I knew from the start today was going to be a tough day. We originally had scheduled 8 pages of script to get through (I think 5 is usually about right), and even though it was all set in one room, it meant a lot of set-ups and a lot of moving about. Also, because of having the weekend off, it kind of felt like starting the shoot again - and the first day of a shoot is always a bit slow as people get up to speed. So we didn't turn over till gone ten (with a call time of eight), so it always felt like we were chasing it a bit. Throw in a tracking shot to set up and shoot, and we ended up by six o'clock having to shoot two more scenes - including loads of fx. So I decided that rather than start a series of complicated set-ups, we would instead switch the schedule round and pull in a scene from tomorrow that we could do in full - a scene post-torture where Mum creepily spoons with Lena on her bed (Dido is hoping to develop a reputation for these kinds of 'specialist' films now - it was all a bit Brokeback Mountain.)
I think it's days like these which make you feel the budget - it's not that we don't have the crew or the equipment or the props or the fx - it's that there is no room in the schedule for going over - no contingency days or places where we can pick up the bits that we might be missing. We just have to keep going - which sometimes means changing the staging of a scene (something I keep doing and which I know is going to fuck me up at some point because I'm going to get rid of something and then forget about it until it becomes absolutely critical for another scene to work...). I'm really trying to make sure that I get everything that's in the script, but sometimes that's more in essence than in precise detail. I'm hoping I"m not losing things - or if I am, that I'm replacing them with something equally effective. This is the hard thing about shooting a feature - especially on this budget - trying to keep everything in. I have to make decisions really quickly - sometimes deciding not to mention when something is slightly off-script just because I want to keep the momentum going. It's like striking a balance between being obsessed with the minutiae of the story and letting it go for the benefit of the larger picture. Kind of like being a pragmatic nerd. Which isn't actually too far from the truth, as it goes.
ALLEY CAT (1984) - First thing's first! This review originally appeared on my Letterboxd, which I recently birthed (after ~14 months of labor). I don't know how often I'll us...
2 weeks ago