DAVE PLUS ONE - THE DIARY
Hi, I'm Phil, and for lack of a better term, I'm one of the creators/writers of Dave Plus One. I'm also the director, camera operator and finally the editor. Yes it's a lot of hats, and no my head isn't normally that big. But thanks for noticing.
I thought that, given we have so much support out there on the interwebs, that I'd start putting down what we are up to and what my thoughts, worries, victories and concerns were, while shooting this web series. I have no idea if anyone will read this, but at the least it gives me an opportunity to acknowledge and thank the many people that have jumped on board, to help make Dave Plus One , a thing.
- POST PRODUCTION -
Or how I learnt to swear at myself
Hello, good to see you again. Well we made it! It took 9 days of shooting and countless hours of effort by many talented and dedicated people, but now Dave Plus One is officially "In the can". Now once all the dust has settled and we are not having recurring nightmares about call sheets and locations, it's time to put all the pieces of this show together and see what comes out the other side. A small warning: there will be some technical computery type stuff in this post, but that's the nature of editing and post production. There is just so much that can go wrong, and in so many ways that not talking about it in a technical way would be to miss the point somewhat.
So, starting at the beginning. All the files work!!! Yes, I had checked that this was the case as we went along, but seeing all 9 days worth of shooting sit in one place was awesome! I don't know exactly how many hours we shot but I can tell you that it ended up being about 1.1TB or 1,100 Gigabytes!! That's a lot of footage, and I had thought that this was a small shoot. All the files were imported into the Avid via AMA linking, which also worked first time! ( this was an important part of my workflow and the whole reason that we shot using the Atomos Ninja Blade (and because it has a bad ass name))
At this point in time, I have an assembly cut of episode 01 & 02 done. Which is fantastic, especially given that these 2 episodes covered at least 3 different shooting days. (All of our shots match continuity, huzzah!!) I'm actually blown away by my casts performances. They are tender, funny, on point and most of all believable.
As we didn't really have anyone watching the shoot for 'who had what in which hand and when' I've gained a new and added respect for my main cast. Ella and Todd have had so many long scenes together, and it's only now that I realise that in every take, they do the same thing at the same time with (mostly) the same hand. They did this on top of knowing their lines and listening to me tell them what to do, and where to look. So many cuts, I've decided to jump from a single CU to a wide, only to find that the mug Ella was holding or the position that Todds head was in, matches perfectly. I know that this sounds like a small thing that no one will notice. To me however, it means that all of my takes are use-able. Did some one have a knock our delivery on the second take, but a passing motorbike ruined the shot, don't worry use a line from the first take, and you'll find the coffee cup in Annabelle hand in exactly the same place. This makes me celebrate out loud in the edit suite!
Honestly, I couldn't love my cast more.
Things that will give me trouble:
- There is a bit of noise on the audio track. Mostly the dialogue is clean and clear, but given we shot with a boom mic for the whole production & that our boom mic operator was Ben who had never held one before, there was always going to be a chance that this would happen. I don't think that it will detract too much from the scenes or the performances, but I will have to see about trying to take out some of the background hiss / traffic. The one thing that marks an amateur production is bad sound, and although this isn't bad, there is room to make it better.
- Some of the lighting is pretty shite. Which is entirely my fault and now my problem. There isn't much I can do about it now, but luckily I have enough coverage (in most cases) to be able to cut around some of the . . . less good scenes.
- The only other issue is, that I had thought, and presumed that each episode would be about the 6-7min mark. However the 2 episodes that I've cut are coming in at 9-10min. I worry that this will be too long for an online video. I'm sure that everyone is aware of the short concentration span of people watching things online (I'm no exception) and I worry that people will see a 10min episode and think "I don't have time for this" and return to twitter/facebook/whatever. There is room for things to be cut down a little, and I have a feeling that I'm going to have to start to "kill my darlings" as the saying goes, and sacrifice scenes I love for the greater good.
But my greatest fear;
God, I hope it's funny.
