Shooting has commenced. The director should be shot.

Cormac (Gunner Gossamer), Janet and Alex (Commander) enjoy the rushes of Bill getting whacked in the face for a few takes.

The initial shoot was on December 27. I went in a couple of hours early to check everything was fine and dandy. About the only thing I didn’t check was that the microphone worked properly. Or at all. And since sound is kind of important, I raced down to Dick Smiths to get an external mike which was completely inappropriate for the purpose required. Cormac and Alex took this all in good grace, apart from thinking the odd bad thought about my competency which I ignored. No matter how deserved.

We shot Corm and Alex’s dialogue anyway with the onboard mike which was a good exercise for everyone. Particularly when I cut it together to show the strengths and weaknesses of it all. One lesson: Don’t look at me behind the camera for approval at the end of every take.

We kept two shots for the full version. Even though there is a glaring mistake in one. See if you can see it. Hint: Might be found in conjunction with the Dentrassi.  And yes, there will be a few more Hitchhiker Guide references.

Anyway, I went to TradeMe, and found a shotgun mike being sold by a dude called Paul who has a lot of music and sound gear in his wee warehouse in Upper Hutt.  (Check out seller listings for Ommi. He was a lifesaver, and even knocked a few bucks off because the packaging was a bit damaged. Damn fine man, that).

So the sound went a treat, and we started again at 4pm and finished about 9.30. I am about to start cutting that up from two hours of tape to three minutes of the episode one. Many, many takes were done in three, two and one shot versions. I think I may have been a bit loose on the closeups so we may have to go tighter in other episodes, but we wanted to get the flashing LEDs in that Otto and Albie Moloney Waldmann did. And as they are the high point of our production values, it seemed the best thing to do.

There was a lot of laughing done, admittedly most of it due to the tres  sophisticated witticisms floating around, and not so much due to the highly unsophisticated script. Janet is now our boom operator.

My initial plan was to design a film where the camera and sound could be locked in place to basically make the three of us able to run the whole shoot. But that’s a bit tricky during a three-shot.  Plus, like many of my initial ideas about anything, it was stupid.

In most scenes you will notice looks of intense concentration on the faces during shooting. This is because Corm and Alex copied Marlon Brando’s acting technique, particularly the one of reading the script off camera. Personally my eyesight is so buggered I couldn’t even manage that, so my takes usually varied greatly as I made up stuff. Corm was concerned that I was being too critical of Timaru. I don’t think I was.

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