It makes me laugh how so much stuff can fit into such a small two seater – my car. I’ve done it every time with every production. I packed the camera equipment, props, set accessories, breakfast and costumes into the car and set off for Muswell Hill at 5.45am to be there for 7am.
I was early but pleased to see Andoni and Alsiter (playing Player #1) a couple of minutes after my arrival. Then everyone started arriving. Matthew (the clapper) gave me a fright because he hadn’t turned up for 45 minutes, but did eventually and I knew he wouldn’t let me down. One extra was a no show, but she was easily replaced by Sylvia who worked for the tennis club and took the time out of her day to supervise the place while we were filming, I was grateful for that.
We had breakfast. Then Valerio and Marcello set up the camera, Ashley and Vani got to work on the cast and extras and I planned the day. Soon enough Valerio, Marcello and I went to the tennis courts and planned the shots. Then the cast joined us and had a few practice games of tennis. We got the shots of them playing. It was stop and start with this scene because there are a lot of cuts. The trickiest part was filming a ball floating in the air and also Amy hitting a ball into Thierry’s face, but we got them the best we could, time will tell in post production. We got a really cool shot of Amy when she serves into Thierry’s face, a crash focus. It looks awesome.
After the tennis matches it was the dialogue exchange between Thierry and Amy where Thierry asks Amy out. We got these shots in quick succession, thanked by the cast because they were so good, the takes just seemed to roll and roll. The shots looked sharp and the players looked like convincing tennis players. They are also striking actors so this really bounced off the screen and the tennis court backdrops.
We cleared out of the tennis location an hour off schedule but that was fine and it is to be expected on a shoot. I was the only driver on this film so I packed the gear into my car and headed to Beckenham, Kent for location 2, where the cast and crew took the trains. I unloaded the everything into the flat, then went to get the lunch in Beckenham and the lights from my house five minutes away. I was surprised to notice still no-one had arrived, I initially thought they would beat me to the location, but I was set up lunch, then they arrived about fifteen minutes later. We ate, it was a nice fresh selection which I was happy about, no junk food like Domino’s Pizza on Hurdles. After that, we set up the three big lights I rented. Other members of crew blacked out the windows with black bags I bought to give the impression it being night time. Ashley took care of the actors once again and then an hour later we were shooting.
Thierry’s morning scene in the kitchen was first, as it was still daylight outside so we started there. Not too much trouble with this scene, no dialogue really just actions. We had to dress the kitchen, and got the shots of the information on the laptop. I had designed a bank statement on the laptop we used for the film and it came out well, thanks to the light in the kitchen. Then we moved to the evening scene in the living room between Amy and Thierry where they have a drink and their relationship meets it’s first heighten. Because we had good lights for this film, it really came across on the screen. The scene looked really cinematic and stylish, which is a theme this film is supposed to be. The props were of good use to go with the action and the performances from Lucy and Alexander were superb. We didn’t need to shoot too many takes in this scene, the whole film for that matter because the actors were that good they got the takes almost spot on every time. Their performances were relaxed and that allowed the crew to work relaxed.
We finished a couple hours over schedule. We were meant to finish at 6pm, but because of the transport from location 1 to 2 we finished at 8pm. It wasn’t so bad as the team were co-operative and were happy to stay on until we got everything we needed. We had one last dramatic tension scene in the kitchen with Thierry before we wrapped up the day. The scene was quick and easy, although we had to black out that kitchen window with black bags which didn’t take too long. After that everybody left and I stayed to pack away the last bits of equipment and tidy my friend’s flat for when he and his girlfriend arrived home. My friend was excellent for letting us shoot while he was at work and I bought him a nice bottle of red wine as a thank you.
Up early the next day and got all the equipment and things packed in the car. I had to iron and sort out the days costumes too. Then I set off for Richmond for a 10am call. I made it on time and had to find a suitable parking space on Richmond Green, which I found but it was £6 for three hours, so I was happy I was the only one driving after all. Everybody was pretty much there including my 1st AD Aine who was already setting up the area along with my runner Andoni. Aine could only work for two days so it was great to see her and have her on set. Ashley was setting up her make up area ready to work on the cast whom was Lucy, Helen and Alexander. Breakfast was served and everyone got settled. We had a small problem from the first day and that was a screw to connect a piece of equipment to the camera. It wasn’t supplied by the rental company, so I sent Andoni to get one from the local hardware shop but he instead went all the way to Soho to the rental company, bless him. So that put us behind schedule. Eventually Valerio, Marcello, Aine and I went to get the establishing shots of Richmond for the film. It took about forty minutes, then when we arrived back Andoni was there. Marcello and I went to the local hardware shop, but it turned out no screws fit the equipment, so we had to use what we used on the first day and that was gaffer tape, which once again turned out to be one of the handiest tools on set.