Comedy is such a subjective thing, and Dave Plus One is supposed to be a romantic comedy. We all know that Rom-Coms are heavy on the Com with the Rom coming in to save the day right at the end. On paper, I think it's funny. People told me , they think it's funny. I'm laughing while in the edit, but I'm far too close to the material to have an objective view of it. We have a great cast, and the whole thing looks good, but if people don't laugh then we haven't done what we/I set out to do. This is the thing that is keeping me awake at night. Is it funny? Is it funny? How will I know? I already know where the jokes are supposed to be! I know that Todd does an amazing eyebrow raise at exactly the right moment, to convey contempt at a situation. But will other people see that, and laugh with him? Naser is killing it in the slap stick but the subtle laugh that comes with Ella's look, or the witty one liners in Ben's scenes ? Will people see that? Will they go, "oooh that was a clever barb" or will they just go, "aaaaah he is in his undies, this must be the comedy". Thinking about other people watching this (and getting them to actually watch it is a whole other set of worries) fills me with dread. Don't get me wrong, I want people to see it. I want millions of people to see it, and be entertained by it. To say to other people 'hey check out this thing, its great'.
God I hope it's funny.
sHOOTING DAY 8 & 9 - WRAP UP
Yes Yes. I know, I've been a bit slow on the up dates here, but look today you get two (perhaps more) so bear with me. OK so, day 8 was a 'simple' day , at least by our standards. We had the fabled meeting of Dave (Todd) and the ex girlfriend Jen (Tara). As is becoming our style we did the first scene in one shot. Todd& Tara worked together perfectly, we had some excellent comedic timing with Naser, a bike helmet and a razor scooter. The next scene saw us shooting in a gazebo inside a kids park (it was a last minute decision kind of thing). Despite it being about 35 degrees Tara managed to deliver a performance that was an emotional tour de force. Her quiet confidence sang through and I was very happy with the scene, I am beginning to suspect that it might be a little long, but thats something to worry about one I get into post production.
We moved location to the purpose built elevator set, made lovingly by hand by our multiskilled producer Elliot!! This was to be a fast jumble of jump cuts, where Zac (Naser) and then Dave pitch business ideas, and dating possibilities to fellow elevator occupants. We had an amazing collection of actors put their hands up to perform as some of our support cast, a,nd they all did a bang up job. Also thrown into the mix was Elliot our super producer and Tanya our MUA (that's Make Up Artist, to the uninitiated). As this was a very small and increasingly warm set my plan was to shoot short, fast and snappily! This turned out to be a very funny scene(s) to shoot, with many breaks taken due to the cast and crew getting the giggles. Once again Naser was the shining star of the day, and all I had to do was basically wind him up and set him lose upon the script.
For the first time every, we finished shooting on time!
Things that went well: Elliot's home made elevator was fantastic, and looked believable enough for the scene to work! Our support cast were great and very very patient. Tara who played "Jen" did it so well that I'm thinking that I should have written a bigger part for her. Such was the power of her performance. Todd once again, was on point and makes Dave his own, and despite me making him act in 35 degree heat, didnt sweat off his make up. A true superman. Naser killed the elevator scenes, his upbeat energy gave everyone a much needed lift towards the end of the day.
Things that went not well: It was very hot , but you can't blame me for that, Woooo!
Things that I fucked up: I worry that I didn't get enough coverage in the Dave & Jen gazebo scene. It was terribly hot, and I had trouble holding the camera in an awkward position for such a long scene. So quick singles and alternate shots would have gotten me out of trouble and I have this unsettling feeling that I'll be cursing my own name in the edit suite in a few weeks time.
Shooting Day 9
This was a short short day dedicated to getting pick up (ie things I had either forgotten about shooting or not shot well) and for our cast to get some publicity photos and interviews done. We did manage to grab a couple of short scenes of Zac (Naser) and Annabelle (Ella) spying on one of Dave' (Todd) dates, which incidentally we shot at a KFC, but neglected to get any chicken. Poor leadership on my part frankly.
sHOOTING DAY 7 - WRAP UP
With a very early start we began our seventh day of filming. Our first scene was called for Ella (Annabelle) to be horribly hung over on the couch. Only to be dragged into consciences by the persistence of Todd(Dave) and of course the alluring smell of bacon. Ella proved to be quite experienced in acting hung over and happily we sailed through this scene very quickly. The sad times came, as this was the last scene that we would be filming with Ella. She is an outstanding actor and injected so much life into her character. As well as always being on time and 100% professional, Ella was a joy to work with, and I would jump at the chance to work with her again.
