Shooting Shenanigans

Date: Sunday 14 August 2016
Place: Rhodelle, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
Objective: Shoot 13 scenes of “A Narrow Path” short film
Time frame: 09:00 – 20:00
Difficulty level: Ambitious


Jeff and I wake up early. We are excited and nervous. It is our first shoot day. It had finally arrived after a crazy week of running around organising actors, gear, location and props. A location scout the week before proved the location too small and we eventually managed to tie down the use of “Khalid’s house” on Thursday – what a relief! We pack the car and get ready to go. There is a lot of stuff and we will need to take two car loads. Jeff convinces his brother, Michael, to offer himself as manual labour.

Jeff drops me with the first load of stuff at Khalid’s house at 09:00. My job is set dressing. In other words moving everything we don’t want on the set out of the way and placing everything we want on set somewhere. There is a lot of stuff in the house and this is slow, arduous work. There are many decisions to make and not lots of time as we want to start shooting by 11:00. Mainala, my assistant, arrives at around 10:00 and I hurriedly try to get her up to speed. Time is running out and there is still a lot to do. Didier, one of our actors turned up early and he is hanging curtains for me, bless his heart.


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The two pictures above are courtesy of Hello Pictures

More actors start arriving from 10:30 and there is general chaos. Too many people, too little space and still a lot to do. Jeff has only just started setting up his gear… Mainala is running around getting everyone to sign release forms while I am talking to actors about wardrobe and props. I feel quite frantic and just hope that people are able to manage themselves. I can hardly manage myself. Some of the guys are helping me hang picture frames. 11:00 comes and goes in a whirlwind of activity and general chaos, so does 11:30 and 12:00 and… i think it is about 12:30 when we eventually pull ourselves together and start to shoot the first scene. Relief.

It feels like something is finally happening. Shooting is actually not going too badly. The actors are amazing. They are getting their lines well, but technically we are struggling a bit. There is just so little space and so much gear! Jeff is also struggling with lighting and why did we get a dolly? Oh right, production value… whatever that is.

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We move the order around in which we were planning to shoot some of the scenes. They are starting to tick off. By 15:00 we have finished the first five scenes and it is time for lunch. We are hungry and tired. Things actually for the moment don’t look too bad. Lunch was supposed to be from 14:30, so only 30 minutes behind schedule, right? Lunch had arrived at some point during the shoot and everything is ready for us. Jeff and I swallow our food and run around setting up for the next scene. The break, although really short has revived us and we have a second wind to carry on. There is always a lot to prepare.

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In the next scene Doron has to eat a samoosa and someone is telling a funny story about samoosas. There has been a lot of laughter on set. It is a good distraction from the chaos. Somewhere around 16:00 we get going again. and it is push, push, push. There are still eight scenes left to shoot and we need to finish. We won’t easily have access to the location again but things are ticking over. A lot of coffee is being consumed.

It is about 19:20 when we start with the final scene for the day, which also happens to be the climax scene of the film. Hooray! The end is in sight. We will finish after all. The climax scene is very intense, voices and emotions are raised. I feel sorry for the actors as they run through this scene over and over again. Jeff is trying to pull off a few different angles and some special lighting effects which means that we do what feels like a 100 takes. Finally we finish though and everyone is laughing and smiling. Doron’s girlfriend, Jane, arrives and tells us that she could hear him from a block away – oops.

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Everyone heads off and Jeff and I can breathe, now for packing up. It is again two car loads to get everything back home again. We eventually finish unpacking and collapse on the couch at home at 23:00. We survived our first shoot day! Tomorrow we do it all again….

We actually managed to complete shooting for the short film in the time that we had allocated. On August 15 we also had a full day, although it was a lot more relaxed. We also shot in the evenings of 17 and 18 August. We then had a nice break before we finished off with another chaotic day on 28 August on location at the Bible Institute of South Africa and our final shoot day on 29 August on location in Kalk Bay.

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There were a lot of ups and down during this time but it is a testament to God’s faithfulness and goodness that we managed to get everything done… and there are even some good looking shots among everything. If you are interested you can meet the cast at

We would like to thank everyone that was involved in any capacity in the shooting of the film and all those who faithfully prayed for us. We arrived on Wednesday in Kenton-on -sea and the editing machine is rolling. I think we have finally arrived at the last leg of our journey…

A Narrow Path – Short :: BTS from Jeff Davies on Vimeo.