Today we filmed and actually are on track, according the 2-day schedule I posted, all except two scenes due to lack of planning. The scenes in question are the PUBLIC TOILET cubicle scenes and SCENE 5 INT. CORRIDOR 2 The scene in which MR SUTTON walks to a door, lets an attractive woman in a skirt through and as he is captivated by her, loads of people walk through- wasting more time! And the reason we couldn’t do it was down to not organising extras. With just the four of us (me being MR SUTTON, Danny being the attractive woman and Will or Pete operating the camera – just 1) we didn’t have enough people to shoot this scene.
In planning talks we just said we would rely on asking a few cohorts from a class to do this short scene but as we decided to film on a Wednesday, there was none in! We decided that we would continue, following our schedule, and shoot this scene tomorrow afternoon (after we film the outside and toilet scenes).
Our intentions for shooting the first scene were:
- Film the shots with MR SUTTON and the other interviewee sat down at the far end of KIC building: long, plain walls, would be good to show the empty and awkward environment (a technique I picked up from Mr. Bean)
- Film the shots of the secretary behind the reception desk at the Learning Centre. It’s a very convincing environment and would be a sneaky bit of production value.
- Shoot the shots in which MR SUTTON see’s the Out Of Order toilet, outside the men’s toilet on the first floor of the main building.
It was, retrospectively, a bit brave- filming one scene in 3 locations.. I mean, we are all amateurs and lighting, sound levels and an unconvincing environment would all make for one really scattered scene.
So in that sense it was good that the staff at the KIC told us we couldn’t shoot there and to go away! Me, Danny and Will all went off, scouting the main building for a corridor/room/lobby in which we could shoot the opening scene. Little did we realise that today was UCAS open day and the main lobby (our immediate fail safe) was packed to the rim of hopeful students!
We thought perhaps we could use a group study room in the computer room, I think we all kind of knew it was a waste of time- it wasn’t what we had planned, being stuck in a tiny room! But then a moment of genius struck us!
Rather than just the secretary’s shots being filmed in the reception to film the entire scene. We had originally ruled it out because we knew it might take a while and it would be tricky spending all day there but then again, we had no other choice..
We changed the layout of the room so it was less recognisable to the students and made a much more convincing waiting room.
I did underestimate the time it takes to set up lighting, cameras, to shoot enough back-up takes, getting a scene right and many more aspects. All these came into play for the first scene in particular. We started shooting around half 11am and by 2pm we had literally only just shot the first few seconds of footage because of all of these factors.
I honestly began to worry at some points, because Pete’s going up north during Reading Week (next week) and Danny would have to look after her children, we had just 3 days MAX to shoot this thing and at this rate…..?
A conversation that happened on at least 3 occasions:
“Ah, we need to reshoot this [for some generic reason]”
“We can’t really afford to be fussy”
I know every detail adds up to the final impact but we began to get bogged down in things that wouldn’t matter (a “DANGER! KEEP OUT!” sign being visible). Compromise was a major part of the first day- but I think we found a good balance of compromising on the things we could afford to, and not on the really important things, so that we actually have a film!
One example of the small compromises was the scene in which MR SUTTONS mistakes a que for a group interview for the que for the toilet. We initially had hoped Shelley could play “Clipboard Woman” who lets the que into her room. Unfortunately she was unavailable but we saw a golden opportunity and seized it..
I mentioned before that it was UCAS’ open day and that the uni was filled with interviewees (I know, ironic!) and when we thought we had done all we could do for the day [at around 4pm]. Whilst me and Will were taking some things back to the car, Danny and Pete saw that Alan Meades was actually running a group interview!
When we got back we agreed we would ask and that we would need to be ready to shoot when they came back out- to avoid holding them up. Danny went to see how long they had left of the interview and they were just about to leave! There was a really exciting rush to get all the equipment out and ready to rock with before they got out so they were more likely to say yes- at the risk of being cheesy, I really felt alive in them 30 seconds!
Anyway, Danny asked, they all said yes and we filmed our shots, all in one take. Job done and what’s more it will be more convincing that we are using other actors.
Tomorrow we are taking to the streets, more specifically the Vere Road, Broadstairs to shoot the bike scenes, the pram scenes and other outside shots. We shall also film the establishing shot of the office building (to possibly be used right at the beginning of the final movie) and MR SUTTON leaving the offices. I have been left in charge of making sure the footage shot today is all backed up and that the cameras are fully charged ready for a full day of filming tomorrow. No pressure.