Series 2: Shoot Day 11 Sunday 30th July, 05:30am Location; Cardiff Docks, Cardiff Bay
05:30am on Saturday 6 th August. The sun’s coming up and there’s an eerie 28 Days Later hush down Cardiff Bay. I’m sat in my car, waiting for cast and crew to show up, when I see two people wander over. The first thing I do is make sure all the doors and windows are locked; could be a bunch of folk staggering back from an all-nighter – can’t be too careful. Seconds later and more arrive; a small army. It dawns on me that these aren’t the dregs of a boozed-up evening, but extras. Lots of extras, all up for getting covered in make-up and giving their best snarling demon impressions.
The grand plan: Filming exterior scenes for episode five, where Jen (Hannah Celyn Griffiths) and Bradley (Rob D. Mealins) fight through a horde of demons. And all of this needs to be wrapped up by 09:30 so our director, Rhys Jones, can get to work. For 05:30 in the morning, all of our extras were wide awake and ready to be scary as hell, many of them Zombies for Hire, regularly taking part in zombie walks, experience days, and playing rotting, flesh-eating corpses in horror films. This (hopefully) explains why our extras were a little too comfortable portraying raging, murdering demons.
Today’s filming saw the return of a valuable piece of kit: The trike. Last year, it was Rhys doing the cycling, but this time round we have a bigger crew to use and abuse/make the most of. Teddy Smith, who has stepped up plenty of times already, did the peddling, going up-and- down Roath Basin (right outside the BBC’s Roath Lock studios) without so much as a grunt or the muttering of a four letter expletive, while our extras gave chase.
Another valuable piece of kit, already worth its weight in gold and we’re only just halfway through shooting: The Go Pro. It’s been dropped into a fish tank, put in all sorts of odd places and angles. This time it’ been mounted on the back of a trike, along with being strapped to the front of Hannah and Rob after being told by Rhys to run as fast as they can whilst looking properly scared. No doubt, the Go Pro will be put in some even stranger places as we film throughout the summer. One thing a director never likes to see in a script are the words, “They fight”. Two words that could take up several minutes of screen time and several hours to prepare, block, then film. Luckily, we had Kevin McCurdy on board, kindly giving up his morning to come up with a realistic, wince inducing fight scene, which Hannah was more than ready for.
Not so much a word of advice, as a health and safety warning: Do not wind up Hannah. Some of her expressions during filming were terrifying. Summoning the spirit of Chuck Norris (if Chuck Norris were dead), that may have only been a foam baseball bat she was swinging around, but Hannah knew full well how to use it.
Special mention has to go to Martin Ford (my brother – family don’t charge for their time!) and David West, who were more than happy to pretend to be smacked around by Hannah. At one point, we thought we had our first serious injury on set when Martin tripped and fell full-pelt, torso-first, into a park bench. Being on sound that day, it sounded great in a concerned for your rib cage kind of way. Plus, knowing Rhys, that’s the take he will end up using.
Filming an exterior shoot with no budget can be a strange thing (we discovered this with episode one: Builders blasting out Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’ from their radio on a Sunday morning). Normally, if a jogger or a dog walker goes past, sees a crowd of people looking like they’re attacking someone, they call the police, or at the very least run away. Stick a film crew there and no one cares, they walk past and hardly blink. In fairness, you would rather that than some random show up, out of their mind on a combination of legal (and possibly illegal) drugs, show up and refuse to leave us alone (this has also happened while we have been filming). By some holy miracle, we managed to wrap up by 09:30, with Rhys making it into work on time, thanks to extras and crew who never flagged, just made doubly sure that we filmed everything we needed.
A massive thank you to all our Supporting Artists for arriving so early, doing take after take after take of running, more running, getting beaten to a pulp and just carrying on. Having seen the footage, you all look brilliantly messed up. Matt
Series 2: Shoot Day 12 Sunday 4th August, 6pm Location; Cardiff City Hall Area
Now after the morning from hell - well being chased by those from hell! To a much smaller affair, also our first (and to be many I'm sure) evening shoot. The shoot - a fake news interview to be used within Episode 4. So with a crew of one - me and an actress, Sarah Rorbach met outside City Hall. We used one of the many impressive buildings in that area as a back drop and I interviewed Sarah, got what we needed in half-an-hour! Not as insane as Demons but enjoyable the same - Sarah was fantastic and job done!