We just did the first shoot for my short film AGD (working title: A Great Date) this Saturday. It turned out to be one of those days that start on the wrong note. Having gone to bed about 0200 after a salsa party the previous night it was no surprise that I slept through the alarm and got up at 0710. Since my cab was booked for 0750, it was a cause for panic.
Then, as I should have expected, my printer refused to print the script. And I had no time to fiddle with it. I managed to get my filming kit packed in time for the cab and got to the station. Only to find that I had left my tickets at home! Fortunately, I always get to the station 30 minutes before train time and my house is only 5 minutes drive from the station. By grabbing a cab from in front of the station I was able to get the tickets from home. Just in time to board the train.
On the way to London I whatsapp'ed my team to ask if anyone could print a few copies of the script for me. Then I sat down and tried to create the shooting script which I had been too busy to create in the last few days. And wasn't able to create on the train either. It's not easy to do it on a tablet.
To add to this, one of my crew members had a personal emergency and messaged to say she's not coming. Okay.
I had a meeting in London about another project which went so well that it made me about 15 minutes late getting to the location for AGD. Most of my crew was there including a new MUA Julia Kass that I had just recruited a day before. But my DOP wasn't there and my sound man IM'ed to say he was running late, very late. He had the sound recorder and mic with him, and also his own camera that we use sometimes for shoots. Terrific!
And to make matters worse the very spot I had visualised to place my action, was taken by some men who thought Saturday was for hanging out in the park and drinking beer! But being a public park, I could not ask them to move or leave. But Brian had printed out the script copies and my DoP Cathrine arrived presently.
To get us started I blocked the scene with the actors in a close-by but different spot even though I could see it would work best at my chosen but now occupied spot. Then while the actors went for their make-up, camera department started their set up. I downloaded an app on my smartphone to use for sound recording, just to prepare for the worst case scenario.
But then things started to turn. Just as the cameras were all set up and my DoP was happy, the drinking men left the spot. As we moved the cameras to our favourite spot, my soundman Arun arrived. While we set up the sound gear and the third camera, the actors were ready. Actually they had been ready for a while and had been running lines with each other.
While all of this was good, the actors took the cake in this story. As soon we started shooting, they did the whole shot in one take! And let me tell you this was a difficult scene. It was long and dialogue was not in correct sequence with proper give and take as it would be intercut with another scene for the final cut.
Because of this there were places where the same person had to speak twice with no lines from the other person in between. And they managed all of that perfectly even giving me the right pauses for cutting in the right places. I had, of course, blocked and rehearsed the scene with them before and given them my notes, but even so, I was blown away!
The second part of the shoot was in Camden, in a restaurant that we like, and thanks to my actors we had time to break for lunch. The second scene went the same way. This one didn't have continuous action that could be filmed all in one go and there were some retakes but still it got done easily and quickly. I do have a kick-ass team!
I even had time to have a drink with my team before starting back from London.