End of week one. Day 2, 3, and 4.

Apologies for not blogging, but filming got in way.

Day 2.  We filmed Echo for the installation bit, Ryan dying, and Echo looking up to Hera and singing her song. The main bit of the shoot was the beginning of Sc35 where Echo echoes Narcissus before he comes across the pond. Filming was a bit tougher for me today, as lots of stuff depended on editing to make it work, and I couldn’t imagine it in my head.  Also weather wasn’t very good and this made me less positive.  Actors were extremely good again today, alive and yet controlled and enthusiastic, even though the geography wasn’t always what they expected.  Part of the problems with shooting were to do with sand.  Everytime someone walked on the sand, this would disturb it, so we had to keep a sand free zone.  This was particularly true of the multiple superimpositions of Hannah on the sand dunes – I’ve no idea how this will look. 

Sc 35 was somewhat tricky, with Humphry working out how it was going to be shot (especially for 3 screens).  We had to have a conflab with the continuity team: Coral W, Cirrus and Luke at lunchtime to try and work out what was happening and how it might work (I’m still a bit unclear).

We watched the rushes and this was a great relief as they were extremely good (at least if they were going to be in a single screen film – whether the multiscreen was correct, we’re going to have to hope!)

Wednesday.  Lovely weather, easier location at the pond in Bettws, lovely footage.  The pond really worked.  We managed to shoot quite out of sequence which was a tribute to how well prepared the actors were.  We didn’t have wetsuits for the pond, and Tim and Ben were heroic and went in the pond standing about it the wet for half a day, holding the boat and the mirror.  Again, I was massively impressed with Humphry’s ability, concentration and selflessness in shooting the scene and also in conveying the correct professional tone to the crew.  Ed arrived with ice-creams at about 3.00 and he is the bedrock of the team, without him we’d be nowhere.  Sam and Ben were great with improvising tears, and Giles made an excellent male nymph.

I’m particularly glad I didn’t take any notice of the advice from a few people that the pond scenes wouldn’t match.  The actual location will really contribute magic to the film, and the fact that it is only found towards the end and through a discovery from Narcissus will help the drama.

Thursday, a difficult day again.  Weather moved in, and Humphry had to meet the Screen Academy and didn’t arrive back until about 2.30, delaying lunch and shooting.  We shot without him in the morning, and did pick-ups on the rain and on the writing.  I was very pleased with the camera crew and art direction as we actually survived, and even with my inability to create shots, we managed to shoot usable footage.  Craig let his imagination go and got some really nice close ups of nature in the wet.  We then did the first half of the scene where Zeus seduces the nymphs, using the tree location and the castle location (both Merthyr Mawr).  The castle location was fantastic serendipity, as it has the correct ferns for Zeus and nymph to frolic in.  Brendan and Lynne were excellent fun.  They look great as Zeus and Hera, and they turned in their usual fine performances, a bit camp and could be very funny.  Towards the end of the day we were disturbed by car park noise (a rugby club arriving to train) and this made some difficulties.

As research, I don’t think I have much to say about these days, except that a) locations should always have more possibilities than one can use – then they work.  Seeing Humphry cheat the shots to get interesting backgrounds cohere from wide shot to close up was a bit of a revelation here, and b) preparation before, storyboard, shotlist, etc., are very useful, but the location and actual shooting is very offputting and it is extremely difficult to develop the vision of the film when the reality is so different, c) When shooting multi-screen you have to waste a lot of footage if you’re going to do it properly because whole swathes of the script have to be shot on every take, in order to get the timing right – something I haven’t tended to do, so watch this space in post-production.

OK, going to look at my script and storyboard for next week, and make sure I shoot enough of Hera and Zeus reacting.

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