This week I took the family to the fair for the first time. It was wonderful to see the bug-eyed sense of wonder displayed from the children. It reminded me of the same wonder I also felt going to the cinema as a young boy to watch ET – The Extra Terrestrial. I’ve had a chest infection for the past month or so, so this was welcome relief if only as I was feeling vaguely more human – even if it was busy, loud, dark, cold and raining.
Which is exactly how I spend the weekend before this whilst directing Spare Change. Ironically, the original date we planned to make this was cancelled because we found out there was going to be a Street fair at the top of the shooting location on those dates. I also got to experienced some more of that sense of wonder watching our team come together and perform against all manner of odds. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy shoot, but it all came together and once more we had a brilliant team!
Why wasn’t it an easy shoot?
Well firstly, it was a night shoot. Yes, I have finally have experienced that dreaded “night-shoot”. I found it generally okay but I could have done without the aforementioned chest-infection which felt about ten-times worse by the end of the shoot. I was on adrenaline during the first night (we finished at 5am – thanks to all who stayed!). By the second night I think many (including myself) were flagging – understandable (we finished about 1am – again thanks to those who stayed!). Thankfully we had planned for this, so the shoot on the second day was much more relaxed.
Obviously one of the big considerations with night-shooting is lighting, so a fair chunk of time was spent setting up this particular aspect.
Next up, we were shooting on location. Location shooting in a popular area is always a bit of a head-screw. But shooting on a busy street is frankly insane. It appears freshers week occurs early this year, so we miscalculated events (especially as we thought a Sunday should be quieter). You can imagine the fun we had wrangling drunken students to keep them out of the shot. We had to constantly adapt and saw all manner of crazy things through-out the evening. At least the ridiculously tall drunken Russian guy provided some entertainment (and even offered his services to keep people back). Taxis were particularly annoying and would just stop in some of the wider shots usually with headlights beaming. Again, when shooting on location it’s always good to allow extra time.
(Photo: The Erratic Photographer)
Sound was an understandable mess with any hope of quiet conditions thrown out the window. A fair bit of work is going to be required to rebuild things from the ground up in this respect.
The icing on the cake was the weather. To be fair, we were predicted heavy rain all night but it didn’t actually start until 1am. When it came there were thankfully some breaks – but it did mean having to keep an extra eye on continuity (in particular costumes) and equipment had to be weather-proofed.
I am beginning to feel slightly better (still have the cough element), but I am already looking back on the experience rather fondly. How on earth did we manage to complete this with all the obstacles thrown in our path! Well, we got there, in no small thanks to the wonderful team involved (who I will showcase in later). What’s more we all had some fun, there were no accidents and nothing got broken or taken and the night without incident free. That in itself is no small wonder.