Bit weird writing these now that the film's all shot and finished but was too busy trying to get it done to catch up with these blogs!
It's difficult to talk about this scene without giving too much away but I'll try...
Firstly, this scene was something that was debated about between me and the producers. Once we'd put this script out there to actors and I realised we were actually going to have to make this film - I panicked. For anyone that's read the script, you can understand why and I wonder just how many people that applied to be in the film did so thinking it was never going to materialise...
So my first inclination was to go back through the script and review every scene - just to see what I could scale back and even cut in its entirety. And this scene was the one that I wanted to cut the most. And this is where I met resistance from the producers.
My thoughts (at the time - believe me, I don't feel this way now) were that it was the only scene that took place outside of the main story and necessitated bringing the lead actress back. Because it happened outside the rest of the film, was it that important? And, I've always been paranoid about getting people back once they've gone - there's no obligation to come back and if the experience shooting was less than great last time, why the hell would someone come back?
As it was argued to me, this scene brings relevance to the true story angle which, as I mentioned a blog or two back, helped me build the entire plot. To me, I was happy to lose the 'based on a true story' title card for the sake of an easier, more manageable shoot. Reluctantly, I left it in though I was never enthusiastic about it and would have called quits on it had it been a bit of a pain to shoot.
That was until we'd shot with the leads that first weekend. After that, and viewing the first rough cut of the footage we shot with them, I realised how important this scene was. I needed the context to realise it but I got there eventually!
And I now think it's a brilliant scene that absolutely had to be in the film. There's a handful of scenes in the film that are going to 'jump' out and this is definitely one of them.
I had hoped that this was the final scene that we would shoot on scAIRcrows not just because of where it sits but also because it involved two actors I'd met previously. Everyone we video auditioned was great but there's a certain comfort you can take going into a scene when you're already familiar with the people you're going to be working with (look what happened on day 5 of the shoot for example!). So we brought back Victoria Smith who plays the lead in this film and had been through the toughest part of the shoot - that first weekend. Also in this scene was Dan McSherry, someone that we'd met in the auditions and really liked so was pleased to be working with him.
This scene, at a page long, took a lot longer to shoot than I originally expected but then it is light on dialogue with a slant towards action... I think we were done in about four hours which seems to be the magic number for all of these shoots. It was a really fun scene to shoot though because, excepting the scAIRcrows, this is really the only scene that I can think of that involved quite a few props - this was the one scene where I was adamant that a character had to look a certain way.
Which is actually something that I should mention - we didn't give anyone on this film a dress code - we said come as you see fit and we only had to interfere when the clothes would get messy in some way - in those instances, we provided clothing. But here, I did want a specific look and when you watch the finished film, you'll understand why. I do just love how this scene will play against the rest - if any scene took my sensibilities to the hilt, it's this one.
Again, I don't really want to say much on this scene and it's quite short so difficult to say too much so I'll wrap it up here.
Victoria - as I mentioned earlier, getting someone back was always something I was scared about doing, especially since the previous shoot was affected by the guy no showing - thanks for being so dependable and enthusiastic about the shoot! You were also right on the way a line should be read - I'm always happy to listen! You played this scene a lot better than I'd written it - it's the little things that add the texture to the characters and sometimes I think I focus on just the delivery too much - there's a couple of things that you did that weren't written that just breathe life into the character. And just thanks for the whole thing really, as you've been there since the beginning - it'll be worth it for sure.
Dan - you were great. I can think of one part of this scene where people are going to be laughing - I had to cut once because I was laughing behind the camera! It's going to look great and really going to add to the wackiness of the scene. I can write whatever but it takes actors that 'get' what we're trying to do to really make this work and you totally did that! I hope you'll be as happy with what we've shot as I am.
Jenny and Wayne - obviously, thanks for the use of the property. Hope we didn't freak the neighbours out too much - to outsiders I imagine at times it seemed like shit was really going down! And just thanks for everything else really - audio, second camera operation, stills etc etc.
Will try and get the rest of the shoot blogs written up and posted tonight as well as the pictures - at least that way, everything shoot related is done!