Before writing this I checked my last blog entry to see how long it had been - June 27, eight weeks ago. On one hand, it doesn’t seem that long since I last wrote but, on the other, it feels like enough has happened to fill six months, not two.
Since my last entry we’ve finished pre-production and production on Season 3 and have started on post. Which, for the most part, is why I haven’t submitted an entry for some time. It might take me a couple of weeks to catch up with all that’s happened but I’d like to start with the shoot.
Like both Seasons 1 and 2, we shot Season 3 over ten days – three days on, two days off and then seven days straight. The last seven days were pretty gruelling. There were some very long days and late nights amongst them. This isn’t ideal, but filming on a shoestring budget means you have to shoot when locations, cast and crew are available. You do what you have to and hope it all works out in the end. And it did.
This has been the best shoot we’ve had so far. The crew was focused, engaged, talented, and with a noticeable lack of ego. This, for me, is a very important quality when working so intensely with people. The cast, as always, were brilliant. I’ve spoken before about how talented I believe these actors are and how lucky I am to be working with them but this time, it was even better. I’ve been working with our core cast for almost a year now and, on this shoot, I was blown away by what I saw. I’m not prone to hyperbole, but, in my opinion, the performances can best be described as breathtaking.
Despite all the challenges, it worked. At least, it felt like it did. I guess we won’t know for sure until the episodes are finished, but it felt good. Even when things outside our control fell down at the last minute we were able to find a way around them. And, more often than not, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Part of this is luck but a major part of it is planning, hard work and the sheer determination of those working on the project to do whatever has to be done to make the series the best it can be. This was true of every member of the cast and crew. When a supporting actor fell ill on the day she was meant to shoot, each member of our key cast went out of her way to find a replacement. When locations had to be changed at the last minute, cast and crew rallied and made it work.
When you’re in the midst of something like this, when you’ve been working seven days straight and you’re filming some of the most emotionally intense scenes of the entire series, you want people around you who you can trust. And I did. I trusted every member of that cast and crew, both as a person and a professional. I haven’t always had that level of trust on other shoots and now that I have, I don’t ever want to go back. This shoot felt like a real turning point for Starting From … Now!. It felt like the series was being lifted to another level. That’s something I want to build on, to not only take this team and make the coming seasons even better but to continue to work with them long into the future.
Usually, at the end of a shoot I’m more exhausted than anything else. This time, I’m excited, still tired, but mostly excited.
By Julie Kalceff