Monday will see us filming more scenes, including a newly added scene for part of the ending sequence. This won’t be the first new scene that has been added during our filming process, as for Directors Ian and Dominic Higgins, the process of telling this story has been very much a process of remaining open to new influences and new information, allowing the story in many ways to tell itself.
From the director’s blog:
Of course it all starts with the script, which first goes through several drafts before arriving at a “shooting script”. But despite all these re-writes, for us, the shooting script is more a guide, charting the movie’s various dramatic arcs and character dialogue with ideas for camera angles and sound design for each of the scenes.
More ideas will almost certainly be implemented, when working with the cast, because directing actors is not just a matter of telling them what we want them to do and say, but rather a collaboration, a meeting of artistic and emotional interpretations.
As directors our most important job is to foster such an environment on set that actors feel the same sense of creative freedom that we grant ourselves when writing a script, storyboarding and editing – creative freedom is essential.
Actors will also, of course, do research as part of the preparation for their roles, which means they could very well come across information we missed during our own research. In fact this has been the case on several occasions during the filming of All That Remains.
On one such occasion a brand new scene was added after actress Kaya Yuzuki told us about an incident involving her character that she read in a book only available in Japanese. The scene is now amongst the most powerful in the entire movie.
Still more ideas will come when editing the footage together, sometimes these ideas will result in new scenes being written or existing scenes being re-written as we’re filming other scenes.
Other ideas will come when working on the sound design of the movie that may affect the visual edit.
Finally, changes and new ideas may be implemented after the film has played to a “test audience”. It really is an organic living thing that is in a constant state of change and improvement.
The scene above was going to be originally set on veranda of a house, but the day before we shot the scene, we had the idea of having the characters sit outside in a garden or a park surrounded by sunflowers, so the scene would take on a deeper symbolic significance (we’re very big on symbolism) – it’s the morning that the A-bomb will be dropped and these women are sitting in a “field of a thousand suns” a visual reference to common description of the A-bomb flash being brighter than a thousand suns.
This scene, where Takashi is visited by his younger brother Hajime, was written well into the filming process – one of the benefits of stretching the filming out over a period of months (due to budget) is that we get to edit the footage as we are filming.
This means we get to see if a sequence is working right or if it needs something else, like an extra scene, and because we’re still filming, we get the chance to schedule that extra scene into one of the upcoming shoots.
What originally started out as a docu-drama has now, through this process of change and evolution, become a full on feature length drama. It is a project that has continually expanded in both scope and vision and will continue to do so, until the very moment the final touches have been added and the release date has been set!