Night shoots. Ugh. I don’t know if you enjoy sleep, but I do know that I do. I sleep more than most people, I think–or I used to, at least. I enjoy sleep so much that I went and got involved in a project like this one. Night shoots followed by more night shoots, stacked on other night shoots. Are we mad? Yes, probably. If we weren’t at the start we sure are now.
We started the week out pretty well, finishing off the ‘solo’ scenes–that is to say, the scenes that only need the lead actor/co-writer/co-director etc.–much to my amazement, with my own fair hands around the camera, we produced some good work. It may have taken a lot of takes, but that’s what big memory cards are for, right?
Unfortunately, due to other things going on in my life, we had to cancel the second day this week, but fear not, I have a cunning plan. Or rather, I scheduled in a whole lot of days for pickups, so we have a whole lot of time to catch up–by “a whole lot of time”, I really mean, “damn, this is scary we can’t afford more delays”–but there we have it, life gets complicated sometimes. Which brings us nicely on to Friday night. The big one. The full crew, full cast and complicated set workarounds.
We were running late, so we (DoP Peter and I) drove to the location rather than walked, and were greeted with a happy crew, ready and waiting, except for one key player. Remember last week, when I said we were waiting on an actor? He couldn’t make it, so we arranged our replacement–he was keen and excited and, up until literally half an hour before, able. But life gets complicated. He messaged me explaining that he was no longer available due to unforeseen circumstances, he apologised, and when I spoke to him a couple of days later, he apologised again. (It’s okay, these things happen, I wish you all the best)
But now we had no one to play the part, the part that was now needed for every single day until wrap. I only had a minor panic though (I didn’t even cry). We ran through our options.
We could rethink the part entirely and get our boom op to stand-in? Possible, but we would be compromising, stepping on the toes of cliche, and we’d lose a valued crew member while we were at it. Not the best. Or, we could switch around the cast and worry about the gaps later? Only if absolutely necessary; we were pretty happy with the choices we’d made.
Then Peter, in a stroke of genius, made a phone-call to a talented friend of ours and I wonder why we didn’t think of him sooner… He was awake, and he was available, and he agreed! (We are eternally thankful to him. I think he knows that, we’ve said it so many times already.)
Filming started a full hour behind schedule, but it started. We raced through the scenes and everything went relatively smoothly–short a forgotten mini-dolly and the worst batteries known to man–and finished up the wrong side of four am. We packed our things and left. Peter drove the crew home and I walked with a bag of heavy equipment and a satisfied smile.
Tomorrow will be the beginning of Week 3, and we are going to get this done. On time, no delays.