Writing Wednesdays: I spent a week on the set of The Kissing Booth sequel

I recently spent a week in Cape Town on the set of The Kissing Booth's sequel - in this post, I talk a bit about what that experience was like!

ICYMI, I was recently in Cape Town to spend a week on the set of The Kissing Booth 2. I asked you guys on Instagram to let me know what you wanted me to talk about, and you sent me plenty of ideas - I'm going to try and cover off a few of them in this post!

Honestly, the whole thing was totally surreal

I'm still not over the fact that I have one movie adaptation of one of my novels - let alone that it did so well that I'm getting another! The first time I was in Cape Town was an incredible experience and I never expected to be back there. It was magical. There's no other word for it.

It's familiar even when it's not

Hear me out on this one: so of course, all movie adaptations will have scenes that aren't in the book, be they big or small. And all I want to say is that when I was watching a scene that wasn't in the book, it still felt like I was watching my characters - which, honestly, is just a testament to how perfect the cast are, and how well I feel the script has adapted my books.

I loved catching up with the cast - it's like a family on set

The first time, I felt like kind of an imposter. Everyone seemed so close and to get on so well, and I showed up part way through filming for such a short time... Everyone was so lovely, of course, but by the time I got used to it I was heading home!

This time, despite only really having hung out with the cast for a couple of days last time (and staying in touch mostly via Instagram), going back was like meeting a group of old friends! Everyone is great - they're so easy to talk to and so much fun to be around, and everyone seemed as excited to see me as I was to see them. There was a weird sense of feeling at home!

And it's like a family off-set

I remember everyone telling me how Carson White (who plays Brad, Elle's younger brother, in the movie) was like everyone's little brother - and he really is! Special shout-out here to Carson and his family, who were so wonderful to me while I was in Cape Town. We got to go for sushi my first night, dinner halfway through the week, and we spent the Saturday exploring the Cape of Good Hope and seeing the penguins! 

I also got to go for dinner with Joel one night, and Molly Ringwald joined me and Carson's family at dinner too. (Talking about Brexit with her was one of the weirdest experiences to relay back to my family over FaceTime later that night when they asked how the evening had been.) On my last day, Joey invited me for milkshakes - but only after I'd checked out and was waiting for my ride to the airport, which was the most unfortunate timing!

I was much more confident this time around set

the first time, I felt very cautious around set. I was nervous to take photos (and regretted not having many when the film did come out) and nervous to interact with all of the cast and crew.

This time felt familiar, like I said. I really can't express how great it was to be around everyone again - I wasn't hanging back by the monitors the whole time and spent more time with the cast, which is something I really regretted last time. I was also more comfortable to ask questions and chat to some of the crew this time or go for lunch/dinner with them, which was a lot of fun.

Although I did sort of get kicked off set one day...

Fun story for those of you who missed it on my social media: one day when we were filming a huge scene with loads of extras, I get dropped off and wander towards where I think set is. A security guard stops me and asks where I'm going (to set), who I'm with (um, nobody?), if I have a wristband (no? I just got here? My driver dropped me off and told me to come this way?)

She gives me a very unconvinced look and said, 'Extras are that way.'

'No,' I tried to explain, but also not wanting to make a scene. 'I'm the writer.'

She still didn't seem convinced, and said she couldn't let me through. 'Everyone's that way. You'll have to go that way.' So - off I went, texting Ruth for help, one of the crew I'd been around all week. I ended up hanging out with Carson and his family for a while over a cup of tea and did eventually make my way to the monitors - and promptly got a wristband so I wouldn't be stopped again!

An average day on set

I think I'll talk more about this in another post (I feel like I could say quite a lot about 'how it actually works') and every day is very different - but for me, it was a lot of sitting around at the monitors out of the way of where the actual filming was going on, and chatting to the cast when they weren't having to act and were maybe just waiting around for the cameras to be moved for the next shot. 

No, I don't 'get involved' in the movie making process...

Honestly, movie making is not my domain, in any way, shape or form. I know nothing about it. There's a lot of prep that goes into the whole process - they already plan out what shots they're going to get for a certain scene and how they want it to go, what it needs to involve. I wouldn't have a clue what I was talking about so there's no way I'm going to interfere! I wasn't involved in casting or location scouting either, but honestly, they've done an incredible job. I probably would've just been a hinderance for those kind of things!

...but yes, the second movie is based on my sequel (Going the Distance

And, I was able to chat to Vince (our scriptwriter and director) about his script when he first wrote it, which was a level of input I was happy with. He did such a marvellous job of the first one that I trusted him even more this time around.

And yes, I definitely cried

So for the first film, my last day on set coincided with the costume/birthday party. The final scene filmed that night was when Elle and Lee have a heart-to-heart and he encourages her to go after Noah. It's emotional and the actors are so incredible, I sobbed each take - and was an absolute mess on the way back to the hotel and for about a good hour after.

This time, I told myself I was going to hold it together. The scene my final night on set wasn't as emotional as for the first film - but as soon as they called wrap, I began crying. I mean - this was all happening! Again! I'd never, ever expected this in my wildest dreams but here we were, for a second time! And it was perfect, just like the first time. 

Joey walked away from the cameras and came over to hug me and I just lost it. I wanted to tell Vince how grateful I was and how much all his hard work meant to me but I don't think I managed to say half the things I really wanted to. It was completely overwhelming. Honestly, I think I was still tearful for about an hour after I got back to the hotel. But hey, can you blame me?

Now I know I haven't covered even half the things you guys said you want to hear about in this post, but don't worry: I'll post a few more of these 'special edition' Writing Wednesdays focusing on my visit to set for the sequel, and I'll be sharing some more general travel posts in my other posts in The Twenty-Something Series. 

(And there are plenty of things I can't talk about just yet, so those will have to wait until after the movie's out!)

If there's something in particular you'd like to hear me talk about on my blog, let me know in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever thought about having a cameo in the movie?


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