I walked out of Four Feathers scarred. I am still trying to work out what went wrong, and one day will write about it. But it led me to running away from saying yes to a film. So the first day of the shoot carried a great burden for me..
.. and for others. It was really important for me to claw back my own confidence, Apart from anything else I had not shot anything for 4 years. Also the stories of the problems on Four Feathers are now legend in the bussiness. It was a film about War. But one in which everyone was at war with each other. And I was the director. I took the stand, and therefore took the bullets. It was my job.
Yet it was easy to start directing again. I just fell into it. Once it started it just felt like the most natural thing to do, and I wondered why I have waited so long to get behind the camera. I have resolved to shoot at least 6 months of every year, though I doubt that I will be able to keep to the resolve.
We went at breakneck speed. More shots than people imagined. My DP, who is the most co operative gentle man I have met, got quite agressive at the and saying that it was too fast and the film would suffer if I went at that speed. I thought ‘ I was not consciously doing so, it jsut happened’. I just was very clear that I had to make the day. It would have been terrible for the moral of everyone if the first day went into a backlog. What a terrible start to the film.
And then I saw the rushes. Yes, I think there was stuff I did not get into the can. My Designer was upset that I did not get in enough of the wide shots I had promised to do, that would have exploited the textures of the set.
But will the scene work without those ? Yes it will. On the first rehearsals the scene was not working. The deeper subtext of the scene was not coming across. It was struggle to find the essense of the scene. A greater struggle than I had expected. So the visual design of the scene suffered in the face of nurturing the performances. But that is not a bad thing, provided we balance everything out later in the film..
I did notice though that I was not taking wide shots because subconsciously I was trying to avoid one of the costumes. The costumes and the set did not quite match. I think I should have taken the hat off.
Can’t have it all. The next day was far better. Will talk about it later,