in the making, with an emotional depth and range that is extraordinary!

Next week is the final three scenes of the film...our location is brilliant and I can't wait to get in there...with tapes and mic of course.

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