I think I can describe our ReelMad experience this year in one word, Disaster.
Things started out pretty well. We were prepared with our script, The Root of all Evil, we had story boards, props, costumes, sound gear, lighting, the works really. We lodged our entry at just after 3pm on the Friday after doing some last minute rehearsals then headed back to Cloud Nine Noosa to get started.
Our opening shot was a scene with our heroine walking up to the office past the swimming pool. As soon as we were ready to shoot the pool filled with guests and their kids. Okay, not that big a deal, the sounds of kids yelling “Marco” and “Polo” added a bit of ambiance. We then setup in the office to shoot the intro sequence for Leigh and Laurie. A quick equipment check showed that the microphone battery was flat. No problem as I had grabbed some new ones just in case. On to the shooting and all was going well until Laurie started saying “Bruce” instead of “Brian”. It was getting that bad we were considering changing the character’s name to Bruce but Laurie managed to get it together and we were away again.
A quick check of the shots revealed that the audio was ominously quite. That’s right, after changing the battery in the mic yours truley forgot to turn the mic back on. So start again with the shots, this time with sound. I chose to think of the previous shots as extra rehearsal time.
Eventually we managed to finish the office scenes and moved up to the apartment for the rest of the shooting. We couldn’t shoot the carpark scene because we had lost the light and I didn’t have enough lights with me to illuminate a carpark to make it look like day time. No worries, a quick change to the script and we moved on.
We started to setup the apartment and after I threw down some pain killers (my back had been out for over a week, just what you need when you have to shoot and act in a thriller) we commenced with the shooting. Once again things were going well. The lights were working great and I had even remembered to turn the mic on. I got dressed up as the killer in what turned out to be a quite heavy costume and so we could shoot the “Coming out of the dark” sequence which went well. The next scene required Leigh to fake a trip and fall, except I forgot to tell her it was supposed to be a fake so she did it for real. The out takes show her disappearing from camera view, closely followed by a loud “Ow”. I like an actor that really throws herself into her work.
We then shot the caught sequence, which went well with one of the items on the list, but when I reached down to stop the recording the camera quit on us. No lights, no power, nothing. We couldn’t even get the tape to eject. We tried changing batteries, plugging in the mains power but nothing worked. We had effectively lost 5 hours of shooting in an instant and with no back up camera handy and no way to reshoot the scenes we were stuffed.
Leigh and I just sat down and looked at each other, months of hard work and effort gone in an instant. We were absolutely shattered.
So we packed up our gear and drove home to Nambour, about 30 minutes drive.
The next morning we shot four and a half minutes of footage with a borrowed camera about one mans quest to enter ReelMad and his obviously reluctant partner. It was really little more than an extended music video but we were desperate to enter something. We even put an apology at the end of the credits, it was that bad.
To top off the loss when I tried to turn on our dead camera it fired straight up. I couldn’t trust it however so I took out the tape from Friday Night’s shoot then put the camera away. Maybe it’s time we bought a new one.
Anyway, I took some of the footage and made a sort of trailer for The Root of all Evil. You will find it below. Hopefully we will finish shooting this short movie as it’s a pretty cool story.