We then moved production to our make shift florist (aka my garage) We had originally planned to shoot an EXT of a local flower shop but it was raining so we bumped the shot. Our florists ,despite actually being a garage , looked fantastic. Some enthusiastic set dressing by Elliot & 'questionable' sign writing by Julia really made the place feel real.
The scene was a big one. Not only was it the final scene of the entire series, but it was the moment that "Dave" puts all his fears aside and chances upon true love. Or in less wanky speak, he gives it a go with the possibility of it all going tits up. Todd and Eleanor (Kinsey) were again pure magic! There is a fantastic chemistry between these two , that plays out as an adorable, flirty, awkwardness. I would love to say that I directed them towards this, but in truth it's just really really good acting.
Eleanor is a powerhouse of an actor. She can do things with her eyes that change the mood of the scene from 'angry annoyed confrontation' to ' forgiving acceptance' and somehow end up in ' you're a doofus but I like you'. All while standing still. Amazing!!
Todd was my rock. I often get to the end of a days shooting and realise that I never really gave him any direction (which I always feel bad about) I mostly just tell him where to stand and occasionally get him to say a line again. He has such an intrinsic understanding of the character that I forget that he is probably waiting for me to tell him what to do. Sorry Todd.
We were also joined for a second time by Marijana, who had a very small part in Ep05 as Kinsey sister (aka Mimsey) but we liked her so much that we recast that character as"Charile", the morose florist. This was a harder part than it seemed. Charlie was supposed to be the comedic foil for the scene and speak for the audience, as well as providing a break from the usual RomCom fluffy ending. We took a few takes to get the tone of the character right, but what she delivered in the end really worked.
Having finished the season finale scene , we quickly changed gears and moved to an underground car park. This was the new location to replace the Supermarket (as the supermarket we had lined up to shoot in, suddenly wanted $1500 for us to use it, the fuckers) The scene takes place at the end of Ep5, and is the moment where Dave misinterprets something and shoots himself in the foot. (for those of you reading along at home, turn to the "woman as temptress" part of your Monmyth book) or for the less wanky version. Dave gets too confident and fucks up.
We ended up shooting this at the lowest level of an underground carpark, as we were really pressed for time (someone needs to learn to stick to the schedule) we only had 45min to shoot this scene which was about a page. We needed Todd & Eleanor to happily be together, and then suddenly be angry (Eleanor) and perplexed (Todd). Again it is only by the strength of my cast that we not only got through this scene in record time, but that it was truly believable.
As this scene is the turning point the the 7 episode story. We needed to understand & be comfortable with Daves actions, but also empathise with what the same scenario looked like from Kinsey point of view. It was a tricky scene story wise, and I personally feel that the premise in the script is probably not a strong as it could be. However, Eleanor delivered her performance in a way that you completely empathise with , and poor Dave is left standing in a puddle of his own confusion. Hopefully this will leave the audience with the duality of siding with 'Kinsey' emotionally as she storms off, but then flipping into the embarrassed regret of 'Dave' seconds later. It's a big ask, but we have the performance to do it.
The end of the days filming also marked our last day with Eleanor. Charming, fun and fucking amazing on screen. If you need someone to look adorable and dangerous at the same time, all while wearing Doc Martins, I couldn't recommend her enough.
Things that went well: The set dressing of the florist was awesome! My cast were fantastic and we even shot most of our scene in good time. I think the final scene of the series will be one of the strongest scenes in the whole show.
Things that went not well: Ah, well, you see we still start the day very slowly. Our first scene should have been done and dusted by 0930, but we didn't bump out until 11 or so. Again I should organise that day a little better.
