Halfway through shooting the first three episodes of The Beautiful Lie... Very fast and intense shooting. Reminding myself constantly what are the bare esentials I need to make the scene / sequence / story work. What's the 'essence' of the story and try and harness that. Trying to remain in the moment. Enjoying the ups and the downs. Mostly ups though!
The process diary of film director Glendyn Ivin
Filtering by Category: shooting
Shooting Gallipoli is well and truly under way. Just finished week four (of sixteen-ish). I love the rhythm and the routine of long shoots. Early morning pickups and late nights drop-offs. Long drives to set, listening to music and wondering how all the bits and pieces are going to fit together. Discussing a plan of attack on the way to set and debriefing the days wins and losses on the way home. Collapsing into bed physically and mentally exhausted. Dreaming of the shape it's all taking.
We wrapped shooting Puberty Blues 2 last Wednesday. Spent the last day shooting as a 2nd unit / reduced crew of only about ten or so. It was a perfect way to end a little more relaxed and free than 'main unit'. What we shot wasn't really 2nd unit material, it was actually the last three scenes of the last episode of the series. I woke up the next day with bitter sweet feelings. I love shooting, even when it's stressful and everything seems stacked against you, I can always look around and see where we are and what we attempting to do and I just get really excited by it all! But it definitely felt like it was time to stop though. I've been away from my family and friends in Melbourne for nearly 5 months and I feel like my time in the world needs to come to an end.
That said I felt a saddness for those wonderful characters I may never get to see again. I may never stand in the Vickers lounge room and watch Judy and Martin bicker or witness Vonny and Ferris fuck with each others minds. I may never sit in Sues bedroom and overhear Sue and Debbies most intimate conversations. I may never get to hang with Gary or Cheryl or laugh stupidly with Roger and Pam.
The characters of Puberty Blues feel so alive to me. I cant help but feel that even though we have packed up the props, dressings, cameras and lights that they are still there in those places, their lives continuing on regardless of whether we are there to capture it or not. I miss them all.
I took the first photo below at Matauri Bay nestled just below the northern tip of the North Isalnd of New Zealand in January this year. On a warm summers night I watched a bunch of kids setting off fireworks, having the time of their lives. I sat on the beach with my kids in amazement at how wonderful and free spirited it all was and how in Australia today this would be unheard for kids let alone being able to make it happen in a film.
I've shot quite a few fireworks sequences and trying to get an actor anywhere near a live firework is near impossible. The process ends up being so regulated with safety concerns and restricitoins (all for good reason) and the sequence I believe always ends up feeling a little 'sanitised'. But after alot of planning and tests I was so happy last Friday night that I was able to replicate that image (and a whole lot more!) not only as a photograph but as part of filmed sequence. And I might add in a highly controlled and safe environment. Satisfying!
Matauri Bay, New Zealand, Jan 2013
Kernell Beach, Australia, Aug 2013
I was a 14 years old when I first saw Pink Floyd's Live at Pompei. It blew me away then and it still does now. The clip below has been such a strong influence on me as a filmmaker over the years. I like the pureness of it all. It's more about capturing the energy that is there, rather than trying to fabricate what isn't. It's about tapping into the essence and documenting it in the most unaffected way.
It's funny how random things inform and inspire what we do. It's usually (and hopefully) such a random mix of things that the culmination of them all manifests to become something new and not derivative of the sources.
One week into shooting Puberty Blues 2, I'm drawn back to have another look at Echoes. This clip is like a compass to me. If you want to cut to the chase, jump to 6:30... Magic happens.
Do yourself a favour and watch the whole film here... (Directors Cut!)
Wrapped shooting on my last two episodes of Puberty Blues during the week. I found directing this block (Eps 5 and 6) different to my first (Eps 1 and 3). The first eps were all about finding what the series was. What it looked liked, how it sounded, how the scripts translated, how the drama worked, where the performances should sit and how to work with each actor. It was such an exploratory process yet at the same time we were making the series as we went along. Which I love.
But by the second block a lot of the things I didn't know the first time, which kept my eyes open wide, I now knew. This made it a little less exciting, or because it was more familiar it didn't feel as 'special' maybe and perhaps even trickier than usual to remain aware and in the ever elusive moment. But on the other hand, because we had edited and finished the first two eps, we could refine what was working and push harder on the elements that we wanted to see more of.
In some ways this was a little like my dream model for making a feature film. Where you shoot the film, cut for a period and then go back out and shoot more. The idea being, that the first shooting period is all about finding the film, the second is about refining and adding to what you have already discovered. Building on what the story has become rather than what you thought it might be.
The downside here is that everything that was once exciting, new and fresh, isn't so much the second time round. There is a tendency to become complacent or just used to whats going on around you. I had to remain focused and often remind myself just how beautiful it is what we are doing and within the tight schedules and budget there are wonderful opportunities still there ready and waiting and well worth exploring!
I can't show too much from the shooting of Puberty Blues just yet... but here are some photos taken on set over the past few weeks. They kind of remind me of postcards. I've just finished directing Episodes 1 and 3, I'll edit them for few weeks and then head back out to shoot episodes 5 and 6. The wonderful Emma Freeman is currently out on the front line directing Episodes 2 and 4.
If there was a hand scribbled note on the back of each these 'postcards' it would read...
"I'm having an absolute ball! Wish you were here! x"
Mid way through my first block of Puberty Blues. Long days and nights battling schedules, budget, time, the sun and the surf and the rain. Not that I'm battling against those things, it's just the reality of production. I guess the trick is (and I'm constantly reminding myself this) is to try and remain flexible and work with it and around it as you go. Push as much as you can, but allow yourself to be pulled when you have to. 'Time' even on the most luxurious and well organised of shoots is rarely on your side and I'm reminded each day of the reality 'it's not how good a director you are, it's how good a director you are while under the pump and having to make things work, with very little time'.
Some days I feel like I get it right, others times I spend the drive back home to Newtown from Cronulla wondering how I could have made it work better, more efficiently, given better direction, revealed the drama and/or the onscreen relationships better. Each day on set brings it's own unique set of challenges, you win some and enivitably you lose some. But hopefully it balances out.
Luckily for me I have an incredible cast (and scripts!) I can rely on to make the job a whole lot little easier! I am constantly amazed and full of gratitude when actors bring out their best in pressured situations. It does more than make it easier, it makes it a privilege!
We have had more than a few 'ambitious' shoot days. A mass of extras, large interior and exterior locations, all period dressed and set for 1977. Throw in some horses (girls riding bareback), shooting day for night and night for day, stunts, low loaders, fireworks and all the safety and restrictions that brings, so they are full on days to say the least.
In my limited experience, it seems most TV drama is designed around and works most efficiently when you have one, two, maybe three people talking in a room together. If you have the right script and cast and you are prepared, you can work through those kind of scenes pretty quickly. Making the drama work and make it look good as well. But the moment you involve anything else, it takes more time than you have. And by 'anything' I mean an extra person, an effect, or a stunt. Or the moment you go outside (or underground) or rely on weather or natural light, a fight, surfing(!!!) involve a car, water, freaking horses or anything other than two people in a room talking. It slows down really fast.
Which is why I guess a lot of TV consists of a couple of 'people talking in a room', then it cuts to more people talking in rooms etc. After all it is an almost limitless set up for story and drama.
Regardless, I do love finding myself amongst the organised chaos of shooting. Surrounded by talented artists and technicians, I wouldn't choose to be anywhere else. Stealing shots, racing against the clock and making every second count. In fact somehow using the sense of urgency to create an atmosphere on set that despite all the push and the nessecity to be 'moving on' will feel alive and very much in the moment when on screen.