(Actually we are well into week 4 as I send this, as we have been without phone and internet *GASP!* out here in the desert!)
This week we moved from Quorn to Mt Ive Station for the salt lake. I think the crew really enjoyed getting on the road proper and this country is some of the most spectacular I've seen. Lake Gardiner is a huge salt lake about 3 hours of dirt road north - west of Port Augusta. It's one of the few salt lakes in the world that you can drive on, and as the script has a sequence that takes place on a salt lake, we were always going to end up here at some point.
I first recce'd the lake in February and fell in love with not only the lake itself, but with the rolling treeless hills that surrounded it. On this first trip, the lake was what you would expect a salt lake to be, brilliant white salt and deep blue sky. Very cool. But when I returned for my 2nd recce a couple of months ago, there was an inch of water from recent rain on the surface which effectively turned the lake into a giant mirror! It made this great location into unbelievably awesome location. The only trick, was that the water layer could never be guaranteed, as it is totally reliant on nature.
When we arrive I went out to inspect the lake, and luckily enough it was perfect. Just the right amount of water to make the whole lake into one of the most surreal places you could ever see. Driving on it felt like a cross between sailing on a water and flying through clouds. When we first stopped at our first location on the lake, I turned around and saw every crew member with a camera taking happy snaps like a bunch of Japanese tourists!
I came away from the two days shooting on the lake, feeling like we had created a sequence thats not only visually stunning, but emotionally engaging, with intense performances from Hugo and Tom. Some pretty full on stuff happens in the scenes and quite a few of the crew told me later that they cried through the takes. I hope it's a good sign, if we can get people to feel moved while on set with all the distractions of people and equipment, I know that once on screen it will be even more powerful.
The Salt Lake was freezing cold and very windy, and we battled through quite a few rain storms that passed over, at one point I really thought it was going to go all La Mancha on our asses. Onscreen I think the salt lake will look more like an ice lake, and I was very proud of little Tom who had to spend alot of his time bracing against the cold in his thinly layered wardrobe, while us crew were rugged up with ever piece of warm clothing we could pile on! I'll say it again, Tom is a Star!
On the flip side continuing with our luck with animals (if you remember we lost 5 of our 6 rabbits on day one) we attempted to shoot a sequence with a family of goats yesterday, we had five to start with, one was big daddy goat who wouldn't stop rooting one of the other goats... then we stupidly lost three as they escaped into the hills before we could even roll camera... then the horny rooting goat must have pulled a muscle or something because he started limping. So we had one goat left, who after one very average first take also ran off into the hills, by this point we had lost most of the crew, who were off trying to catch them all! Needless to say we abandoned the scene, which would normally have been a nightmare, but I think everyone could see how funny it was from the beginning. In the end the ridiculousness of it all probably helped, as I was able to quickly combine what we wanted story wise from the goat scene into another scene and I feel that sequence worked better because of it. I hope the behind the scenes captured some of it, as we will never talk of 'the goat scene' again.
We all pack up and move to Leigh Creek today (8 hours north of Adelaide). There is a special feeling here at Mt Ive. We have been staying in shearing sheds and the frosty nights have been spent around the camp fire. It's basic on all levels but we have more than everything we need. Joy and Len who manage the station here are some of the most hospitable I've met. It will be sad to leave.
This weeks snaps by our very special guest photographer Rhys Graham who joined us for a 4 days, it was so good to see him and apart from a whole bunch of BTS photos, he also took the images which will probably make up our main poster image as well.