Wrapped shooting yesterday on my block of episodes of Offspring. Feeling pretty trashed. This is the first day I have had off in weeks, and I must say that time today has seemed to pass very slowly. One of the strange things I have always noticed on set is how time seems to expand and compress in the most surreal way. You can look at your watch and there will be two hours to get a scene shot and I'll think this will be no problem. And then in what seems like five minutes you are rushing to secure and maximise every second of value as you race against the clock to get it done. Hours can literally pass in what feels like seconds.
(above: my final clapper board of the shoot. 354 shots x 2 cameras, thats over 700 set ups. Thats a whole lot of material to wade through in the next 2 weeks of edit... yikes!)
Speaking of which this week I really felt the pressure of the schedule. We are shooting about eight minutes a day of screen time, which is pretty fast. Even with two cameras there is just enough time for basic coverage and a couple of takes on each of those set ups. If you go over the time you are stealing time from your next set-up and the next. But somehow everyone digs in and gets through it.
More than a few times this week I was met with a seemingly impossible task of shooting quite lengthy scenes featuring big emotional and staging beats for the characters with time enough for only two set-ups and only a take or two for each of those set-ups. It was quite frightening to be watching the clock, knowing you are already into overtime and knowing that you are going to have to stop shooting regardless of whether you have everything shot or not.
But I am so freaking blessed to have been working with such an amazing cast and crew that some how they pull it off in those one or two takes. In a pretty physical and emotional fight scene between Sacha Horler and Kat Stewart, I had to say quietly before hand "I'm sorry guys but we only have time to do this once...", Sacha looked at me with a sly smile and replied ever so calmly "Don't worry mate, we'll look after you." And they did. I feel like they totally nailed it. I watched these guys just take a leap of faith and go for it. It re-assured me of what great actors can do, even under extreme time pressure. And it reminded me of the trust and the faith that exists between actors, directors and the crew as a whole. And when all the pieces click together, like it did on more than one occasion throughout the week it can be the most amazing feeling. I get those hot flushes of feeling so lucky to be doing what I'm doing.