[Originally published on 7th November 2018]

Wow. Filmmaking is tiring. You forget this, when you don’t do it for years. I mean real filmmaking, which involves putting a full production together, and building a crew up from the ground, because you’re living somewhere where you don’t know anyone in the industry and have to start from scratch. And you are trying to wear so many hats and perform so many different tasks, and all while doing a day job with urgent aggressive deadline requirements. Kudos to anyone who does this and doesn’t whinge about it and takes it on the chin and gets it done!

Anyway, this time since the last update has been fraught. It’s been a real rollercoaster of ups and downs. Where one minute we have ‘this’ and then we lose ‘that’. Where ‘that’ is back again and ‘this’ is now missing. The twists and turns of real life filmmaking are more exhausting than the plots I can contrive. But that is what pre-production is like…. One minute I want to do a feature film already and the next minute I never want to pick up a camera or plan a shoot, or break the bad news to an unsuccessful auditioning actor again….

Here’s a quick summary of what’s gone on:

  • We completed our casting process – seeing a surprising number of dropouts and no-shows, compared to the actresses applying for the same types of shoots in the US and UK. Basically it would seem that Swedish actresses either have more self-doubt or less motivation to actually learn lines and audition, or are really busy working actors because there are less of them per population? I’d hate for either to be the case. But based on the data, there’s no other call to make. However, the outcome is that we now have our lead actress, who will rise from the ending of this current film and lead the next two planned sequels. And we’ve found two more actresses, that were runners up, who we’d really like to also work with. Huge props to Pontus for sorting the best casting venue. That was also a mission for uneducated Stockholmers such as ourselves.
  • We reached out to the Swedish Film Board, to find out about permits and the like and have received zero replies. To be honest, I’m not surprised. There’s a lot of filming going on right now and they must be very busy. I saw two film shoots going on in my neighbourhood alone today.
  • We formed a skeleton crew. And we lost our cinematographer, due to a clash with dates. Then we moved the shoot and gained the cinematographer again and now that we’re a week away from the shoot we unfortunately lose them again. You can’t lose what you never really had right? – but all it means is that the small crew will all wear more hats. it’ll slow us down a bit, but make the logistics easier in some ways, e.g. less vehicles to use to move cast, equipment and crew around when needed. It’s a real shame, but it’s happened on so many films I’ve experienced and to be honest, I knew it would be foolish not to assume that something might go wrong.
  • We put a shoot schedule together and then had to completely move the whole shoot, due to failing to get a minor location one that suddenly became much more significant as the script evolved – and now, when we were just about to move the shoot again, we finally get our location with one week to spare. Cue much frantic scurrying to get everything else in place. But huge very-grateful thanks to Darwin and Terese for calling through a list of 60 locations to get the one we need! – Especially as Darwin is finishing of the post production of DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE.
  • We used the extra time to redo the bad intestines I made, to create some much better ones. We’ve antiqued our Cleaver, which finally arrived. But we’ve still not received our main show piece FX. Although the workshop pics look awesome. The pain I went through just to buy candles I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But still a few props to track down.
  • Trying to write a sequel, in between texts and calls and while builders are jamming crowbars into the wall by your head, or hammering and sawing outside….
  • We have the artwork that we needed for set dressing, and now that we have another location, we suddenly have to create more stuff to dress that location and weave it into our filmic world.
  • Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to create briefs to help form the characters, and communicate the origins of the story and why a character needs red hair and what shade of red hair, and why some are naked and some are not… and all of this gets in the way of the planning and headspace you need to create that filming world in your head all over again. Because you had to put it away when the shoot got pushed back and now you must dust it off again. And the doubts are back… have you planned enough? Do you know what you’re doing?

Apologies for dumping that huge mental list on you. But that really is what it’s like. You create a huge list of tasks, and the team tick them off as they go and then things change and you discover more tasks that need to be completed and so on, and the clock slowly runs out and the shoot date looms….

But we’ll be fine. Things will and can go wrong. But if we can keep our heads and keep our humour, hopefully we’ll remember to enjoy the process and we’ll end up getting all of the shots we need in the can, and be surprised and spoilt for choice for how much material we can choose from in the edit… and not wishing for shots we had to compromise on. And more importantly, raring to go on parts 2 and 3 – which I really need to finish writing, as soon as this one is shot.

A huge thanks to anyone helping us on this crazy journey. I love you all. ❤ 🙂