Production Diary Day 9
Saturday 16th July 2016
1pm - Tez's flat, Cardiff Bay
After the myriad stresses of last weekend's filming, this shoot was relatively stress-free. Unfortunately, our director Craig was indisposed, so Rhys took over directing duties for the day, supported by Teddy on camera. We also had a new member of crew- Ewan Wilson- who took up boom operating duties for the day. It goes without saying (but I'm going to say it anyway) that all three did absolutely sterling jobs, especially as Rhys wasn't supposed to be there that day and Ewan was thrown right in at the deep end on the madness that is a Whovians shoot.
We were filming the opening and closing scenes of Episode 2, which are all set in Steph's flat, so we were back filming at my flat for the day. Within half an hour of starting setting up, we all realised the only drawback to filming here - that the living room very quickly becomes a furnace when you can't open the windows. This was even before the redhead lights went on! Luckily, none of the scenes were massively long and we have a portable air con unit that was switched on between takes, providing much needed respite.
Our cast for the day were Victoria George-Veale, Craig Harper and Ellen Jane Thomas, returning from last series as Steph's flatmate Olivia. We were absolutely delighted to have Ellen back on set- she has a wonderful chemistry with both Victoria and Craig and is always enthusiastic, passionate and an absolute joy to have round. Like a lot of the cast and crew, Ellen has been playing Pokemon Go and her excitedly running around the flat yelling 'there's a Psyduck nearby!' was one of the highlights of the day.
The opening scene was very simple - just two lines of dialogue- which we managed to get very quickly. The next scene was a little more complicated- starting with a conversation between Craig and Ellen and then a three-way conversation when Victoria came back into the room. Ellen also came out with a lovely little ad-lib to one of her lines which I very much enjoyed.
One of the things I learned from this day's filming is how many different ways you can say the word 'What?' - several of which caused major hilarity amongst the cast and crew. For some reason, this one little word was a bit of a trip hazard. We eventually suggested alternative ways of saying the same thing- 'Really?', 'Why?' etc.- which helped.
With two scenes down, it was time to film the montage scenes that will be intercut with the table preparation scenes we filmed last weekend. As Ellen needed to get a train, we filmed the scene with the three of them in the kitchen having a quick drink before Steph and Jake have to head off to their dinner party. This was achieved in a couple of takes and that was Ellen released for the day and for the series. A massive thank you to her for her energy and commitment.
We then filmed scenes in the hallway, which echoed shots used in last series' Steph-centric episode. First we had Victoria putting jewellery on, then moved to the same shot with Craig putting a tie on and then deciding not to wear it- which included a lovely little moment as he threw the tie off-screen in frustration. With those scenes completed, we moved outside to get a couple of driving shots, affixing our new Go-Pro to the dashboard and getting a few 'Top Gear' shots of Craig and Victoria in the car (Craig driving) as they drove around the block and also getting shots of the car leaving and returning. It was a very nice break to be outside even if only for fifteen minutes.
The last scene of the day is also the last scene of the episode: a quiet scene between Steph and Jake after returning from dinner. We gave Victoria and Craig the choice of either staying in their dinner party outfits or changing into more comfortable clothes; they both felt it was more natural to get changed. The scene acts not only as a debrief of the dinner party but also sets up Steph's storyline for the upcoming Christmas episode. Victoria's and Craig's performances were low-key, authentic and very genuine. It should provide a very lovely ending to the episode.
With all technical crew happy, we called cut on the final scene just after 5pm and wrapped for the day. I'm incredibly grateful to everyone for their hard work. Craig was missed but we've got a superb cast and crew who really did him proud. As writer of the episode. I couldn't have been happier with how the day went.