Things that I fucked up: Nothing really. Had I done the first part of the day quicker I would have had more time to work on our last scene. Luckily we got exactly what I wanted for the end of the day. So it didn't hurt us in the end. However , that relies on me knowing that my cast can 'turn up and turn over' and get everything right within a take or 2. If I didn't have Todd and Eleanor, I think I would have been in a world of trouble.
Shooting day 5 & 6 - Wrap up
So admittedly I've been a bit slow in getting these updates done. However you now get the great bonus of two for one! So really it was worth the wait. . . wasn't it?
We returned to the Balgowlah Bowling Club, to shoot our 3 remaining date scenes. This was a big moment, as by the end of the night we would have shot everything for Ep1,5 and 6! As the bowling club is 90% windows we had a late crew call of 4pm and intended to film until midnight.
Our first scene was sticking Dave (Todd) halfway through a window. An easy first shot and a odd way to start the day. We moved quickly onto the opening scene in Ep01. A forced double date, with our two very glamorous support cast of Alexis & Natalie, and not to forget the sardonic and sassy Diab!! The scene went very well and the two ladies did a spectacular job. So much so that I think I'm gong to have a hard time cutting down this scene. Diab our sassy waiter, was right on the money!
We moved to our second 'date' which was a scene from Ep5, with Todd and Ella. Again both of these guys did an amazing job, and we cruised though the scene quickly. I can't tell you how much I rely on knowing that all my cast can work through a 3min scene in one take. We got some coverage and moved onto our next date between "Dave & Kinsey: (Todd and Eleanor) this wasn't a very long scene but it was getting very late in the evening, and everyone started to get a little silly. Which made the lateness of the hour much more bearable. Seeing the interaction between Todd and Eleanore made me think back to the days of casting where we had 3 very strong contenders for the role of Kinsey. But watching these two play off each other , made me realise that , if nothing else, I had made the right choice in casting.
A special mention goes out to all the fabulous people that came down at a moments notice to fill out our 'bar' & 'fancy restaurant". Especially to Amy who travelled from Canberra for the experience. You all did a magnificent job, thank you again!
Things that went well: I got exactly what I needed out of all our cast. Especially our support cast that came with a professionalism and an attitude that made the day so much easier.
Things that went not well: Timing, I'm still bad at keeping to my call sheet and my schedule. I don't know how I can change this but I might just have to face the fact that I will always run late. Also, shooting at night in a room full of windows means that you will always get a reflection of your lights everywhere! It drove me crazy.
Things that I fucked up: Nothing that I can think of. It was a late finish but we didn't have casting call until 5pm, so I think that's ok.
Day 5's filming was located mostly in "Daves Apartment' we had almost all of our main cast present, and things went swimmingly. We shot some parts of Ep06 with Dave and Annabelle (Todd & Ella) In terms of our story this is the moment where temptations and possibilities pop up for our hero. We get to see Dave have a grasp at what he thinks he wants, and he has a moment to choose. As always Todd, Ben & Nasar acted their pants off (actually this was the first scene we shot where Wade (Ben) actually had his pants on, I know, ironic right?)
Ella did some amazing work, her character of Annabelle had a real gamut of emotions to work though during these scenes, from sadness, anger & revenge to hope and tenderness. I can tell you that the crew certainly were effected by her tears, and I'm not ashamed to say that she made us all a little emotional.
We also moved the production to Luna Park in Sydney to film some scenes on the Ferris Wheel there. As the park wanted to charge us a lot of money to shoot there, I decided that the best thing to do was go 'gorilla style' and film under their noses. It was only while we were in line for the ferris wheel that I discovered that Todd wasn't a great fan of heights. Luckily Todd was as professional as always and the only way you would know that he was in fear for his life is by looking at the whiteness of his knuckles as he held onto the side of the car.
Things that went well: We finished shooting in the apartment about 90min earlier than we had thought. Which was fantastic but that also led to us having to hang around for an hour, and wait for the sun to set before we could move onto the night Ext. scenes
Things that went not well: We spent too long at Luna Park, I was distracted by all the pretty lights and we spent about 2.5 hrs there.
