Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'd like to thank...

It's 6pm on Sunday and I just got out of bed.

It's been a long time since I engaged in anything as stressful as the Monsters shoot and I needed to go back to bed when I got in this afternoon - though probably not as much as our Director who got 1 hour's sleep due to his day job keeping him up all night.

It's difficult to know where to start - let's face it if I did a shot by shot rendition of the weekend we'd be here all night. So let's try for some high points and low points.

Saturday I arrived on location with the Daughter and three of her friends. (Director and Producer had been there the night before prepping the rooms we were using.) We were very early because I didn't figure the times very well. Then Anna the Make-up, arrived, and slowly the rest appeared. Everybody except the DoP and all the equipment.

Unfortunately they were coming up from Birmingham and couldn't find the location. We lost an hour. Not an auspicious start.

But after that things started to move and the first shots of the first scene were set-up, as I watched the first time my words were committed to screen. Gosh. I can't say I was excited but it was gratifying.

The first shots involved only two cast then we added a few extras for other shots, and then the classroom was filled and I withdrew - it was hot and difficult to find anywhere to sit out of the way.

The classroom scene dragged (from my viewpoint) through the morning. Then we moved to the locker scene which was handled in double-quick time. We caught up a good chunk of the missing hour.

Lunch and most of the classroom speaking parts and extras went home. The kids (if I can call them that, they were all 16+) were really good, even the completely inexperienced ones that we'd given critical speaking parts to because they were so natural. And the teacher too, who had been suitably menacing and highly unpleasant. Perfect.

The DoP had lovely equipment. Which included a cheap, quick set-up dolly system that allowed the Director some additional shots he hadn't been expecting to get.

After lunch was the classroom interview scene featuring four adults plus the young lead (played by the Daughter). It went well and, as scheduled, took the rest of the afternoon. However, even with additional dolly shots, we still finished only about 15 minutes late.

A good day's shoot.

Well, on Sunday we arrived early again. Even though it was the right time. I'd forgotten my mobile and, as a result, didn't get the message that the Director had been up all night because he'd got a call from his day job and had to work. We'd been re-scheduled to start at 12 noon, then re-re-scheduled to start at 10. The Director appeared around 11 after one hour's sleep.

This was also my next big moment - we had forgotten to cast anyone as a Reporter, with two lines, yours truly got the job. So if you see it you'll see me in Real Color Action.

We were no longer inside but shooting in the loading bay around the back of a leisure centre (all permissions had been acquired by our excellent and professional Producer). Despite the late start it was very relaxed because we were only expecting to be there a few hours.

It all went swimmingly except for the sun which was shining very brightly and forced strange measures when shooting inside the car from various angles. We finally wrapped about 2:30pm.

So now we have to get the damn thing edited. We have four weeks.

Strange but true: the Daughter had appeared as a "featured extra" (no dialogue but extreme close-up) at a shoot for Jimmy McGovern's "The Street" in the very same school we were shooting in.

What's on the turntable? "Incident at Neshabur" by Santana from "Viva Santana" (courtesy of Spotify)

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