Posted: 2020-07-04 12:00:00
Just as we are seemingly getting into our stride with the filming it suddenly struck me that it was coming to an end. As I lurked in the back of Charlotte’s filming room admiring the work she and the actors were producing, Olivia in the throes of saying her goodbyes admitted she was sad as it was her last day on our virtual set. This admissions was swiftly followed by Stephen who has come into this project completely fresh to the production, the only member of the cast not to have been in a previous version. As ever Zoom isn’t the format to do proper goodbyes- Olivia and Stephen had never met in person, but we did promise to meet up ‘when all this is over’.
We are slowly reaching our way to the end of what has been a brief filming schedule- today- Thursday 4th June was our 6th day filming. We have 9 days scheduled and we suspect we will need a day for ‘picking up’ the shots that for various reasons don’t work.
…and then the hard work begins.
Our daily meeting at the end of the day took place against a backdrop of glitter balls as like a rolling ball we all one by one slowly changed our backdrop to this shiny, sparkly orb of glass rotating behind us. The meeting thus took on a giddy, heady feeling as we talked through just how the final look of the film would look. It isn’t a Hollywood feature film or even a low budget film- we cannot do establishing shots or fill scenes with anything other than close-up shots on the actors. The high definition of the iPhone whilst sharp and precise was beginning to feel anachronistic- so Tristan produced a side by side comparison one with a different more blurred grade that blended actor and background. It felt a little counter intuitive actively lowering the quality on the actor- yet of course it worked better. It felt more as if the world of the actor and the environment were as one- as opposed to imposed.
As we start the mammoth task of threading all the scenes together, adding sound and music as we go we need to focus on what this medium can offer- not just what it doesn’t allow us to do. Because it does have advantages- it is intimate, it is intense and claustrophobic which is exactly what a lot of these scenes should feel like. The tunnel scenes are a case in point. So we embrace that intimacy and don’t try and turn this into a blockbuster with all sorts of things we cannot adequately do- like action sequences or wide shots of landscapes.
As Dom our sound designer said- it’s like a radio play- but with visuals. Of course that is reductive but it comes close. And we will only find out fully the reach of this by making it.
As those glitter orbs took over the screens one at a time- the thought struck me that without leaving our homes a team spirit was beginning to cohere around the project. The actors realising that they might miss the work and daily contact if not the technology. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves- two of the cast have yet to shoot their first scenes and we have a third of ‘the shoot’ to go- there is much to do before we finish stage 2. Sam who is dealing with what might be called ‘the back end’ now has the task of ensuring all the costumes/weapons/props and technology is returned safely and Emma who is working on the wider marketing campaign and also the technology that we will use to physically sell the production- this behind the scenes work as crucial as the work on camera. Arguably more so. It really has become a monster of a project.
And all that before we even get to stage 3…