When Lucy and Helen were ready from wardrobe and make up, we set out to shoot their first scene together. We started at the bank on Richmond square. I went inside the bank to reconfirm the filming and the person I spoke with said it was all good. However another manager I didn’t speak with previously was trying to buckle the agreement, but I persisted them into allowing us and we got the permission. A maximum of five takes was all we needed for this short sequence and then we moved to the second location to shoot Lucy and Helen. It was a quiet road in the town centre and again only a few takes was needed because it was a short scene. It was fun to see the locals all gathering around the crew interested in what we ere up too whilst filming.
Helen was wrapped for the day, then we went to the coffee shop on Richmond Green to commence the scene between Amy and Thierry. The lady from the coffee shop was good as gold for keeping her word and keeping the outside section closed to the public for our filming. We shot the first scene. It wasn’t straight forward because cars kept passing, so that was a hazard for sound issues and Kostas, but we did the best we could and it didn’t turn out so bad. However the schedule got challenging because it started raining and that put a halt to everything because we were shooting outside. This was the point as the director to hold it together or flip out. I managed to hold it together, and ten minutes later it stopped raining and the sun came out a bit. It was to everyone’s relief, then we continued shooting.
There was a quick break for the cast to change and make up before we shot the last scene of the day back at the coffee shop. Luckily the rain stayed away and we managed to shoot this scene relatively quickly. And the light stayed with us so that worked for us. It was getting a bit colder so Lucy and Alexander were feeling that in between takes. Plus we had to be careful with how we shot because of continuity reasons; we couldn’t show rain in one shot and no rain in another, so we had to take multiple takes on some occasions which took time, but it wasn’t that bad. An extra to play the coffee shop waiter didn’t turn up, so I utilized my crew being Matthew and he pulled off his acting skills convincingly! He did a good job, a funny cameo.
We went back to the pub which was our base for the day to clear down, get packed and have dinner/late lunch. The pub were awesome for their co-operation throughout the entire day. They let us in early at 10am and sectioned off a section especially for us and let us stay all the way to 7pm. Lunch was a treat, a load of pub grub assortments. We didn’t get through it all, so I was able to save some for the following day.
Today we were shooting the bar scene in Beckenham. Call was for 10am. Every bit of equipment was needed for this day so it took me two trips in my car to bring everything. People filtered in by the ten minutes, but by 11.00am everyone was there. A lot of extras let me down which was to be expected, but the people who did turn up were golden; Rob, Sammy, Daniel and Morgane. We had our breakfast, then Vaelrio and Marcello started to set up the lights whilst Andoni and a few others cleared the set. Once the set was ready we were able to shoot the first part of the bar scene. It wasn’t straight forward though, setting up the scene took time as well as the hair and make up. The whole cast was here this day and were all going to look their most fabulous best, so that process wasn’t going to be quick. We were two hours behind when we started to shoot, but finally we were off.
Lucy was at her excellent best adopting Amy as was Alexander playing Thierry. Alexander is such a good actor, he surprises you with every take and that is what a good actor does. Joanna was marvelous playing the smaller role of Kristina, but effective and she was just sharp, every take was on point. When it was Helen’s turn to play Marie, it was like the role couldn’t have been anymore suited for her. It was a funny performance and added to the comedy factor to this film like a gem. However this day was by far the most challenging for me throughout the entire shoot because of time. We were really against the clock because the owner of the bar told us we had to be finished by 5pm and we hadn’t started shooting until 1-2pm. I was panicking big time because I really felt we needed a miracle to get all we needed, it really didn’t seem possible at one stage because we had so much more to shoot. But once again I had to hold it together and I don’t know where from but the miracle was answered and before I knew it the shots kept flowing and flowing. Then I realized we were onto the next scene and it seemed we were going to get it all, which we did in the end.
We got extra shots of the extras as well as shots of Kristina at her work station. Extra shots of Lucy followed and then we wrapped the film with a scene of Lucy in the female toilets and then finally voice over work between Amy and Marie. After that we wrapped. All on time for 5.30pm which I pursued the manger of the bar to comply with. Once again I didn’t know how we did it because hours before it seemed impossible, but there is always a way if you work through things and that is what we did to a successful end result. We had lunch catered for by the same place on day one and we all chilled. Alexander, Helen, Rob, Matthew, Kostas and I had drinks in the near by O’Neill’s bar afterwards as the rest of the cast and crew had to make their way home. I dropped all the stuff and equipment home before I joined the gang for drinks and it was nice to socialize and talk about stuff before we said goodbye from the shoot. But we will certainly all see each other hopefully for the warp drinks and screening when the film is complete.