Happy Ark Day | Scenes For Survival

Over the lockdown period HND Television student Jasmin Ewing got involved with the digital project Scenes for Survival, a collaboration between BBC Scotland and National Theatre of Scotland creating a specially curated new digital programme of work that is available online.

The fruits of their labour, Happy Ark Day is a short film shot entirely in isolation by Jasmin who also plays the role of the daughter alongside her real life mum; Liz.

Jasmin writes:

“Happy Ark Day was my first professional job in terms of both acting and production! This film was produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, in association with BBC Scotland, Screen Scotland, BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine project and The Tron Theatre with support from Hopscotch Films.

My mum and I both have acting agents and they got us to audition to play a mother and a daughter. We both sent in a self tape, recording a scene each, and a couple of days later, received a phone call to say that I got the part!

Rehearsals took place over two days, where we met the company and crew members via Zoom meetings, and had one to one sessions with the director Kol and the company manager Sophie, just rehearsing the scenes.

I was extremely lucky that I had college equipment at home with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to made this film as good as it is! The shoot lasted for 3 days in total. They discussed how it wanted to be filmed, shot ideas and lighting placements.

We were also given a storyboard to work from which helped us significantly; The experts of lighting, sound and camera had a consultation with us, about the do’s and dont’s during the filming process which was really helpful.

It was also an honour, taking advice from industry professionals that work for the BBC! that was pretty awesome!!! Everyone was very helpful and supportive as my mum and I had to film, light and record the sound by ourselves! This was a huge task for us to complete. The filming required a lot of concentration and attention to detail, as we had to be aware of continuity, pay attention to the casting of shadows from light sources, and most importantly, making sure that the shot was in focus!

Thankfully, everyone was extremely pleased with what we had filmed and were ‘over the moon’ with our content. This piece is quite different from the other ‘Scenes for Survival’ films – the main focus of the film wasn’t solely based on the effect of the coronavirus outbreak -although there is some relation to an extent – the film is based on a play that hasn’t yet been on stage, and is a condensed version of it.

I loved the script, I felt like it was quite easy to connect with my character, as we share the same qualities, in ambition, determination and teenage strop! Hahaha…

I feel like we turned this beautiful piece of writing, with the help of the National Theatre of Scotland,into something special, that audiences can connect with.”

Jasmin Ewing – HND Television Student

“Everyone in the department was most impressed with Jasmin’s feature Happy Ark Day. The quality of her technical skills in setting up and shooting the feature are there for all to see. We were also taken by the quality of the acting performances from both her and her mum. This is a great addition to Jasmin’s production CV and we’re looking forward to seeing what she produces in her HND year at NCL.

Michael Grant – Film & Television Lecturer
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