Overall, Martin and I came to Narrandera four times in June, August and September. The first visit was a ‘meet n greet’ session, then two separate weekend workshops, and then the final workshop and filming week in September. This final week we filmed every day for 6 days (see below for daily diary of our filming process).
Martin and I outlined a loose story arc for the film based on the two themes we originally proposed, HOME and DANCING:
1. the individual in their home giving a dance;
2. the collective walking in and around their town;
3. the collective culminating for a ‘gathering’ or party and doing a dance.
In the mornings, we’d set up shots in each of the participants houses and film their individual ‘hand’ dances that we had developed in the workshop and fine tuned on the day of the shoot. We also did exterior shots of their houses. Most afternoons we filmed with the whole group involved, whereby the cast mostly performed a series of walks in different locations around Narrandera. Some of the walks were ‘normal’ walks and some walks were ‘a little strange’. These walks came out of exploring various bird movements in the workshop process. The third and final section was the ‘party’ scene.
The story arc grew out of the discussions from the workshop where we felt, with these particular six people, it was the community and the whole of Nerrandera that was their home rather than just their individual homes. And the metaphor of the nest came up in discussions, so we decided to use the nest as a metaphor to underscore the film. For us, the nest exemplifies that sometimes our homes are full, sometimes they are empty; at certain times in our lives the nest expands to become the whole town we live in and the community becomes part of this larger ‘nest’. I feel the nest symbolises something of comfort, nurturance and security, but the nest also hints at an underlying feeling of fragility… and that anything unexpected can happen at any time – and that nothing on this planet is permanent. As one enters later life, I’m sure this sense of fragility is magnified. So when we truly understand this, we can perhaps deeply appreciate each and every moment.