After weeks of juggling lockdown levels, Shortland St director Emmett Skilton has managed to film a crucial wedding scene - and picked up some tips for his own wedding to Holly Shervey.
"Covid has definitely challenged us in how we are going to film while adhering to the restrictions. It has pushed me to make creative choices that I would never have thought twice about," Skilton tells Spy.
Under alert level 3, actors (and crew) were required to keep 1m apart at all times and any onscreen intimacy, including even a shoulder pat or handshake were restricted.
"So when hearing we might need to film the wedding in level 3, my first reaction was "How do we film a wedding without a kiss? Let alone tell our story with every character keeping 1m apart."
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The wedding is between nurses Maeve Mullins and Nicole Miller. Skilton says that when portraying such a significant wedding to the Rainbow community, the team knew they didn't want to sacrifice any of the storytelling the audience sees on screen. That meant some creative solutions.
"So what do we do? Use camera angles to make the characters look closer, have someone interrupt the brides as they lean in to 'kiss', or do we do as other Shortland Street directors have had to do in the first lockdown and film some camera angles with a doll as the second actor. You name it, we were looking at trying it if we had to under level 3."
Just like planning the Shortland Street wedding, Skilton says he and Shervey will be looking at what's most important to them in their own celebration next year - and says: "You bet ya I'll be kissing her at that altar!"
The lovebirds are amping up filming their Instagram series Millennial Jenny, which has been gaining international attention and Skilton revealed they plan to shoot some elements of the story in several US locations this year.
"With part of our producing team based in Los Angeles and New York, Holly and I will be working closely with them and our international cast to film and direct remotely from New Zealand. "