Last month came and went like a rampaging Razorback. At the centre of this tempest and following on from my last post, we filmed a test shoot for my film.
My VFX Supervisor Cenay Oekman suggested that we create a more exciting trailer by featuring the alien from my movie, this will probably help considerably when we make a push for private investors and as part of the crowd funding campaign.
It also allows the visual effects team to start working on the alien appendage. Post-Production takes a while, so it’s just as well we made a start now. You can read up about the visual effects progress so far in this post.
Even though I’ve named this a ‘test shoot,’ it was actually a shoot in its own right and literally on a zero budget. With my background as Producer, I called in favours from industry professionals and friends, igniting in them the collective spirit so that we could capture the essence of what you’ll see in the film once production is finished. I also liaised with Creative Access, an alumni I’m part of to advertise and secure crew which worked a treat.
I devised a two-day shoot including a night shoot, both of course including key VFX dark horror moments, the ‘money-shots,’ in the film’s case.
Preparation was rigorous and I had to be creative. I called upon a few artists that I know, Iris Musel, who’s also my Projectionist Consultant and Sculptor/Photographer Ilya Falchevsky who can just about make anything and literally turn scrap to gold.
Together they created the set and we worked on lighting plans with our DOP Mael Santiago and Jan Belina Brzozowski. Jan couldn’t make it to this particular shoot as he’s immersed on a feature at the moment. However all of us worked together, so that the vision was kept consistent along with Mael’s great eye with what had already been shot by Jan.
Prior to this I had to work quick time with Steve Bosworth and Gary Hunt at HobbyFX in Birmingham to cast the creature teeth for Grace. Steve is a specialist in making teeth and I got to check out his workshop for some inspiration before deciding on the type of creature gnashers we finally opted for. The idea is always to have a creature that is scary, but one you would still want to make passionate fiery love and give your soul away to.
The wardrobe was designed by Beearch Ange and Sammm Agnew as we used the concept artwork Cenay designed. In between this Grace attended her fittings and I rehearsed with Adam and Grace to ensure we were all comfortable with each other. Directing an erotic scene, is not as straight forward in the flesh as written on ink on a page as some think.
Grace and Adam had to perform a section taken from the actual script which is very detailed. But for the purpose of this shoot, I created a simplified version, and just explained to them what was happening in the actual scene.
One of the challenges for Grace and Adam was to react to elements that were not really there, so for example, the creature’s appendage and how the characters need to react to a transformation in a very intense erotic scene. There’s so many emotions to process, from lust, to fear, pleasure and of course pain. The actors were having to play out the whole scene from start to finish without there being any parts of the creature in front of them.
Adam and Grace preferred me to talk out the action whilst they were in throes of passion. This helped to motivate them both and for them to know their cues from both an emotional and technical standpoint. The emotion being the essence of the scene, the connection of two characters immersing themselves in a unique ecstasy. And the technical because we had to ensure that they were acting in accordance to the CGI, again something which isn’t there yet.
This is where Cenay was able to advise me, so that I would know at which point, where and how the appendage would work/appear within the frame. Cenay had to also advise on the composition of the shots (which we had planned prior to the shoot of course) for certain motion tracking and CGI work.
There were some funny moments in me getting carried away with vocalising the scene, I remember one scene where I got so excited I went a little too far with the description of passion. It’s amazing how vocabulary can change everything! The actors burst out laughing along with the crew including myself so I knew not to use that certain word again!
It was an enjoyable experience being able to share and talk through the action with Adam and Grace as I watched them on the screen making love. I too felt connected with them, as if we were on a journey together to bring the scene alive with the delicacy it deserved and they in turn were able to bring the scene to life. Do not underestimate the skills required to manifest a love scene. It is not for everyone and not everyone can do it. I’m still learning, but the good thing is, the erotic energy I want for my scene comes from me. My tantric studies have helped, my journey as a girl to lady to woman, my life experiences, trauma, perversion, fetishism and most importantly love has helped me to know exactly how this scene should be. It is genuine and comes from an existing place.
Grace and Adam’s experience also bleeds through as we spoke about love, life and self-love together. Sharing moments like these helped us to understand and dissect the characters further from just the fiction, making an associative bond with each character.
When we actually shoot the scene in its entirety, I believe this will be a re-coming of age for all of us and the audience too.
With the additional scenes now shot for the trailer, the next step will be launching the crowd source campaign. In the meanwhile, the new trailer will have the VFX applied and I’ll be preparing all the pitching assets for investors and the crowd fund.
Thanks for reading and I’ll keep you all updated as always.