|Sonnigsburg, episode one by Fiona Eloise Bulle|
Episode one of Sonnigsburg airs tomorrow night on C31 (Digital 44) in Melbourne & Geelong and on Channel 44 in Adelaide. It was written by Fiona Eloise Bulle and directed by Glenn Triggs & John Erasmus.
So much happened between the start of principal photography and the end of production. I’ll probably talk more about that in the coming weeks as the series airs.
The bulk of episode one was finished shooting first, though the final version of the opening sequence was shot only a few months ago. We learned a lot from shooting episode one. Having seen footage from the premiere, the writers were able to keep the actors’ performances in mind when working on the next drafts of their scripts.
We could also see parts of episode one that needed to be strengthened; a pilot episode does a lot of work to set up the characters and the world and we could see things that didn’t quite work. Scenes were re-written and re-shoots happened later in the process. Episode one was a learning experience for everyone and as production progressed, we got better and better at knowing what we were doing.
Production for the rest of the series was based mostly around locations and actor availability. With a cast the size of Sonnigsburg, it’s not always easy to get the actors you want, where you want, exactly when you want. Sometimes that meant re-writing scenes or setting them somewhere else. Sometimes it meant shooting most of episode six before episodes two through five.
Early in 2015, we launched a crowdfunding campaign throughIndiegogo. We raised $10,000 to cover some costs we’d already incurred – hiring equipment, buying equipment, paying for food and we were set for a little while longer. We got contributions from all over the world including from writer/producers of US TV shows like Chicago Fire and Angel.
We crossed the $10,000 barrier just before the deadline by a generous donation from Quest Payment Systems, a local tech company – ie. my actual day job. It was very heartening to have such strong support from people who had only heard me talk about my creative pursuits. Can’t wait to hear what they think on Tuesday.
One of the major issues that reared its head during production was the fact that the Federal Government was cancelling C31’s broadcast licence. For a long time, it looked like Channel 31 would cease airing on December 31, 2015. Could we meet that deadline? There were times when it didn’t look possible; and if it was possible, it would have been a rush.
Thankfully, the transition from free-to-air to online-only was given a twelve-month extension and everyone on Sonnigsburg breathed a sigh of relief. We had another year to finish off the show and make it the best we possibly could.
Principal photography finished in January 2016 and post-production began soon after, though in some ways it had been happening all along. We had wrapped all of our cast members by then, but as editing continued, we knew – if we could manage it – some reshoots were necessary.
Then there was special effects and music and colour-grading. There was so much still to be done.
Reshoots were done not so long ago. Insert shots even more recently. Episode one’s credits were finished last week and the episode sent to C31 and Channel 44 only days ago.
Work on the other five episodes continue, but we’re excited for you to see the finished product of episode one.
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