In November last year, I was lucky enough to play Hanna in Snowshoe & Monster, a webseries pilot for Telus Storyhive. We had three days and $10K to make the best pilot we could.
In February, the finished Snowshoe & Monster pilot came out and was one of two pilots chosen to make five more episodes with $50K.
In June, we filmed those five episodes, now called Summer’s Monster, over the course of ten days.
In some ways, it was more chaotic this time around. It was a bigger production with more people involved, and we were filming an average of an episode every two days, often filming scenes from a few different episodes all in one day. There were more costume changes and props and scenes and things to keep track of and remember and consider.
But chaos isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This time around, we were more prepared. We’d done it before and we knew we could do it again. We knew and understood the story and characters. We had our groove down. We were also more familiar with each other and with working together.
Personally, I saw an improvement in my work. Five scripts to memorize sounded daunting at first. After all, I felt like I’d barely gotten through the first episode. In November, I’d been filming a feature up to two days before Snowshoe & Monster started, and of those two days I had off, one was my birthday and was not spent preparing. So when I got on set, it sometimes felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. Some lines I memorized but didn’t understand. Some lines I understood but didn’t memorize. When we filmed scenes out of order, I sometimes wasn’t sure where we were in the script and just sort of went along with it. When we finished, I had the strong sense that I could have done better, and just wanted the chance to do Hanna proper justice.
June was that second chance. I prepared ahead of time, even though I got scripts a week before filming, and some updates were made the day of or even right before filming a scene. I memorized everything, and even when I had troubles with some lines (384 000 kilometres, “sure it’s still structurally sound” (try saying that ten times fast…because I had to)) or forgot a word or phrase, overall I felt well-prepared. I wasn’t able to have all five episodes memorized by the first filming day, but I made sure to at the very least have things memorized a day ahead of filming them.
Hanna’s character, I felt I understood better this time around. Not only was there more material to build her from, but there was the pilot to draw from as well, and seeing the finished pilot and Hanna’s part in it helped me build the full picture. On top of that, I was able to keep track of each scene and each episode, even when we filmed them out of order and even when we filmed many at once from different points in the timeline.
It was great getting back together with everyone for a round two, plus a bunch of awesome new people. Everyone was extremely capable and fun to work with, and I felt like the production was in good hands the entire time.
Summer’s Monster will be airing on Telus Optikin Canada this fall. If you don’t have Telus, it might be on YouTube, in which case I’ll definitely post about it for you. If you want to see that, follow this blog if you haven’t yet so you don’t miss it!