The post mortem on Day 3 highlighted some key areas where we could tighten up the shoot. If we continued the way we shot on Day 3, we would need two weeks to complete.
DP Vernon Leyton had a chat to his camera team and they worked out a few ways to move a little faster. I also decided to do a lot of the ‘close to the camera’ first AD duties to speed things up too.
But most of the problems were really because we had just got to a new location and the crew had only spent a few days together…
But Day 4, WE ROCKED. No-one, but no-one could have worked harder or faster. Suddenly our crew ‘machine’ was like a well oiled Porsche. We started getting shots in the can before 8.30am, compared to the day before when we got the first shot in at 11.30am (given it was a complex dolly shot the day prior). We hammered through the day, shooting actor Devon Murray fighting with the huge pike.
Stunt co-ordinator Jude Poyer donned his dry suit and got in the water to perform as the killer pike – sadly our animatronic pike was not yet ready, so we made do with a tennis racket with a fin attached. Most of the time this was quite comical, but several time, it was perfect and extremely effective. We will shoot the animatronic pike in a few weeks in a pickup.
We also had to go out on the dreaded boat. I was really getting to grips with the ambition of this film. Shooting on water. Shooting with animals. Shooting with practical and digital effects. Shooting with the position of the sun being a critical factor. Blimey.
Even though we were running much faster, it was till too slow slow, certainly by my guerrilla film standards (perhaps very fast by feature film standards). I had made a choice before going in to ‘Gone Fishing’, to make it like a big feature, which would mean things like waiting for the sun to be out of clouds etc. Whether that choice will have worked for me, we will wait to see.
As the day wore on, it became obvious we were not going to get to shoot what we had hoped for in the schedule, and it was clear we needed an extra day. This was something that some of the actors were unhappy about, but all were extremely gracious after a chat.
As unit base was a five minute walk, I chose to pee in the bushes, and ended up getting my legs stung on nettles. Nice!
Another problem we had was poor communications. We had opted to not have a second and third AD as this would increase the crew size. The down side was we rarely communicated our problems to the actors. I think this really impacted on actor morale as they sat around all day wondering what was going on.
We also relied on cast and crew, especially SUPERGIRL art department sole member, Becky Callas, to watch continuity, so we didn’t have script supervision or continuity on set. This worked well. The nature of the film is fragmented so even if we do notice problems, they probably won’t really matter.
We got our first report from Editor, Eddie Hamilton, and he told me that the footage looked gorgeous and that there were no real problems at all. Phew! Now I could breathe easier. And now I have seen some shots, I know that we have gorgeous cinematography. I just hope we get all the shots we need.
Lastly, most of the images on this blog from the shoot are courtesy of Mark Reeve, our ace stills guy. I recommend him highly. He also shoo all the props photos in the film too.
I have realised that for Indie Film making, 35mm is a poor choice. It’s just too big, expensive and unwieldy. I had always felt that. For this film it was the right choice though, as it is a short where sizzle is as important as substance. On a feature, substance is MUCH more important and the sizzle can often be jettisoned. For feature length cash strapped indie features, S16mm is my preferred choice now (as it is still film and you get that buzz on set and in post), with HDCam a second… And who knows what will appear in the future.
Onward and upward!