So...just over twenty four hours ago one of my cast told me she couldn't commit to shooting any time before the 20th July. She was the first person to come on board, the only person I had in mind for the part, but her life is just too complicated at the moment.
She had wrestled with the decision but knew she had to tell me before we actually shot her first scene this Wednesday. (Hey - we were going to shoot a REAL scene - people in the same room, both on camera, talking to each other. Should have known THAT wasn't going to happen.)
I could wait, I suppose, but from what I've seen it's quite possible her life won't get any simpler after July 20th, and any number of other complications could arise if we wait that long. So I've recast, with the girl who read the part for our initial readthrough (and who did it very well). Her availability is excellent, but - and there had to be a catch - only until July 15th or so.
So suddenly it's both feet on the accelerator, and I start to look at the other possible complications; one of my cast is transferring to a job in London that won't tell her what her shifts are, another can get time off but needs some warning - and I have to get both of them together with others before the middle of July - at least twice in one case, and four or more times in the other.
So I look at ideas for cheating - shooting them on different days in the same location if necessary, using doubles at the edge of frame, carefully composed shots, all the little tricks of film. It still seems feasible.
But I sit here on Monday night, having a shoot scheduled for Wednesday morning, and I have no idea if one actress has even seen the messages telling her that there's been a cast change and therefore we're shooting different scenes (because my replacement isn't available until Friday), no word from the person vital to accessing a location on Thursday so I can't confirm with the actress who is speedily learning a big scene because we had to move it forward, no word from the person providing me with a key to the location for nearly all of Wednesday's shoot...
I have phoned these people and left messages. I have sent texts. I have communicated on facebook.
I have also clearly done something to anger the universe, because it is taking some delight in reducing my nerves to shreds.
I want to be the guy who forges on, who gets it done despite everything, who shows people it pays not to give up.
But, a lot of the time, I wonder if I'd be better off being the guy who knows when enough is enough.
Hey, wouldn't it be amazing to have a picture of a scene actually being filmed..?