Things that I fucked up: I kept everyone working until 11pm, which was very bad of me. Despite no one every complaining about the lateness of the hour, it was terrible time management on my behalf
SHOOTING DAY 4 - WRAP UP
After a lot of pain and chasing our tail to try and get a cafe location. We were finally blessed with the wonderful people at Cafe 334 (@ Sydney rd, Balgowlah) Deepa & DJ were so nice, laid back and accommodating that I almost felt like we were walking into a trap. But not so, Cafe 334 closed at 1pm on Sunday and we had complete run of the place until 8pm! So an extra big thank you again to Deepa & DJ, you guys are awesome!!
We had 3 different scenes from 3 different episodes to complete today. Todd (aka Dave) Naser (aka Zac) and a special guest appearance by Caroline, playing "Evie the barista girl". I shot all scenes hand held ,to speed up our set up time, and the first scene was an homae (aka copying) of this scene from Goodfellas Granted, I'm no Scorsese, but I think the scene worked really well. I find that my cast are great at getting their timing and lines to work in a long scene and I like seeing them slightly tweak their performances in rehearsal, and then deliver beyond that during each take.
Sitting down in the cafe's courtyard we moved on to a scene from Ep01, Todd , Naser and Ella (aka Annabelle) discuss Daves wedding invite situation, with Naser using what can only be called "too much whipped cream' to great comic effect. It had the crew in stitches, and in true testament to her professionalism Ella was the only one on camera able to suppress her laughter and continue during the scene. I'm a little worried that it might over shadow the dialogue, However this is supposed to be a comedy, and if the barely muffled laughter is anything to go by, this scene should be a winner.
Last scene of the day was an awkward blind date with Todd and special guest start Cecilia (playing Sky, as Daves first date) The cafe had a very low couch with an even lower coffee table. So with the camera on the ground we shot Dave being bad at dating. My thoughts were that having both characters sitting in a cramped and low position would be accentuated by a very low camera angle. It might have been overkill though, as the interaction on screen between Todd & Cecilia was gold ( in the way that gold is really uncomfortable and you want to leave) Cecilia & Todd played well against each other, and it did feel like these were 2 people that really wanted to be somewhere else.
Things that went well: Almost everything. Despite me having the terrible man-flu, we got through all our scene in good time, with great results. We wrapped 10min past our estimated wrap time, and that's a win in my book. I had staggered our cast arrival, and left enough time for make and wardrobe (finally) and everything went to plan. The fact that our location was so accommodating really helped us.
Things that went not well: Really no that much. I think I need to get better and faster at lighting a scene, especially when it gets darker. As I can faff about with light for way too long, and still not love the results. We did have to send out our resident comedian Julia Wilson, to get more whipped cream, but that was really the only snag for the day.
Things that I fucked up: I'd say that today was fuck up free. Maybe we are getting the hang of this....
SHOOTING DAY 3 - WRAP UP
Today was an odd combination of an easy shoot and a hard location. We were shooting in an office block in the middle on Sydney city. The script was nothing huge and we only had 4 cast in total. However our first few scenes were outside the office on a busy footpath (sidewalk for you reading this in the states) adding to that, there was a protest rally, and an anti-protest protest rally at the other end of the block! Luckily things had died down on the protest side of the street and most of the flag wavers had moved on before we started to actually shoot.
Our first scenes, were the exterior parts for EP03, and was mainly Todd (playing Dave) and Naser (playing Zac) walking and talking outside the office building. We had the lovely Victoria (playing Samantha, a potential love interest) come and join us for the last scene, and she gave such a warm and genuine performance (despite having muscle cramps for playing lasertag the previous night). Thank you Victoria!
We then moved into the office, to shoot some of Ep01 and Ep05. The setup for Ep01 involved Todd and a guest appearance by Sam who played 'Nick' a young lawyer who is in over his head. In scripting terms, this was a very important scene as it's Daves' "save the cat' moment, where we see him sacrifice something he wants to help someone else. I think that this came across pretty well, and the interaction between Todd and Sam sold me on the moment.
