'Harlot' - Day Two: It's a Wrap!

6pm. Rain clouds. Large ominous shapes drifted towards Middlesbrough a few hours before we were due to start shooting.

Filming becomes very difficult in bad weather. Even if your equipment is adequately covered, the tendency is to speed everything up because you don't want your actors soaking during each take. Luckily, we were in a street where we were able to park 2 cars so people could wait in them while they weren't needed. As a director it was hard to not rush the scenes because I didn't want to keep cast and crew in the cold and wet. I did feel myself rushing and more panicky then I had been on the previous day so I had to work against my nature to calm down and get every shot I wanted.

The biggest thing I would say about bad weather filming is come as prepared as you can. Brollies, cars, plastic sheets, towels and waterproofs.

Fortunately the rain wasn't as bad as it could have been. We did pray beforehand.

Scenes of a violent nature

There is one attack scene in 'Harlot.' I'll be honest I was a little concerned about that scene because I didn't have a choreographer. I did have director, Laura Degnan with me who has filmed violence before who was a great help in giving advice. I learnt a valuable lesson in that scene. We blocked the scene with the actors and placed the camera in position on a tripod. It looked good. Then my cameraman suggested that we reshoot the scene, same angle but handheld to add more dynamic to the scene. I agreed, always willing to have an alternative. The difference was surprising. I knew that moving camera works well in energetic scenes that have a lot of movement in them but I did not have that knowledge as ingrained in to me as Crawford. His experience knew that would bring out the emotion of the scene more. It made the scene. Had I a larger budget I think I would have invested in a choreographer for this scene but it went amazingly well. James Senior who came in for the part of the attacker was excellent. He is able to switch in to his part in what seems seconds and he really lives the character.

The Final Scene
I left the final scene of the film to be shot last. Partly out of sentimentality, partly because our main actor's back had been playing up and I wanted to leave it till last to make sure we got it. The rain had stopped for most of the other scenes but it came back for this shot. Thank you rain! It looked exactly as I had imagined it when I first wrote the script. 
At the risk of making myself sound vulnerable, I am going to write it anyway because I think I again learned a valuable lesson. The final scene is of Hosea walking down the street carrying Andrea in his arms. I had imagined them walking towards camera. I mentioned this to Andy earlier and he seemed a little surprised, which made me take notice. Then when we came to shoot the actual scene, Crawford sounded surprised and questioned it. My husband, Kevin, also seemed surprised. What made my decision harder was that we couldn't do this scene in a lot of takes because we had no idea how Andy's back would hold out. 
Crawford suggested I would be taking a risk by not getting the shot walking away from camera. Coupled together with both Andy and my husbands surprise at the shot being towards camera I made a decision. I decided I was wrong and to go with what people would expect. If 3 people had imagined that scene walking away from camera, then the likelihood was that the audience would expect it.