Day 1 : After Dark

And then there were three…days of shooting.

Every night before a shooting day feels like Christmas Eve to me, I definitely felt like that on Tuesday after I finished work. I just wanted the day to arrive, and arrive it did. Wellington very kindly switched on a gloriously sunny and clear day for us to get all the equipment up to the clearing we filmed in before sundown.

After some initial teething problems with getting power sorted out, we got rolling and even though we had auditioned, workshopped and rehearsed our two 12 year old lead actors they still managed to completely surprise and delight me. I remember at one point I forgot I was directing and got lost in the performance on a take and found myself tearing up. I think that’s when you know you got your casting right!

As a result, my favourite moment of the night was when my Executive Producer Lance was standing next to me at the monitor and leaned into me after a take. He said, “you found annoyingly good actors!”, and naturally I agree. For two 12 year olds to be up late at night outside in the woods waiting for complex lighting setups and still maintaining happy smiles and just generally being fun to be around I’d happily say they’re the most professional talent I’ve worked with. What was that rule about working with children again?

There’s always something that goes wrong though and although the weather smiled on us when we needed it to, and the wind was nice and low the night’s biggest drama was certainly discovering that our generator cabling wasn’t right for the connection. Thankfully, Glenn in our lighting team had a mate who had the right connectors and totally saved the day! Legend!

Theo from our art department was stationed down the rise with the smoke machine most of the night to woft the smoke our way to create the illusion of fog. However, sometimes a gust of wind sent a breeze our way that caused smoke issues and it went the wrong way or flew up the path right into camera. The phrase “Woft this Way” has grown strangely familiar, I think Aerosmith need to re-record their song and change the lyrics now. “More wofting please!” has also been popular.

It was quite exciting to be in the forest after dark with lights on and smoke machines standing in for fog to create an eerie mist, it all felt rather E.T. although I’m kind of glad the way it looks doesn’t get too close to a mimic of that. I remember standing by the monitor during the wide shots grinning from ear to ear and after the cut saying “That smoke looks so awesome!”. I know what you’re thinking, I’m still a 12 year old inside. That’s kind of mandatory to make a film told from a child’s point of view though!

We have a day to recover from the night shoot and then back into it with day 2 on Friday!

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