Production of Tribe Series 2 entered its fifth week from Monday 6th September.

The series is being shot with one shooting block being filmed every two weeks (each shooting block is made up of 4 episodes). In the first four weeks of production, the first two shooting blocks have been filmed, which represents the first 8 episodes in the series.

The multi-episodic schedule maximises the quality and quantity of footage filmed during the production. Most television and film productions do not shoot scenes in the chronological order that the scenes are laid out in scripts – for example, there may be one scene in the shopping mall, then the next scene outside on a beach, the next scene back inside the shopping mall.

Instead, the approach is for different scenes that are set against the same locations and backdrops to be shot at the same time. Using this process, it is possible to shoot several different scenes from several scripts at the same time – otherwise if scenes were shot in the order as they appear in the scripts, this would involve lots of travelling back and forth between different locations, which uses up a lot of time and resources.

Cast members in the Tribe therefore learn lines of dialogue and scenes for their characters from different scenes in different scripts in the same shooting block, and film these scenes at the same time.

Scenes in a shooting block based at a railyard, for instance, would be filmed on one day while the cast were located at the railyard, scenes at a beach would be filmed at the same time on a beach location. This is the most efficient production process and contributes to the excellent production values of the series on screen. Even then, it still takes six months to shoot 52 episodes of footage and you can imagine how long it would take if there was not multi-episodic shooting!

Last week there was a combination of location based exterior scenes and interior studio scenes, with the furthest exterior location based about 12 kilometers from the Cloud 9 Production Centre.

There was also a parallel shooting day on Thursday and Friday of last week involving two units, with one unit shooting interior studio scenes and another unit shooting other interior scenes at a different studio location.

In addition to the clearly “visible” cast of characters in the Tribe, their make-up, hair and costume, locations, and animals, there are also elements in the “background” that all must be planned and co-ordinated. Sets and locations must be designed and `dressed` according to storylines in the scripts, and this is done by the Art Department. The Cloud 9 Production Centre has a vast collection of props that have been built up over the years and all these background elements contribute to the look and feel of the series, as well as supporting storylines.

Last week alone, the following props (excluding costume and make-up items and accessories) were used in the production – radio cassette player, CDs, shopping trolley, cards, photos, dirty glasses, leftover food, messed up furniture, flaming torches, containers and bottles, bowl of porridge, spoon, bedside table, cloths, candles, a list, a hammock, mud, cutlery, crockery, decorations, tableclothes, trestle tables, hot drinks, computers, files, keyboard and mouse, desks, electrical equipment, a computer, video player, videos, plates, camera, cups, tea pots, bowls, doors, magazines, signs, fishing rods, and books!

Last week, also saw the introduction of make-up and wardrobe tests for all the cast.

They along with the entire production team are very keen to keep the series fresh and original from storylines to the look and feel of the series and the fashions and make-up is an important factor.

The cast generally do not have a say in their “look” which is determined solely from their characters` perspective, but overall each member of the cast has always been very pleased with their wardrobe and make-up design and believe that it is very much in keeping with their own particular characterisations which often help them portray the roles they are cast to bring to life.

An updated wardrobe and make-up design brings a lot of speculation and even anticipated excitement for all the cast, who discuss who might get what look and very often surprises are in store!

Overall though, few members of cast are disappointed and all this week are absolutely thrilled with their updated wardrobe and make-up design. They are also very supportive of each other and are very much like a tribe in their outlook and the way in which they interreact. Each `looks out` for the others, the older members are rather like big brothers and sisters to the younger ones – and many observe the cast to be like a family.

The cast and crew work long hours to fulfill an arduous production schedule so weekends are vitally important for all members of the team to relax and indulge in their favourite pastimes and hobbies.

Most of the cast do what most of their fans do. They listen to music, watch television, go to the movies, read, use computers, but unlike most of their fans, the cast live and work within the confines of filming which means that they also have to do homework on their time off as well as learning lines and “going to bed early” to ensure that they are well rested and fresh for their early calls.

Some weekends the cast are released so that they can travel home to visit their families while others have to remain within their Cloud 9 homes with their houseparents, which is determined by the production schedule.

Those left behind indulge in as much recreational activities as possible.

On Saturday, for example, Meryl (EBONY) took Jaimee (CHLOE) and Sarah (PATSY) shopping while Caleb (LEX) and Michael (JACK) practised some songs for their forthcoming recording session. Dwayne (BRAY) likes to paint and sculpt and finds this a very relaxing way to switch off.

On Sunday, Meryl, Jaimee, Sarah and Caleb accompanied John Williams and Matt Prime (the songwriters and producers of the Tribe album) along with the Executive Producer and his family for a brunch and a long walk on the beach. Bob the dog was present and spent most of the time running in and out of the surf and sea.

Dwayne stayed behind to finish his painting while the other members of the cast were able to discuss the recording an a relaxed atmosphere – as relaxed as it can be with the Tribe becoming well known in New Zealand, which means that members of the cast are often recognised and asked for autographs, which they are pleased to do if time permits, as it is important for them to stay in tune with their fans.

We can assure all Tribe fans that weekends are also spent (along with any spare time during the week) with the cast reading their fan mail and personally responding to as many as they can.

The weather in the fourth week of shooting series 2 (Monday 30th August – Friday 3rd September) was:

  • Monday – mainly fine with light winds
  • Tuesday – showers clearing during the day, southerly winds
  • Wednesday – cloudy, with northerly winds
  • Thursday – showers with cold southerly winds
  • Friday – mainly fine with light winds