I’ll be honest, the theatre scene scared the @#%* out of me when I read the script. Not so much because there was a lot of dialogue to remember, but because I had to play both Nathan AND his subconscious. So, instead of just watching for my cues from Kate to deliver my lines, I had to also wait for my cues from myself too. Now normally, I have no problem responding appropriately to the voices in my head, especially when they tell me to take my pants off in public, but when I’m playing a guy who is conversing with his subconcious as well as having to respond to his daughter and her subconscious, well, let’s just say it was a tough script to memorize. …especially the diatribe Nathan launches into near the end of the scene about what makes a good romance story.
I was intrigued by the idea of this scene and was really interested to see how it was going to be executed. For one reason, because this is the SECOND time I have shot a special effects filled scene with Jason Leaver, the first being Mobius, and even though these were two entirely different projects, they both had one thing in common: I had no idea what the cluck was going on (That’s what it sounds like when chickens swear)! It’s a good thing everyone else knew what they were doing because I was lost and basically was like a kid going into Toys’ R’ Us for the first time and looking at all the awesomeness and being told not to touch things.
It wasn’t until we were about half way though (on both projects) that I finally realized what we were doing and although most of this scene was done in post production with effects, it was wild to film, doing the shift between seats, reacting to things that didn’t happen, talking to myself when I wasn’t there, not to mention assaulting myself. I felt like I was in the ‘60s and I wasn’t even born until 1975. But Jason and the crew knew exactly what they were doing and it went smooth as peanut butter, the creamy kind not the chunky. We filmed at the Encore Cinemas in Oakville on a Friday night and they were so gracious to us. It was really wonderful. We arrived about 10:30pm and started setting up almost immediately as the extras arrived. We shot until about 6:30am and the amazing part was, the way it was planned out, we only really used the extras for the first hour of filming. The remaining 5.5 hours were just the crew, Kate and I, and of course the poor Encore manager, Bryn, who had to stick around with us all night (you are the best!). I was really hoping at the beginning to get Nathan’s long speech out of the way as it was still fresh in my memory and I was wide awake and also because I was nervous I would mess up the lines as it’s a long piece of dialogue. But we started with the shots with the extras first. After that I thought ok great! Can we do the speech now? But we were going to do a few other shots first. After a few of those I asked Jason when we’d be doing Nathan’s speech and he said very soon, So every hour I’d say, “Speech time?” and Jason would say “Soon!” and I’d wait…and wait..until, guess what was the last shot…that’s right folks. At around 5:45am, after being awake for almost a full 24 hrs, I got to deliver the longest amount of dialogue Nathan has in Season 1 of “Out With Dad.” Yippee. We were already almost 2 hrs over the time we thought we’d be done and I could feel the pressure as everyone was exhausted and was anxious for the sweet release of sleep. So, when it came time to film the speech I could feel a lot of “don’t eff up, I want to sleep” vibes coming at me from all directions. GREAT! Can’t wait to see how this plays out! The shot was set up, I sat there exhausted and nervous that I’d flub the lines at least 20 times extending our shoot time into infinity. So Jason says “Action” and suddenly it poured out in one take! I was more shocked than anyone and felt like my life was just saved because everyone could go home and sleep now instead of taking turns beating me up in the parking lot. We did do another take for safety’s sake but we could go home. This isn’t boasting, ok maybe a little, but only because I really was afraid I was going to keep everyone there so much later. In retrospect though, it’s easy to see why I was able to do that last piece of dialogue in one take because of the comfort level and support of the crew around me and also due to the ease I find playing this role next to Kate Conway (Rose) who is incredibly talented and plays Rose with such comfort and grace. It felt good like the delicious popcorn provided by the theatre, the chunky kind, not the creamy.
I didn’t know what to expect before I saw the final cut of Episode 3. I had seen a rough cut and thought it looked great, but then when I saw the Final, I was blown away. I don’t know if it was because of the effects and how real it looked, or how the relationship between Nathan and Rose really came to life (I think this is the first time we see them doing a father/daughter thing together), or even how every moment is made better by the beautiful score by Adrian Ellis (who I have become rather a stalker-ish fan of).
Can’t wait for you all to see what’s next!
Watch Will Conlon and Jason Leaver’s previous collaboration, the video installation “Mobius” . Viewable in two formats below. Also, please visit the Mobius webpage, which contains more photos and links.
(which is more like the installation’s intended viewing style)