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Production Diary Week 8 – Special FX and an Elaborate Procession

Justin Kirschner fills in for this week’s Production Diary. He awaits the arrival of multimedia producer Kerrin Kokot.

I’ve been in Swakopmund for about three and a half weeks now, and it figures that as soon as I’m finally able to follow the intricate story and the elaborate characters in this project we’re working on, it’s time to pack it in and move on to another. Yes, this will sadly be my last week on set, my duties on another shoot necessitating my return to Cape Town next week. And it couldn’t have happened after a more exciting week of filming.

Like last week, the crew has been traipsing back and forth between shooting in the nearby dunes and downtown. In the desert there were some considerable sandstorms — nothing like what rocked production the first week, but enough to make me look forward to not having sand being constantly blown in my ear after I leave. We also shot an elaborate procession downtown involving about 150 extras, a choir, and a horse-drawn chariot — I have to say it was really cool. Meanwhile, I was able to observe the special effects crew as they set up one of the more elaborate effects that will be seen in the series. I saw them work their magic twice, which was quite interesting.

It’s a wonder that during such an action-packed production schedule we all manage to find time to recreate as well. Sir Ian McKellen told me he recently went on a desert trip to see geckos and lizards. Jamie Campbell-Bower, who plays 11-12, just got back from swimming with dolphins off Walvis Bay, which he said was really cool. And Jim Caviezel recently celebrated his birthday with one of Swakop’s local Marimba bands — I didn’t attend this party, but I’m told it was quite rocking. As for myself, I’ve been spending my off-time visiting with friends and socializing with the crew. During our day off this week, I raced the stunts crew on Swakop’s local go-kart track, which was actually quite large and a lot of fun. I’ll spare you the details on who won that contest…

Speaking of motor-crossing, this week also saw the arrival of a second unit camera crew, which is here over the next four or five days to shoot mainly pick-up shots and some action scenes. They’ll be doing some scenes with quad-bikes tomorrow, so I hope to pop in on them and observe that. Afterwards it’s back to Cape Town, at which time I’ll place you in the capable hands of AMC’s newest multimedia producer. Stay tuned.

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