Production was an interesting experience for me due to the fact that I was in a role I had never been in before. I have edit before, of course, but like most amateur media producers I have played the one-man-band style role of producer-director-editor. Being in charge of post-production I found my role on set to be rather limited. That being said, when I wasn’t assisting with the set, acting as crew, I was watching the other two as they went about their far more hands on roles.
There were two days of shooting and unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I could only come to one. Luckily my post-production role meant that we could simply schedule the more crew heavy work (the lake scene, bedroom scene, etc.) on the first day and the bathroom scene on the second. This was also useful as the twin scenes I was there to oversee, to make sure the footage would be viable for stitching together. My being present in the cramped bathroom space during the second day of shooting likely would have been a hindrance and resulted in diminished productivity. Initially we planned for two full days of shooting that surmounted around 8 hours on the run sheet, however we greatly over-estimated the time necessary. This was a good thing as our actress Veronica turned out to be unavailable for most of the second afternoon. This meant that the majority of the shooting happened on the day that I was present on set, so I still gained a lot from the experience I had.
The most important factor of our production was the shot list, and the majority of our successes and our shortcomings surrounded it. Working with a shot list kept a clear sense of direction for the entirety of the production and saved time in that we were never scrambling for what we should be doing next. It gave us clear goals and, most importantly for me, it acted as a safety net to ensure that all of the footage I would need in the post-production process would be available for me. Apart for some b-roll that was filmed later by Tessa, there was no necessity for a reshoot. This was a great success of the production days as we did not have to go through the stressful process of attempting to schedule more shooting days with Veronica. We actively avoided the ‘fix it in post’ mentality, something which, as the person in charge of post-production, I am unimaginably thankful for.
Watching my team members grow and adapt during the shoot was really great to see. San slowly adapted to more rigidly holding Tessa to the shot list, making sure we had the variety and number of shots we needed, and Tessa found her feet directing someone she had met that day. Looking at the footage now, in the editing suite, I can see how her shots were slightly shaky at the beginning of the shoot, with less breathing room than would be desired… but as the production went on she adapted; lengthening and stabilising the shots. I think returning home to shoot also assisted this as she was playing on her home ground rather that at a location she was not entirely familiar with.
Something we didn’t account for quite enough was these two locations. During the storyboarding process we focused our attention, I think, on post-production (e.g. how we could edit) more than the actual production. This lead to overlooking things like the size of Tessa’s room, and what constraints that would have on the shot types we could achieve. This ended up wasting a good half hour trying to squeeze into the corners of her room so that her 50mm would pick up enough information for the desired shots. Likewise torrential rain prior to shooting meant that the water level of the lake had shifted drastically, which also required creative changes to be made. The shooting day was also a reasonably windy one and so a shot was we intended on ending with (Veronica standing in the water, her reflection moving out of synch to represent her alter-egos presence) was impossible to capture. Tessa and I therefor had to discuss a change in creative vision and instead devised a match cut returning to the bath scene. This solved our problem but it wasn’t something we had accounted for and could have been a far larger issue if circumstances were different.
Something I am quite proud of was how well working with Veronica went. Granted much of this was to do with her attitude and work ethic, but the half an hour long debrief we had with her at the beginning of the shoot helped tremendously in aligning our creative visions. It also assisted in creating a rapport with someone we were all meeting for the first time. The debrief itself was rather formal as San gave an outline of what the project was and what we were trying to achieve, this was really useful in the sense of connecting her with the production. It was after this, in the half an hour car ride to the lake, that conversation shifted to pillow talk of sorts as we all talked about ourselves and our lives. I honestly think this unrelated conversation was just as important to the collaboration as it took us out of the unyielding relationship of strangers and threw us closer to amicable colleagues. This was my first time working with an actress, I had only ever worked with friends, and so I realised that this quick bonding process was really necessary to allow for productive direction. It definitely helped Tessa in instructing Veronica throughout the production, and generally aided in the production force working as a unit rather than seperate individuals.
In all the production days were a success. Whilst there were notable strengths and weaknesses the team worked well to assist one another in the production process and we adapted well during the course of the production to what our shortcomings were, growing and adapting in real time. The two days fo production have resulted in me being delivered a bunch of quality footage that I am looking forward to working into a finished music video.