A journey is like a marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it -Steinbeck, John Ernest
With two days shooting under our belts it was time to prepare for the long haul. Our first big weekend was to be Easter weekend with the idea to shoot three days over the four-day weekend. The first day was to be based out at Kelly Park Film Village and the last two in Devonport.
Of course before we could get to the actual shooting there was a large amount of prep work to finish…
One of the main things to get out of the way over this period was all the contracting. We had cast contracts, crew contracts and location contracts to get finalized. The location contracts were basically very simple release forms as most of the locations were family and friends houses. The crew contracts were a combination of a variety of contracts we had received over the years.
The cast contracts however were very in depth contracts created from a variety of film contracting books and incorporating New Zealand contracting law. Of course being a low budget film we didn’t have the money to get lawyers to draft all of our contracts so I spent a lot of time reading up on the various logistics. We clearly spelt out in the contracts the credits the actors would receive (order, size etc) and the profit participation they would have if the film started making money (the crew also had this in their contacts). We also had a clause about merchandising and the girls involved in the sex scene received nudity riders clearly outlining the amount of nudity required for the film.
It was during this time that we also confirmed Jess our lovely make-up artist, Daniel our technical assistant and Mark who would help out in various capacities and was also a member of the band whose songs are in the opening and closing credits of the film.
We held a number of rehearsals for various parts of the film in sections and put together a schedule for the filming. Of course for a film in which the cast and crew are not being paid a lot of flexibility is required in the schedule:
From Production Report 28th March 2008 :
On Thursday Delaney called to say that it was her mum’s birthday on the Saturday and she really needed to head up north leaving no later then 8pm. We had an estimated wrap that day of 10pm. The other issue was, we did not plan to have Delaney up at the studio again until May when Shu-Wan would be out of the country. I quickly gave Lance a call checking to see if he would be happy shooting some of the scenes on Friday night. He was so I called Delaney and Shu-Wan to see if this would be ok. They were both happy with it, luckily so I drew up a quick call sheet adding in Jewel’s car scenes, hopeful that we would be able to get some of these shot as well.
I also got a call on Friday from Amanda saying that she had her boyfriends birthday on Saturday and needed to be somewhere by 2pm, so I had to rearrange the Saturday schedule yet again. Luckily everyone was happy to come in earlier.
Our schedule changed weekly and we always made sure that the updated version was emailed out to all the actors. We always endeavored to have call sheets for the upcoming weekend out to all those involved by the Wednesday evening so they could ensure availability and any changes were communicated to all as quickly as possible.
Our first day of shooting consisted of Priscilla’s dream sequences and the death scenes. This was great in terms of motivating the cast and getting them excited about starting. It was however difficult for us as we had lost our specialized technical crew and the coordination of the stunts would have benefited from the more well oiled technical unit we became later in the shoot. We had to cut a large number of scenes from the end of the first day for this reason and I had to take over on camera as Lance was trying to do all the technical elements himself (camera, lighting & audio) and this proved to be too draining.
The second day moved along better then the first and the day in Devonport proved to be almost relaxing, being set in our home environment and allowing us the creature comforts of home.
Excerpt from Production Report Day 3 – March 22 (Easter Sunday) 2008
We got up early and started setting up the set. It was meant to be a short day today, with very few scenes and all of them dialogue focused instead of action focused.
We got started about an hour late as per usual. Once we got into things though things went fairly smoothly. With the dialogue scenes we got into a rhythm fairly quickly.
All in all the day went really well and we finished only 45minutes late.
After the first weekend we were on a roll!