Production Diary – Day 5

Production Diary – Day 4
November 27, 2016
Beijing - Travel Warning Movie
Production Diary – Day 6
December 22, 2016
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Fragrance Hills - Beijing - Travel Warning Movie

After a enourmous 16 hour shoot the previous day, which was both physically and mentally draining, it was yet another early start for the crew of Travel Warning.

Before falling asleep in our clothes, we had done a bit of research about what we were going to do today.

Change of plans

Originally we had plans to go to Cuandixia village, an ancient village outside Beijing. The plan was to shoot some wilderness scenes in and around there. After dinner, we spoke with the conseirge about the amount of time to get there and due to the winding roads, it was take about 8 hours return.

That 8 hours was a lot of time not shooting. Especially considering we had quite a lot to do.

Our ambitious schedule also said once we were done with the village and back in Beijing we would head to Fragrance Hills.

This would never have happened due to the time, but we decided to skip the village and go to the Hills and finish as much as we could, bearing in the mind, we still had many more hotel scenes to film.

We departed about 6am in the early morning light, and got 2 trains to our station. From there it was a 20 minute bus ride into the hills.

Since we had not had anything to eat, it was a quick trip to McDonald for breakfast before paying the entry fee and heading into the park.

The hills are alive with the sound of violence

Fragrance Hills was the perfect location. It was huge with lots of different paths to walk. Our goal was to get away from the crowds and begin shooting some of the more difficult scenes, which turned out to be easier than expected giving the sheer volume of people entering the park during peak season.

We walked in a circle, shooting scenes based on the locations we were discovering. We even found an old air raid shelter from the 1950’s which provided a welcome change of backdrop.

It was just after midday and we decided to head back and shoot the crucial scenes at the hotel.

Getting back was a nightmare, crammed on a bus like sardines with a bus driver who looked ready to pack it in, he was that angry. On the bus, we had thought of a shot we missed.

The scene calls for the main character to hunt an animal, so he throws a stick. The aim is well off and the stick smacks into a tree.

Two things were needed to complete the scene: one was a tree, two was a stick.

Seems easy. The problem was we were back in the city now.

Walking to the subway I spotted a big stick about 60cm on length. Next to the station there was a row of trees. My god, this might work.

We were in and amongst a crowed area, being it was the subway entrance. Opposite us was a group of older Chinese men, who were already gawking at us, wondering what we were doing there. (This was commonplace everywhere we went).

I set up the camera, making out I was playing with settings and we bided our time. As soon as the group settled, we picked the moment.

Richard lobbed there stick at the tree, we got the shot.

We both agreed how absurd the making of the film was before quickly leaving. This really was the definition of guerrilla filmmaking.

No turning back

Back at the hotel, we shot many scenes. Then came the moment which would turn the movie on its head: Richard having to shave his beard.

In shooting the movie in reverse, we had to now shoot all the scenes in the beginning with our character clean shaven. The worry for us was whether we had got everything with the beard. This was the point of no return.

Schedules were studied long and hard and the decision was made, the beard was to come off. Although it wasn’t as easy as that, it was a very thick beard for a single razor.

After clogging the sink with hair, the deed was done. We finished off the scenes well into the night and was exhausted. An all to familiar feeling.


21,437 steps (record)
51 flights of stairs climbed
15.9km walked (record)

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