Sunday 15 August 2010

Morning shoot at the beach

Amidst the making a living, being a mum, and preparing for my big day routine, I had the pleasure of working on another short film not long ago. A break from the daily craze and a most welcome one. I got to act, duh...

Most of the film is set at the beach. I played a woman having a pick-nick with her children and getting a rather nasty surprise. Since it is still winter at this end of the world and Wellington is a coastal city prone to nasty winds and torrential rains, it was always going to be up to pure luck whether we'd be able to shoot at all. The first weekend, the very early morning seemed fine but by about 8 am gale force winds had crept down the coast and made the very pretty Princess Bay seem like hell frozen over. We got one scene shot nonetheless and I commend, but not particularly envy, my fellow actor who spent the better part of an hour half-submerged in the freezing water.

Friday the week after it wasn't much warmer - and when I say 'much warmer' I actually mean 'less bum numbing cold' - when I pulled up to location at 6 am. The faint pink glow on the horizon and a cloudless sky, however, promised a much nicer day. By the time I got out of wardrobe and make-up, the sun had crept a little higher but the beach was still in shadow. I was relaxing on my pick nick blanket, reading book of poetry (German, funnily enough), glancing over to my children now and again and trying to retain some feeling in my toes. Luckily, shot three of the day required some running down the beach and while I kept losing my shoes, causing my feet to get ever colder, the rest of my body did warm up slightly. Even luckier, that when my children arrived at the beach for our shared shots, the sun had risen over the ragged rocks and doused us in brilliant, warm light. I didn't even need my ridiculous, thick, fluffy, life-saving bathrobe in between shots. Ahhh! It almost felt like spring and became a simply gorgeous day. It also proved that beach shoots can be fun even in the dead of Wellington winter!

The whole experience was such a contrast to my last short film. Everyone knew what they were doing, the shooting schedule was mindful of the actors, in particularly because we were not paid, everyone was courteous and professional, and shooting with children was a breeze. It made my job easier and certainly more enjoyable. The beach film was a blast! And while I usually cringe when even thinking about it, this time I actually cannot wait to see the end result.

The previous short was such a stressful disaster that I found it hard to even enjoy the acting bit. It was such a shame. We didn't have a shot list or a shooting schedule - need I say more? I have vowed to myself that even though I am at the very beginning of my acting career never ever to agree to a project again unless I know that there will be a shot list and a shooting schedule, at the very least. Most of the stuff I am doing right now is unpaid and while I am aiming for a change, for now I am okay with that. I want to build a reel. I do deserve the common sense and courtesy however not to be asked to be on set at 9 am and then have to wait until 4 pm for my scenes because the director HAS NO IDEA which scenes he wants to film when!

I know I am talented and hard-working enough to deserve better.

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