After a year in pre-production (hey we all have jobs too you know! Ha Ha!), the cameras finally started rolling for the first time this past weekend on SUSTAIN, and interestingly, it all started at home. Mine to be exact, as it was turned into the fictional property of the Flank family, made up of Kieran (the stunning Brett Dewsbury), Toby (the equally stunning Joshua Sewell), and Jayne (the also equally stunning Dawn Horne!).
Even though we have been having lots of crew meetings and cast readthroughs over the last few months, this was the first time we had all got together properly, and some faces were new, while others very familiar. Everyone was welcome, and we began at 10am, and filmed our first ever scene featuring Brett (Kieran in bed, some actors have all the luck!), while the crew all huddled around to get the scene in the can so to speak.
As we went through the day, we had to film quite a few different scenes which meant lots of costumes changes and making sure that we kept records of what our lovely cast were wearing so that it would sync up to later scenes of course, or indeed any future pickups. We established the Flank family very well, with a multiude of conflicts being explored first of all, as Kieran is the outcast of the family as far as his mom is concerned, and even though this is part of the first act, it was important to establish this distant mother-son relationship for later in the story.
As the day went on, we finally finished with the first scene of the whole film, which allows us to quickly meet the Flank family who are preparing for a night out at the local pub on New Year’s Eve (new year, new troubles in this case!), these later scenes being filmed in just under 3 weeks time when we move to the Penn Cricket club, which will double for the latter location. The cast were marvellous and we really got some exciting footage, that I cannot wait to start tinkering with alongside Sam, our amazing editor. Josh, who is our DOP, has captured some lovely camera shots, and they compliament each other very well, considering they take place at various parts of the eventual film.
As Sunday arrived, our three principal actors were back at the ‘Flank House’, and we started with a delightful scene featuring the two brothers in the bathroom (which was challenging as it’s quite a small room, poor Karen had to record sound on the bog – the cover was thankfully down though so she was ok…..I think!)
After this, we broke for a quick lunch and then welcomed Laura Evenson to set as Kara Marshdale’s first scene was to be filmed. And while the weather decided not to be too kind, we did get the scene shot and really well outside in the street (I wonder what the neighbours must think at times, I really do!). We had a grim skyline, that was perfect for us – that’s what all our gritty British films have, never any sunshine (and I’m just fine with that!)
We then moved back inside and shot a scene between Kieran and Jayne, which builds on earlier themes we started working on Saturday as mentioned above, and they were both powerful on screen. It was so good, and we were all deathly quiet watching Brett and Dawn deliver a full on argument between one another. You really have to feel for this family, as they have gone through terrible events, and instead of finding one another from it, they instead seem to be moving even further away in their relationship.
Our final scene of the day, was with just Brett, as he returns home after being mugged, and comes to the conclusion, that he may have to take matters into his own hands afterall. Brett was wonderful in this scene and demonstrated a wealth of emotions that demonstrated a fragile and broken down version of Kieran Flank. Just heartbreaking to watch!
And then, that was it. Our first weekend done and dusted, in the blink of an eye it seemed! But having everyone now together, meeting up, filming, and enjoying the overall madness we purposefully encourage on set for lots of laughs, I can say easily that I cannot wait to continue next weekend, and the many more after that as we watch these characters and many more find themselves reeling from situations beyond their control at times.
I love it!