Production Diary Saturday June 25th
Series 2 Day 4, Episode 3
Once again, we filmed at my house, doubling again for the happy home of the Harpers. This being our first day filming for Episode 3, we were going to film three scenes. All planned out and plenty of time to complete them.
However, as with any great well-made plan, things can go wrong! Especially the unforeseen!
We had a small crew lined up for the day, but after two unfortunate family emergencies and car problems later, we had myself (Producer/Writer on this episode) and Craig Handley (Director). This is not the most ideal of situations considering, even though it was only three scenes to film and mostly all interior scenes, we had four actors in the morning and three actors in the afternoon to film all within the same scenes.
So where we normally film our episodes with the minimum of a two camera set up (which speeds the process up), we found ourselves filming with one and myself jumping on sound – which I personally have never done before and my arms are still aching today while I write this! Boom Operators, my hat’s off to you all and how much work goes into this important role – also the physical strength it takes over a ten hour shoot!
Once we got going, we filmed our first scene- a short scene on the doorstep between two characters. This was the first scene on this shoot for Ben Wilson (who plays Andrew) and Lisa Grace (who returns as Andrew’s wife, Anna). I would love to say this scene was an easy scene to get through – oh, it was for the actors and ourselves, just get your takes in between traffic on a Saturday morning in Cardiff – the norm! But what wasn't expected was the interest of a certain local.
We very often draw attention to ourselves when we film on the streets of Cardiff. Sometimes we will say what we’re filming or give false information so we don't waste any time. When we have interest, it is always positive and friendly and- to be honest- welcomed. But, there is always the exception to the rule and we met her! I won’t describe them in detail – but they were 'scary' to look at. They inquired to what we were filming, Craig answered and that was that. But then this person asked if any of the characters were to die, then asked if Ben was going to kill Lisa or was it the other way round? This unnerved us a bit and to be honest our patience was drawing to an end, but what happened next I think can never be beaten on one of our shoots (I hope!) The person then asked 'Can I kill you?' pointing at Ben, then following up with what can only be described as the most unnerving thing we have ever heard – 'I’ve always had a fantasy of killing someone! HAHAHA!' Then they walked away!
We brushed it off and joked and finished the scene and locked the front door to continue with our day. After writing this now I realised how worrying a situation that was and I will say this – always shoot things in numbers. Have people to watch over yourselves and your kit. I have not seen this person again and I hope it remains this way. Luckily, on this occasion, we lied about what we were filming so they will not be able to follow up on their experience in meeting us!
We had a cuppa! We welcomed Matthew Fisher on to Whovians. Matthew is playing Rob – Andrew’s brother-in-law. We also welcomed Rachel Dunston back to the fold, playing Anna's (and Rob's) sister Kate.
We moved on to the opening scene from Episode 3. To not give any spoilers away on this scene is hard, because it involves some good humorous moments! But I will say this: we started filming this scene at 11am, we broke for a lunch break (which included myself, quite frankly, spoiling my female cast; the corner shop had no sandwiches to their liking. So what does a good producer do? He whips up a couple of salads!) and completed this scene at just after 4pm!
When I wrote the couple of pages which, to be fair, starts in one room, enters another and ends in the original room but also has four characters walking in and out throughout – well, I thought it would be an interesting way to start the episode, as most of the episode happens at one location. However, I did not think we would take the best part of five hours to film it! So not the best day to be reduced to one camera! But by this time we had laughed ourselves raw and our third member of the crew – Teddy- had arrived to help us finish.
We wrapped Rachel Dunston for series two (a massive thank you to her for coming back) and Lisa wrapped for the day, then Andrew Machin arrived for the now late starting afternoon shoot, a scene involving Liam giving a lecture on Doctor Who! That’s all you’re getting – Spoilers! With the three of us and now three cameras running we got the scene in the can and some amazing performances from all involved.
We wrapped for the day at just after 7pm. It could have easily been a disaster of a day (in many ways!) but what came out of it was some solid work, great acting and amazing patience by the cast involved, fantastic direction by Craig Handley and hopefully some sound that is useable by myself! This was zero budget film-making in a nutshell!
Production Diary Sunday June 26th
Series 2 Day 5
10:30am, GloWorks building, Cardiff Bay
After a mammoth day of filming on Saturday, Sunday’s shoot was much more low-key and is an example of the set-up for a scene taking a lot longer to do than the scene took to shoot! It’s a scene from the end of Episode 3, featuring Matthew Fisher’s character Rob at an interview. The way the scene is shot, you only see Rob – but you do hear the interviewer (a voice cameo by one of the executive producers).
This was also a training day for Matthew Ford, who will be acting as Boom Operator for several shoots during the summer. Luckily it was a small scene but a good way for him to get to grips with the equipment and get some top tips from our experienced sound guy Andy on what to do and what not to do.
With the scene all set up, all we needed was our actor. Matthew arrived at 11.30am and was out of the door again by 11.50am, scene done, audio captured. Sorted.
The day ended with three executive producers having a meeting and thrashing out the storyline for the Christmas episode. It's the end... but the moment has been prepared for...