Our final scene was a somber moment between Ben (playing Wade) and Todd. Wade is mostly a selfish wanker in most of this show. Power & status hungry and oblivious to others around him. However this scene we get to see him at a vulnerable moment. It only last for 4 lines of dialogue and is sandwiched between jokes about balls, but Ben killed it. We shot it in one take, and Ben managed to be crass and full of bravado then tone it down into quite a somber confession, and then jump back up for a ball joke. I was really impressed, and it showed me just how much he understands the character. The fact that he did this all in his underpants made it that much more impressive.
Things that went well: Again, the cast are all amazing, professional, on time, and just fucking good at acting. I have nothing to complain about at all. We used our co-writer , Jame's office (given that he is an actual lawyer) and he had some excellent ideas about how to block some of the scenes. Which I wouldn't have thought of at all. Which goes to show that having good people around you is always a good idea.
Things that went not well: I think today was a good day shooting wise. Again I didnt factor in enough time for make up and wardrobe, and that made us a little late for the end of the exterior scenes (we we're loosing light very quickly).
Things that I fucked up: I forgot to bring all the props and the one piece of wardrobe that we needed. It was entirely my fault, and I didn't even realise that I had until someone asked me where the wardrobe was. Luckily Elliot ( our super producer) jumped onto the problem and sourced everything withing 30min. God bless you Elliot.
shootingday 2 - wrap up
3 days before we were due to shoot in a local cafe, the location cancelled on us. Which to put it mildly, was a bummer. However we did a quick turn around of our collective thinking hats and changed what scenes and episodes we were going to shoot. We instead aimed to do all the "Daves Apartment" scenes for episodes 01 & 02. Which was a fair amount of work, but it was a location that we controlled (my littler brothers apartment) and we would only need 4 of our principle cast members. Which would be a lot easier to handle than the 20 or so support cast that we had last time.
Most of the day was spent shooting Todd (aka Dave) and Ella (Annabelle) doing some talking in the living room. We also had the magnificent Ben on hand to play Wade. These were some heavy scenes. One in particular was a full 3 minutes of the actors remembering what to say and where to be when they said it. Again all of our cast were fucking fantastic. With almost no slip ups and only one or two re-takes due to lines. We managed to get all the shooting done reasonably quickly, and although it was a tight space packed with around 10 people, (plus cameras and lights) everyone got along extremely well, and no one stormed off to their trailers.
The day ended with us chasing light right at twilight (thanks again to the that stupid vampire movie for ruining that word) and me going into shoulder mount mode with the camera to shoot a great sequence with Naser (Zac) and Todd. Naser had to wear a completely drenched suit and be soaped up. Which made me start wondering what else I could get these guys to do, in the name of art of course.
Things that went not well: Honestly, not that much. I do need to get some more shots in and not worry so much about charging through the shot list. I know that I'm going to make life harder for myself when I get to the edit, as I'm only doing a very basic level of coverage. I did remember to get close ups this time, so that should help. But I feel like I need to give myself more of a chance to come up with some more creative shots/movements. But the coverage is there. I also need to block in more time for make up , as opposed to the 'none minutes' that I've been allocating it thus far.
Things that I fucked up: Nothing! At least that I know of at the moment. I should have gone outside about 30mins earlier. As we had 2 scenes outside, and although it wasn't dark it was very close and it will hopefully look like early morning rather than late afternoon. All in all it was a fun day, and I'm pretty sure most people had a good time while shooting.
Shooting Day 01 - wrap up
Well, that was a huge day. We arrived at location at 0700, to start blocking out windows and setting up the set. Cast arrived on time at 0800, with one exception who got just a little lost. We quickly moved into make up and wardrobe, where I was asked questions like.
"what kind of look do you want Kinsey (the lovely Eleanore) to have" to which my response was. "I have no idea what that question means" thus followed a steep and baffling learning curve of types of make up looks and wardrobe combinations. Luckily, very luckily. We had some top people on the case with Tanya & Nicole plying their trade to make all of our cast look amazing.
We shoot all of our speed dates with the main cast, and then moved onto our wonderful supporting cast. Who threw themselves into their roles. Really this kind of blew me away. Not only did they work well with what they had, but when I suddenly turned the tables on them and gave them new lines, and direction. They still delivered in spades.
