|Maybe we could post-sync it?
(Place the dialogue later in a sound studio), but then I realised everyone Rob
spoke to was African. This would mean we would have to fly them to the UK and
Prince, the co star didn’t even have a visa. Not only this but post-syncing is
risky because, firstly the performance can suffer – the actors are often ‘in
the moment’ on set, they are ‘feeling it’ and that’s the sound you want to get.
You might not be able to get it as good later when they are sitting in a sound
booth with headphones on. Could this sound recordist greed actually result in
further compromising our film?
|I then thought about
shooting part of the sequence up until our characters spoke. Then when we did
get the sound gear, we would come back and shoot the parts with sound. But this
is also problematic. It would be hard to get the continuity of light and the
position of things and it would also mean the schedule would become even more
inefficient, as we would be re visiting places we had already shot in. It’s
always best to get in and get out. Whenever you come back and do ‘pick up’
shots they almost never cut in as well.
|I couldn’t believe these
things would keep happening to us. We’d now done a one and a half day
compromised shoot in an expensive three week trip in Africa and we still
couldn’t get on with the meat of it.
We got onto our contacts in
the UK but call after call revealed that no one was available, or they would
understandably not jump on a plane without having had the many inoculations you
need to have to visit Africa weeks prior to departure. We also tried our
contacts in Ghana and Nigeria but either their kit wasn’t working or they were
already on shoots. There seemed to be an international shortage of sound
|I spread the word amongst
some contacts and felt that someone would find someone. We just had to get on
with some shots. In the meantime, I had also asked Amir to look on eBay for a
good bit of sound kit and some microphones.
|We had managed to find a
couple of sequences that we could shoot and, at least chip away at this beast
and the next morning we were on location setting up for our first shots in
Burkina Faso. Ok, so it was far greener than we wanted, we didn’t have any
lights, generator or equipment to create camera moves, we couldn’t record sound
and some of us had the severe s**t’s and there were no toilet facilities, but
we were finally going to start principle photography. It was not how I had
envisioned it but it was a start none the less.
|We would shoot the scene
where Rob was trying to free a stuck car. We had found a good place and started
setting the cameras up. The car had to be arranged where its wheels would
appear stuck on some rocks, even when the wheel spun. We wanted it to kick up
rocks and water as this happened, so it had more impact and believability.
|Having arranged all that, we
were pretty much ready to go for our first shot. What happened next I wouldn’t
have believed with my own eyes had others not been there to witness it.
|The wind suddenly whipped up
out of nowhere and dark clouds gathered above us. By above us, I really mean
above us, our view of the horizon all around seemed free of cloud.
|Just then, Dan, who was
arranging the rocks shouted for us to look. Just a few feet from the car a mini
tornado was spinning right where we were planning to shoot. It got bigger and
bigger as it moved across the path ripping leaves and branches as it went. I
ran for the camcorder and just caught the tail end of it. It was all very
amusing and we were just swapping stories about how we must have upset the gods
when we heard thunder.
|It had been blisteringly hot
the entire time we had been there. Every time we had been waiting at the port
or being held up by the police we had been sweaty and uncomfortable because of
the heat. Some of us had got sun burnt in the weeks leading up, but now we
needed the sun and it was pissing down with rain before we could take a single
I was desperate to get something in the can so we waited inside the vehicles
but it became obvious it was not going to let up. By mid afternoon it was
pointless. I had to give in, and lucky I did, as it continued for two days.
|I had heard the expression
‘everything that can go wrong does’ applying to shoots and I had even used it
myself in past shoots, which I had thought were tough but, with this one, it
would not let us even get going. It was a horrible feeling.