After months of scripting and storyboarding and organising actors and locations and getting continuingly shot down, Monday 11th of November saw our first day of principal photography. I was over the Moon to finally get behind the camera and to get the chance to shoot what Jannath and I had brewing in our minds but thanks to my determination in getting things on the road, we got there.
I spoke to my actors over Facebook and arranged a date and a time period for shooting that would suit their schedules before talking to The Red Lion Theatre’s Chairman in regards to the same matter. It was far more sensible that I set a date my actors were happy with rather than organising with the establishment and dragging them along. As the date grew closer and closer I was preparing more and more for the shoot by learning the script for myself as a director and finalising the shot list for the scene.
Thanks to the Media department at school we were able to book out valuable pieces of equipment that really helped the production process. I had two tripods in my own possession however, these would only serve purpose for the two cameras that I had and yet, I still needed something to hold up my lighting equipment. The department were helpful enough to let us borrow two tripods, sound recording equipment that you can read about here and a dolly and track. School also helped me significantly by letting me have a projector over night to create the cinematic effect. The pressure was on since this was an expensive piece of equipment that was cost me and Jannath considerably if it got damaged. With all this equipment I was taking to the shoot I didn’t think twice about preparing a checklist to improve my organisation and to make sure I had everything I needed. You can see this list below and the “BEFORE” column concerns what I brought to the shoot in my car whilst the “AFTER” is in regards to what I took home with me. This proved as a great tool to help me organise everything.
The location was as perfect for our production as I remembered upon visiting it. The classic red seats, the lighting, the size of the room, were all what I had envisioned for the scene. I was more than happy to work here and after greeting Shirley, the Chairwoman, inside I couldn’t have prepared for the shoot any quicker. From my car, Jannath and I unloaded our equipment and although we couldn’t use the light-box (seen in the top right of the image below) I confidently compromised in carefully setting up the projector with my DVD-playing-laptop in the ledge next to it (hidden by the curtain). Despite this set-back, it turned out fine and perhaps more effective in that it was lower to our actors which made a more dramatic effect. We set up the dolly and track, attached the lights to tripods and arranged popcorn as the actors came in right on time. While we were preparing our “set”, the actors went away to rehearse theirs lines as I instructed and were happy to do so. It was at this point when I knew we had something promising in that their line delivery which I overheard was great and far better than what I had expected.
Filming itself went great. Jannath controlled the lights by adjusting their intensity from low to high creating the film projector that would have been in the cinema. I focused on the actors, the camerawork, directing the production and managing the team’s time so we could collect enough footage and complete the scene.