It finally happened. The bus pulled up at 5:30 a.m. and I was fast asleep. Exhaustion had taken over. The driver had a half hour wait while I got ready. The shoot was set for 8 a.m. but there was still the business of picking up everyone and allowing them time for breakfast. Getting up late and rushing to get on the bus left me feeling unprepared for the day with the nagging feeling that I was forgetting something.
The first scene was at a tattoo parlour in St. John’s. Howard was the special effects makeup person that morning putting a scar on Aisha’s belly. He did a good job. It was not his first time as an FX artist. He created the blood and bruises in our second film project “No Seed.” The scenes went well, interrupted occasionally by the traffic on the busy street outside as the city came alive.
The near disaster was professor Berry falling off a bench. I didn’t see it. I heard it! A very loud thud had all of us scrambling to see what had happened. Turns out he could have dislocated his shoulder. But he bounced up quickly saying he was ok. His arm looked red and bruised. First Aid was applied by Mrs. Berry…no not his wife, his Mom. Mrs. Jean Berry (an acclaimed professional artist and the professor’s mother) joined the crew for the last 10 days of production. She called it “a working vacation” as her son put her to work as a production assistant. As part of the crew mother Berry also climbed up the steep hill to the cave in Barbuda carrying a camera case. She credited her recently deceased husband for her passion for adventure and the outdoors. The next shoot was an office scene at Regional Publications. They allowed us to use their office for a scene, opening up on a Saturday. This scene involved Brent and introduced a new day player Cathia Christopher to the cast and crew. By the time we wrapped on that scene, I was concerned about time. We had two more scenes to shoot outdoors and it was already 3:30 p.m. Carl Bradshaw was in the next two scenes. He had to be picked up at the hotel and brought to the location. It became a game of beat the sunset. What did I forget? Bradshaw’s props! One of the rings and his sunglasses. There was a 20-minute wait for the sunglasses. As for the ring, there was not enough time to go back to my house. It was a wide shot thank God.
When we got to the final location of the day it was 5:30 p.m. we had one hour to shoot the scene. We were losing light fast and the mosquitoes were out in full force. I stayed in the van while the cast and crew went to shoot the scene in an open field. Farmer Brenda Farrell played “Dada Mae”. We first met Brenda 15 years ago and a chance meeting at Wallings Dam in March during professor Berry’s location scouting visit landed her a part in the movie.
Brenda is a natural entertainer who has longed for the stage and the spotlight to show what she can do. When she heard we were doing a movie she said “put me in dey nuh.” Berry clearly taken by her quick wit and her strong presence said yeah “why don’t you guys put her in the movie”. Brenda thought we were joking until Howard showed up at her door with the script and later with Carl Bradshaw. She was struck dumb…but not for long. If I am to believe the reports (because I stayed in the van) Brenda, Bradshaw and Promise created magic on the screen and the fading light giving way to a sunset added a golden glow to their beautiful black skin.
When it was over Brenda confessed to an attack of nerves fuelled by the number of people around. Bradshaw’s presence did draw a couple of fans to the location.