This past weekend, production on SUSTAIN resumed as we all descended on the next major location, The Penn Cricket Club in Wolverhampton, which would double for our local Pub in the film.
Again, an early start was upon us, and after piling up the cars with equipment and persons, we arrived just before 10am, with everyone getting use to the location, and immediately getting ready to set up, ready to start filming by 11am. It was the first time Jay Podmore had met everyone else on the cast too, and so myself and Kaushy took the opportunity to get him and our McKenzie lads into some photos to develop as posters at a later date! Their chemistry was immediately apparent too, and they got really stuck intot he characters. I’m so glad we have those three guys! They’re perfect baddies!
The location on Saturday had a major part to play in the film, as the scenes were all from the opening pages of the script, which are set on New Year’s Eve, as people are celebrating. But before all that, we needed to film the first crucial and very violent scene involving Toby Flank (Joshua Sewell), against Kevin McKenzie (Rich Buck), Roy McKenzie (Matthew Kisnson) and Chad Canton (Jay Podmore). All of these guys were just amazing, and the scenes we got on film are especially chilling as they torment the young Toby and toy with him on a brutal psyhcological scale, that not only foreshadows even more disturbing events later in the script, but demonstrates the innocence of Toby, while highlighting just how evil the three guys are. This of course sets the tone for the remainder of the film, and I cannot wait to see how the scene comes out in the edit. Of course, also appearing in the scene is the fantastic Ernest Vernon, as Carl the landlord (who we met in one of our first minisode trailers last year), and he is just marvellous and it is always a pleasure to have him in a film, and seeing him work!
We also had great fun working with the stunts, which were performed under the watchful eye of Matt, who is also our stunt co-ordinator, and again, they all really gave it 110%, with people bouncing off walls (with protective padding of course!), and really giving the scene some dramatic and effective action beats!
While this initial scene overran by 80 minutes (whoops), we broke for lunch and then immediately began getting ready to film the NYE party scene, but in reverse order, concentrating on the McKenzies’ arrival at the bar, while the party is in full swing. At this point the location was full of extras, and as the director, I was just so thankful for all their efforts here, makignthe place look busy, while LJ, our wonderful production designer had done the place up all festive! Again, myself and DOP Joshua Baggott went through the shot list beforehand and planned how we were going to approach this.
Unfortunately, the delay from the first scene now had a knock on effect, and the scene between the two brothers Toby and Kieran (Brett Dewsbury), has had to be pushed to another future day, as we had to finish off the NYE celebrations and get the dialogue between all the friends inside around the table, drinking. But, I’m glad this happened, because I really wouldn’t want to have rushed the aforementioned scene, because it is a very important moment, that presents an emotional moment in the brothers’ relationship and I want to spend quite a bit of time on it to make it is as great as it can be.
We wrapped up on time, and got people home safely. And then Sunday arrived, and we were treated to a misty morning, which was perfect for us, as we were now focusing on a later scene in the script, a downhearted and grim one, that this weather accompanied in tone and style very well. As this scene played on (and we had a few bloopers along the way too!), we get to reveal a bit more insight into some of our supporting characters including Kara Marshdale (the stunning Laura Evenson), and her previous relationship to the McKenzie brothers (it’s not a nice one, I can assure you!), as well as highlighting conflict between Kieran (you’re still being brill Brett!) and DI Bridge (played by the wonderful Greg Yates). The scene played so very well and I was delighted by the three actors’ performances. All very real.
We then moved onto another later scene between Kieran and his best friend Grant (Tom Loone), and again, the acting between the pair was top notch. It was a pleasure to direct them both, and the scene is bittersweet in tone too, which I really wanted to capture between these two people who have known each other for many years. That was what I really wanted to explore again with SUSTAIN, the ripple effect, that a crime, or any horrific event not only has emotional consequences for the main characters, but even those around them, who they bounce off for support. This is a very important theme for me to eplore within the film (even for our bad guys!), and I hope this scene and many more will show this.
Our final shoot meant we had to relocate to the Fixxon Nightclub in Wolverhampton City Centre itself, for a scene with Kieran at his lowest, and drinking hard. We had extras again, and the shot list was in place, and despite being schedled to finish for 10pm, we were done by 9.15pm. It is amazing what camera angles can acheive, and I’m continually amazed by filmmaking, and all the magic it holds in its grasp, as we made a small number of extras into a crowded nightclub. This scene continues into next weekend’s shoot and I really cant wait to see how they merge.
After dropping everyone home, I was knackered, but received one more surprise from Sam our editor, who had quickly cut some of the nightclub footage together and it looked fantastic and with a temp club score on, worked better than I could ever imagined! What a wonderful way to cap off a fantastic weekend!
I love working with my ever expanding SUSTAIN family!