Right after the auditions held in our primary location today, we had a production meeting. It was the first time we were able to meet with our Production Manager cause she skipped last Monday’s meeting. Also present were my producer, Assistant Director and Location Manager.
I was actually content with the kids that turned up for the auditions. Although only fifteen students came, some of them showed enough potential and we were optimistic we could cast some of them for significant parts in the film. There are lots of bit parts that needed to be filled and it was to our advantage if they all came from the school where we were going to shoot. It would take care of problems regarding costumes.
That optimism was quickly doused during the prod meeting.
I immediately called attention to the fact that out of the 40 students we were expecting (I was even told it might reach 50), only 15 arrived. I didn’t mind that they were that few. In fact, I don’t think we had time or we would have been able to accommodate 50. I didn’t expect all of them to come, but I didn’t think they would not even reach half the expected number.
It made me concerned about the coming shoot. I’ve been hot on my staff’s case about securing these students’ commitment because I already anticipated that they might lose interest and decide to not show up. That it’s already happening this early is a really bad sign. Our Location Manager was in charge of all this, and whenever I would ask her if she’s confident about these kids, she would always say yes. I know it’s beyond her official function, but I entrusted it to her because she was the one who gathered their names and contact details while location hunting.
I stressed the importance of securing enough talents on the day of the shoot. At the moment, everything is hinged on that because even if we the principal cast members were there, we wouldn’t be able to create a credible school scene with only a handful of students.
As we carried on to review the shooting breakdown, more problems arose. In trying to work out a more efficient schedule, I discussed the possibility of adding a third day on our school location. Our LM said it depended on whether we could afford it. When asked how much that would be, she said that they haven’t confirmed it with the Division Superintendent yet.
I was surprised cause I was under the impression that that there were only two more locations that we needed to secure. It was only today it became clear that we haven’t secured our main location – our location for two of our four shooting days. With only one week left, and with the person who can give us permission still missing in action, things are looking dire.
My producer and I spent the remainder of the meeting lecturing them about the seriousness of our dilemma. We rescheduled Day 1 of our shoot which was originally locked on April 24, Saturday. We sorted out scheduling conflicts with our actors as we figured out viable alternative dates. We also reset the major production meeting that included the post production people. We tried to come up with better strategies for securing bit players, particularly the students.
I was ready to pull my hair out.
I felt really bad being so hard on my Location Manager, but I needed to get my point across. To be fair to her, she was inexperienced in this job, and a lot of her tasks were not really incumbent on a location manager. It was primarily the Production Manager’s responsibility, but because our PM has been missing in action, my Producer and LM have been covering for her.
So we closed that meeting with me feeling slightly more optimistic… only to come home and find out that we have been declined by our last hope for sponsorship. Our production accountant forwarded to me and my producer an email from the government agency we were contacting. In it, they simply said that they have terminated the subsidy program we were applying for, and that they can instead offer help in processing work permits and like documents.
Talk about a knock out.