When you’re shooting, the main concern is time. I learnt my lesson first hand on dress rehearsal day. I confirmed upon shooting. Things always take longer than you thought. There’s a malicious resistance of the real: you run the whole process over in your mind, even visualising it: so and so grabs the lamps while so and so moves the camera, etc. But then someone trips over, someone forgets a bottle, a cable makes a knot, and you lose a minute. Multiply by the number of shots, and before you realize, you’re fifteen minutes or half an hour behind schedule.
The first night had been bad for timing. We hadn’t worked out the light before, so we needed to make decisions, and it took time. Well, we had a plan to shoot all of scene 2, 3 and 4. When I saw the schedule, I said ‘it won’t happen’. It was a way to make sure that even if an actor broke a leg or the toilet block exploded, we could make a film. By the end of day one, we had all of the shots for scene 2, one shot of scene 4, and about half of the shots for scene 3. A good third under the plan, but still, all of the film was in the box.
Before the second night of shooting, Nghi looked at all the footage. It was good, overall, but two shots needed re-doing, because a lamp appeared on the frame, in a corner. And one part of the dance sequence was not covered by any shot. More stress.
Luckily for us, our days of shooting corresponded to the end of daylight saving. It meant an earlier nightfall, one more hour. We would start with the end of the dance sequence. But my direction had been clear: Nghi, no matter what, we’re shooting scene 1 – the opening sequence, outside – at 10 o’clock. Unbelievably, we were very early for that. And shooting the outside sequence took us only 45 minutes.
I think I shrieked or jumped or both with joy when that was over; then we set up the lights for our bonus shot of Nick walking away along the beach and doing a nice happy jump. Serge and a friend of his arrived on the set by then, saying hello. I was in the last scene, didn’t have much time to chat, but Nghi and Matthew took care of them, while we finished.
We packed everything – the crew did, I was sitting down, exhausted, next to the cars. Then we returned everything to my place, and a few people had a last drink of campari cocktails. It was over, for that part at least.