Ready for Round Two.

I was trying to come up with a pithy little title for this blog, ‘Back in the Saddle’, ‘The Return of The Fitzroy’ (or ‘Revenge’ if you’re more Sith than Jedi), ‘Picking up The Fitzroy’, etc. But I decided to go with a fighting reference, some how it feels more fitting.

Making this film is a constant battle, it is a blow for blow, bare knuckle dust up between our will and the film! Okay maybe I’m taking this fighting metaphor too far but we are having to wrestle this film in to existence.

David Gant and Ken Collard showing the fighting spirit

David Gant and Ken Collard showing the fighting spirit

Tomorrow morning we commence shooting the pickups for The Fitzroy. Having run over schedule in the initial section of photography we now have to finish shooting the rest of the scenes.

There are many reasons why we didn’t achieve our first section of filming – most of which I covered in this blog. Having to pick up days has thrown up a couple of major problems.

Firstly and always the biggest problem is money! We are trying to make The Fitzroy on a very tight budget, especially for a period sci-fi film. This means we have had to raise additional finance. Then there is the issue of ‘getting the team back together’, which has been a logistical nightmare to say the least.

The good news is we have managed both.

There has been one major benefit of having this break in the shooting, we’ve been able to take stock and put together a rough cut of what we have captured so far. This has allowed us to make sure the story is working and know exactly what we need to shoot for the pick-ups.

So tomorrow we jump back into the ring with The Fitzroy – we’ll be punching harder and smarter, and if the film fights back we’ll be ready for some more ducking and diving.

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Cerith Flinn aka Bernard (hopefully) ready for round 2

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The morning after the 2½ weeks before.

It’s two days after the initial shoot for The Fitzroy and I’ve still not recovered. My head is awash with costumes, submarines, lenses, problems, guns, solutions, squeezing into small spaces, smelling of diesel, no sleep, wonderful people and chickens!

The shoot has flown by in a blur and now I’m back home it all feels like it was just a dream.

I line up the next shot with Cerith Jones (aka Bernard)

I line up the next shot with Cerith Jones (aka Bernard)

It was such a fun shoot but ultimately, very challenging for me… and still will be. Because the truth is we overran our schedule and will have to pick up at least a few days on both the submarine and studio.

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Final make-up checks before a take.

Why did we overrun?

Two reasons: firstly, our schedule was too tight and secondly, working in such a confined space proved much more difficult than we ever expected… never shoot on a submarine! On the flip side though, the footage and performances we have captured are stupendous.

This conflict between shooting great stuff and running out of time caused me untold internal conflict (and I’m sure occasionally external). Ciro Candia (the Director of Photography) and I had created an exhaustive shot list prior to filming but it became clear very quickly that we had to throw that out the window.

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Checking out a take – hopefully of something funny!

Ciro Candia lining up a shot in the studio

Ciro Candia lining up a shot in the studio

Scenes that were listed with extensive coverage became ‘one shot scenes’, close up’s became a ‘two shot’ and tracking shots became handheld. Now this all sounds very negative but (hopefully) we didn’t simplify anything to the extent that it has become detrimental to the film. In fact it’s probably the opposite. I can think of at least a couple of places where the simpler option has improved a scene. It certainly pushed me to make some braver decisions.

But it did mean I had to think on the fly a lot more than I would have liked, which I’m sure caused the cast and crew a few problems. But they coped admirably and if it did cause issues, they didn’t mention them to me. I really couldn’t have asked for a more hardworking and friendly cast ‘n crew.

So what’s next?

Well we have to go back and pick up the pushed scenes and shots. So it’s not over yet – not by a long way. Before we do that we are going to do a rough cut of the film and see where we’re at.

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The cast and crew of The Fitzroy

The cast and crew of The Fitzroy

* Photos by the wonderful Angus Young