We were running about an hour behind by lunchtime and we had to drop some shots to stay on schedule. So we didn't get an establishing shot of everyone milling around before the 'speed dating' started. I'm reasonably confident that we can cut around this and still convey what I want the scene to be.
Our last shot of the day was a 3 hander (3 of our main cast in the scene) and I had story boarded this to be a one take, hand held. Naser, Ella and Todd hit their marks physically and were on script. The same can not be said for me or the boom operator. I can tell you that walking into someone and being rewarded with a boom pole to the head, does not make for a smooth shot.
Things that went well: All my supporting cast were fantastic! They sat around for hours, waiting for us to get to their scene, without complaining. Then they knocked it out of the park, so easily. I felt bad for making people hand around for 6 hours, only to shoot their entire scene in 10mins. My main cast are fucking excellent! They have their characters locked down, and every vocal inflection, hand gesture and line delivered was spot on. I'm really starting to feel like I'm the weakest link in this chain.
Things that went not well: Time, was not my friend. Lighting set up took a lot longer than I had first expected and we started shooting 45min after we should have. Also the sun was a right bastard towards the end of the day. We were shooting inside, but had some very large windows to cover (big thanks to the team that handled all the blacking out) but we coudlnt do anything about the skylights. The Canon C100 worked perfectly and I was very happy using it. The hand held scene proved to be a lot harder than I had thought. I've used a lot of cameras in the past. And can be a pretty sturdy tripod when I need to be, but the C100 was very tough to shoot while holding. It may have been the fact that it was my 12hr of being on set, but I found it a right bastard to move around with.
Things that I fucked up: I forgot to shoot any cut aways! ANY. I had planned to do some CU's of drinks on the table, speed dating numbers, and some other coverage, to get me out of trouble in the edit. But I did none of these things. I also called in the support cast way too early and they sat around for 5 hours before we got to shooting them. I had also underestimated the ability to 'turn around the camera' to shoot reverses. We could only look in one direction, due to the glorious sun shine spilling in from the windows.
Other than that, things went pretty well , all things considered. We are planning our next days shoot for episode 2 this weekend. Hopefully I've learned something.
Shooting Day 01
So it is upon us. We have the cast and we have some crew, we even have a location. Now it's the business end of "making a web series'.
This Sunday we have our fist shoot day. We will be filming Episode 04 "A New Hope". It's our speed dating episode. Which means that it's also the heaviest day in terms of casting and set ups.
We have 3 main cast, 10 supporting cast, 7 pages and 45 camera set ups to complete! Some may say that we are crazy for thinking we can do this, and frankly the smart money is with them. But we do have a great script and some of the most talented actors that I've ever met. We have planned for all foreseeable dramas, which means we should only be caught off guard every by every second thing. The gear is booked and the cast has been given call times. As it's only Tuesday, all I can do now is sit and wait and stress and over-think things. Like blocking, pacing, lenses, colour temp, times, makeup, wardrobe, boom mics and eye lines.
At least we're shooting inside. . .
I don't mind saying that the casting process, blew my mind. I really thought, and I mean really. That we would get , at best, 5 people who had "maybe thought about being an actor' turn up, and that we'd cast them. What happened was staggering. 38 people showed up, over days. They came to a place based only on an ad and a script. They waited in turn, then happily read for us. Then thanked us for seeing them!
Not only were these people committed to all of that action, but they were good. Very good. So good that it actually became a huge challenge to make even what I thought would be the easy choices. We had , 23 Annabelles, 18 Kinseys, 6 Daves, 5 Zacs & 4 Wades. We had to actually have a meeting (and I'm not doing this so I can get in on more meetings) about who we should think about casting. We looked at 12 online video submissions! TWELVE !!
Eventually, after a lot of emails, chats and yes more meetings, we ended up with a absolutely stellar casts. Each time I hear these guys read I'm blown away. They each understand the characters in ways that make me look at the characters again. I'm finding out things I didn't know, about people I helped create.
It is daunting, and humbling. And I hope to God that I can do their talent and commitment justice, or I'm going to feel like a damn fool!