It was incredibly satisfying seeing the film at the Sylvia Park premiere after walking the green carpet. Green? Yes – green like the bush of course! It was a moment when everything clicked in my mind. All the scenes, which we shot out of order and seemed so isolated, came together and, complete with the magic fairy dust of post production, shone as one hell of a good story.
There’s a winning feel about the projects Taika Waititi gets involved with and he showed his value again when the movie’s opening weekend topped the list of all time opening weekends for NZ movies – and the second weekend did even better.
The film is good because it lives up to its hype. It is smart, funny and each character is charming no matter how weird they seem. Even outlandish characters like Psycho Sam (played by Rhys Darby) didn’t feel out of place in the setting of “a million hectares of bush” where anything can happen.
Taika may be smooth and hilarious most of the time in the public eye but he’s serious too. Preferring to start the day on set with a prayer in Maori, especially under the watchful presence of Mt Ruapehu, where we shot the chase scenes, it wasn’t hard to feel what he was about. It was great to work with someone who leads by example – with enthusiasm, good humour, endless stamina and never allowing his impatience to shoot to get the better of him when the technical departments needed more time.
My job was to record the sound on location and that was made a whole lot easier when the production signed up boom op Nikora Edwards. Nikora works at speed, can level with any member of the crew or cast, communicates just what needs to be said – and is super chilled.
Then there’s the gear. For any sound professional in the industry, the gear I used would come as no surprise – it’s the good stuff that just works from the Americans – Lectrosonics (8 channel Octopack with SMQV transmitters and two shark fin antennas) and Sound Devices (the 12-channel 664).
A wireless boom was essential given the amount of bush, mud, snow, and moving vehicles we were filming in. We used the Japanese made Sanken CS3e shotgun wireless coupled with a Lectrosonics HM transmitter.