Enter the Winding City

Enter the Winding City

I am exhausted. Absolutely drained of energy from today. It was our third shoot for The Winding City, and we went full throttle today.


My exhaustion began last night when I decided to transfer a rough cut to my laptop so that we could confer over previously shot footage. Before today we had over 25GB of filmed digital footage that I transferred to my iMac – which then needed to be transferred to Margie’s iPod to allow me to put it on my new macbook. Why? Because the only connector to my camera that I have is a firewire – which the new macbooks don’t support.

So this ended up taking the good part of two hours to organise.

Then Nick P didn’t come home last night – which, in my state of nervousness, made me have anxiety dreams about whether he was going to be on set at 8am when I needed him to be there. (Which he was, and I have never been so thankful to see Nick as I was then…)

The first half of our day ended up being a technical struggle. This has always been an ambitious project, and today was the first big visual effects day. We had a massive green screen set up in Nick C. and Nasia’s dining room, we had a number of digital effects to set up markers and plates for – including setting up Adam’s face so that we can digitally remove it in post…


Adam is marked out for Digital Effects

Adam is marked out for Digital Effects



With all the stumbling around, setting up the new monitor and getting everything ready, we were nearly an hour behind schedule by the time the extras showed up at midday for their scenes.

At this point I was stressing again that we wouldn’t get all the shots we wanted – an ambitious 14 minutes of footage including some complex visual effect scenes. One of the biggest hiccups we ran into was shooting in the hallway. We needed to give the impression of an endless hall, despite having only about 8-9 metres of hallway to use, and only one wall. Setting up the shots and getting them right was a long and arduous task.

I have to take this opportunity to thank the cast and crew for their patience during these scenes. After the crew had set up and organised the lighting for the green screen sequences, we broke for lunch. I was nervous about everyone’s happiness – wanting to be sure that the extras, cast and crew were feeling positive and ready to go again after lunch. Kerina did a great job of giving me a pep talk about how “we’re all passionate about films and acting” which helped me chill out a bit.

Extras and Cast waiting for the next scene

Extras and Cast waiting for the next scene



Then we had to shoot the green screen sequences – which, thankfully, Elliot and Nick P totally owned and was done in short order – which, in turn, got us back on schedule!

We finally got to the scenes with the extras – which were brilliant. When Margie, Nick P and I watched the footage at home, it came across not only as great – but inspired me with a great fix for some scene flow issues I had been worried about. I have to also give props to Gemma, who provides a solid gold B-movie scream when a monster attacks her.

After the crowd shots, we got back into the comedic scenes – which made a nice change from the emotionally tense scenes we shot in the morning between Nick P and Elliot (which, I should mention had one scene so successfully charged with tension, we had to cut and reshoot when Kerina nearly fell out of her chair with excitement watching it on the monitor! Fortunately, Nick P. and Elliot were so well into the headspace and emotional tension they managed to deliver an even MORE intense scene in the next take.)

Once again, we really got to see how well this cast works together as a team. I find a lot of the ensemble scenes pop with humour and vitality – with some great moments from Kerina, Bernice and Rowan. Margie, Nick and I were all laughing out loud watching our comic scenes. I realise now that I should have got more shots of people running around, but it isn’t vital. Maybe we can reshoot some sequences for the DVD. 🙂 Extended edition…

Following the comedy, we had another tense sequence where Bram (Nick P.) faces off with the big bad of the first series. This includes a particularly passionate kiss with his best friend, Tama. This was the scene that needed to firstly be believeable – which much of the tense footage we shot prior successfully laid the foundation for. It also needed to be a pretty darned awesome kiss as it was the payoff for all of Tama’s moping for three episodes.

Nick P. learns his lines for his next scene

Nick P. learns his lines for his next scene



Well, considering that we had two very normal straight guys playing the characters, they delivered a very impressive scene that I feel succeeds in selling the viewer on the stakes held in this scene. And oddly, every woman in the house seemed remarkably flustered and pleased about the shot. Who’d have thunk.

Time was beginning to run out on the schedule, and we still had three scenes to shoot. We went back to another comedic denouement scene for the Faceless monster sequence – which again ran very well. Then it was two scenes that set the foundation for our big confrontation.

Kerina and Adam chilling out

Nick P, Elliot, Adam and the crew had been working hard for over 10 hours by this point. We stuck to our guns and managed to get the last of the scenes shot just in time. Whereas the last two shoots finished two hours early or so, we cut it right to the wire today.

But after watching the dailies, I have to say it was worth it. I love what the cast and crew have managed to do. In just three days we have shot over three hours of footage – and easily 60-70% of the full four part series. That is a truly impressive achievement in and of itself from an amateur production such as ours with many of our crew having had limited experience.


It simply is that passion and commitment to the project that has kept us going up to this point. I am so grateful to have people working on this show who really do believe in it. Who believe in putting their all in and are ready to dive in and pump out a fantastic show. Naturally, if we had money to pay the cast and crew – I would have scheduled much less gruelling shoots – but with the limit we have on time and the lack of money, it is better to churn through the script and get it all shot.

I’ll be putting together some exclusive behind the scenes footage to display on here later this week… just as a teaser to the calibre of the cast and crew along with some hints as to the show itself.


Jenni says hi!

Jenni says hi!



I truly believe that the finished product is going to be something that all the people who worked on it can genuinely be proud of…

Now, I think it is time for me to go to sleep.