Around two scenes in, Nuwan and Sithira came trotting down with couple of bags full of short eats and drinks. I called for breakfast and stood aside as everyone dived in to the bags full of snacks. Lasantha, the DP for the shoot decided that the break would be short as we had many scenes to shoot within the day. I too, grabbed a fish roll and stood beside Ruvin; it’s not every day that you get to see a goblin munching on a fish bun from Perera & Sons.
The makeup work done by Buwaneka was partially the reason that got me interested in doing this short film. With my first short film “A Small Miracle” being well-received among peers, I was looking for a project that would be impactful and exciting to work on. I had written around dozen short film scripts during this time. Some were good, some were half developed, but none of them had a challenge that would push me forward. It’s one of those creative blocks you get once in a while I guess. There is nothing you can do but just let it work out until something inspires you again.
I stumbled across Buwaneka Ranawaka’s portfolio few months earlier. It consisted various prosthetic work, creature fx and character styling. This had me hooked. For starters, it was fascinating to see such talented makeup artists working in Sri Lanka. I felt like being 18 again; the moment I was on a shooting set for the first time in my life. Magical. I remember that day quite well; witnessing how a written sentence, an action line, a character moment on the page, being bought to life by a group of skilled people.
Having seen Buwaneka’s portfolio, I went home that evening and did a revamp of a script I had written earlier. In addition to having a goblin character as the main role, I rewrote the ending as well. It should be noted that, no matter if you have goblins or even dragons in your story, all would be pointless if the story doesn’t work. As a writer, a good narrative would ignite a spark in the mind of your audience, allow them to have conversations and of course give them the pleasure of time being well spent. So it took couple of weeks to nail it down, but the story was working well. The goblins had a prominent role and most importantly the main character had dramatic arc.
The aroma of baked buns and fish sambol was still lingering in the air when we began filming again. Using a 5D mk2 was the obvious choice for the short film and Lasantha assured me he could work well with it, especially for the foot chase scenes that the script called for. We rented a smoke machine to give the forest the misty, sun beams through the sun look. Reviewing the footage, I could say that it helped a lot. The downside was the smoke engine was run on gas and it didn’t take long for a greasy stench to overcome the nice bakery aroma. We were shooting scenes in a tight pace to make up for the schedule delay we had earlier. And by the time we stopped for lunch, we had almost caught up.