Our week started off in difficult fashion. On the night before we were to begin shooting, our principle camera broke down, necessitating an expensive new purchase. As it turned out, we were able to nursemaid the old camera through the shoot, and not use the new camera, which I can return, but still - it made for some hairy moments. Until we finished the final shot the last day, I wondered when and if the camera would stop working for good. The camera's intermittent glitch also slowed down shooting here and there, which was a delay we didn't need.
That was just the beginning. During the shoot, no less than four people dealt with illness, including one actor who came down with a really bad fever, and still soldiered through a full 14-hour work day. At points, I was afraid we were going to have to prop him up into the scenes...he literally appeared to be on the verge of collapse. On another day, we woke up to find another actor was also ill, and unable to work. We had to rewrite our back-up or "bonus" script, omitting his character save for one scene. It all worked out just fine, but there were some stomach-churning moments there for cast and crew. We were concerned for our friends, and also wondering what the hell was going to happen.
It's far too early for me to digest the entire experience. At this point, I haven't even uploaded the photos from my digital camera as I had intended. I said it a few times this week, but it was almost as if we used up all our good luck last year, when everything went so smoothly.
Of course, as my supportive producer, Joe Maddrey reminded me, the difficulties this year actually reflected the content to a high degree. This is the "middle" year of The House Between and considerably darker than last year's shows in some important ways. Everybody kept comparing it to The Empire Strikes Back in terms of the tone. If we all survive and recover, the third season will hopefully reflect the content I want there...which should be somewhat less grim. We'll see.
Anyway, the amazing thing is that we filmed eight new episodes. Most of the scripts were 42 pages long. One script was 44 pages. The new season now includes the following shows:
What I can say for certain is that I am eternally grateful to my cast and crew, the people who kept going and never stopped, no matter how tiring and stressful things got. The performances all came through great, and the make-up, lighting and camera work looks terrific on the material I've previewed. Hopefully, my plans for a "bigger, better" Season Two will really come through. I know that everybody really gave it their all...and ultimately that's the first step.