Third post in the series on “We’re here for a good time, not a long time”
From Kerry Harrison:
When working outdoors, I love using natural light ,and luckily the weather up in the Lake District was on our side. For the scene on the boat for instance, it was absolutely vital that in rained heavily, and we only had the one hour slot that the boat company allowed us. As we drove down to the lake shore and got on the boat there was no rain to be seen, but then as we set off the clouds gathered and soaked us for the whole hour – perfect! We had heavy fog to deal with and crazy gales (which blew the van door off, but that’s another story!), although the worst weather was clear bright days. I didn’t want any sunshine in the film; I wanted to create a world where it was muted and soft, and any bright sunshine would’ve ruined it. Luckily, the one bright day we had was spent in a valley under the shade of a huge mountain and so we got away with it!
For the interiors I used a mixture of lighting; some daylight balanced Bowens light-banks that look, but don’t act like, Kino’s. We also then borrowed a Kino Diva light and a set of red heads. The therapy scenes were particularly tricky to light as we needed to light for multiple angles including a widemaster shot. Also, we needed a nighttime look and two different daylight looks.
#GoodTimeFilm Writer & Director Interviews: The Lake District
We only used a camera rig on one shot; using a Swedish Chameleon that the Flash Centre kindly lent us. Other than that it was all on a tripod, monopod or handheld. For the handheld stuff we benefitted massively from the canon IS lenses. I used my 100mm IS macro a lot and also we used a lens that I don’t rate for photography, the 24-105 f4. It turned out to be great for our needs. There are many driving sequences in the film, including footage from inside the camper van as it weaves through the valleys and mountain sides of the Lakes. I was concerned that we might not be able to achieve these shots without some expensive equipment, but in the end I used the heaviest tripod I own and then put all of my weight on it and ended up with very smooth footage. Filming the camper from another moving vehicle proved to be a lot trickier! At one point myself, Andy and Alex were in the back of our van, with the two of them holding the back doors open with lighting stands whilst I operated the camera sat in the middle. Probably not what happens in ‘The Fast and The Furious' but it worked for us (just).
For me, the hardest thing was keeping everything going, which included the day to day production with David. Often I’d use the only spare ten minutes in the day to phone ahead to our next locations or to plan around a last minute change (i.e. the pub that had agreed to let us film there went into receivership the day before we were due to film). Due to such changes I would be up after everybody else was asleep adjusting storyboards, or inventing new scenes with David that would manage to achieve the same goal as the original. On top of all of this, I needed to have the head space to make sure that the film was working emotionally, and that we were capturing performances that would really take the audience on a journey.
One aspect of making this film that was possibly unique was continuing to make the film once David’s partner Tracey had died. She really was the only reason the script existed in the first place and ‘We’re here for a good time, not a long time’ was her mantra for life. With David now essentially living the script for real whilst we made the film there really was a feeling from myself and the whole cast and crew that we were doing this for Tracey, it couldn’t be ‘just alright’, we had to go above and beyond to make the film a tribute to her.
In the end I feel really proud of what we did, and ultimately I think the way that we went about it was right for us. We have a finished film, and that’s something we are all proud of. Would I change anything next time around? Well, I guess it depends on the script, but I would certainly add a line producer and try to give ourselves more time at every stage of production. One thing I’m sure of though is that I will be using all of the crew who worked on this film. I like the idea of growing together, and the film making journey being a shared one. Also, we might choose a script that could be shot in summer next time!
#GoodTimeFilm Writer & Director Interviews: Alternative Heroes of the Film
(cover photo credit: snap from the Goodtimefilm)