Sunday, 28 June 2009

The Soft Places

It really seems I'm neither here nor there right now with my projects. Maybe I just need a really good block of time to try and get some bits done and dusted as much as possible.

The good news front is that I went to see one of the actresses for the recast role in Stranded on Friday night - she was very good and really nice too. I'm hopefully seeing the other woman who's up for the role this week, which means I should be able to have made a decision by the end of the week and try to finalise a shooting day in August. I really cannot wait to have this film all shot.

Other projects seem up in the air - a few weeks ago I threw myself into doing some grading and effects work on my feature film, Gettin' Some. The main thing I was doing was fudging a depth of field look to some of the footage to try and make it look a touch more cinematic as opposed to nasty video. I've had some degree of success and it doesn't look too bad. With my sound designer friend up for doing the sound mix, it seemed there was a good reason to focus on getting this done especially as I'm going to focus on releasing the film in monthly episodes.

However, this depth of field effect was quickly becoming a massive amount of work for not particularly accurate results. Ryan, who is doing the digital squibs etc on Goodnight, Halloween suggested I should use the program Combustion to do the depth of field effects. So I ordered a book from Amazon, which looks potentially pretty daunting, with a view to doing the effects with this software. But now I need to find the time to go through the book and learn the package...maybe doing that instead of writing this blog would be a help,,,

But the other project which has reared its head is The Reprise. This is the next feature length project that I want to make and I'm hoping to try and raise some cash to help make it. My friend and fellow film maker Gus is keen to help make it and raise the money, but of course everything is waiting on me finishing the script...which I hadn't worked on since February, despite me originally telling him that a first draft would be done by the end of March.

So I've gone back to that in the last week and it's been a real struggle. Usually my scripts flow pretty effortlessly, but this one seems to be a real struggle. Maybe that's a good sign. Maybe it's also a very bad sign. I'm really not too happy with what I'm writing, but persevering as I know it's the first draft and just have to get past the psychological block of this first draft to really start honing it. I know some changes I want to make for the second draft, it's just getting to that stage.

I'm currently at around 50 pages, so potentially only another 40 to go. Not sure its a good idea that I'm counting down the pages. That can't be a good sign, can it?

So I'm stuck in these soft places, with nothing much concrete happening on anything, a bit of this and a bit of that. Not great, really...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Giant Steps

Well, maybe not, but some positive news today - went to meet Ryan, who is doing the digital effects on Goodnight, Halloween and he thinks it should only take him a day or two to do the digital blood effects and other little things that I need for the news cast footage. For the final sequence we still need to shoot, he's advising getting the actor to where a green skull cap with motion capture crosses on it, as Ryan is thinking of doing a full CGI malformed pumpkin head for Conal, which sounds amazing and far beyond anything I thought we would have for the film.

And John, who salvaged the sound from The Crunch and has been a great sound recordist on the Stranded shoot, has agreed to do some work on Gettin' Some, which is just such great news - he's local and I trust him to get the job done.

Who knows, maybe the feature film will be complete this year after all!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Mistakes have to be made: The making of Past. Present. Future.

Past. Present. Future. was the third film I made after leaving college. It isn't available to see online, for reasons outlined below...

Unsurprisingly, casting on 5 Times For was still not moving on so that project remained stillborn...and the night footage for Date was still nowhere on the horizon. Perhaps I should have taken the hint, but at this stage I was determined not to let all that work go to waste.

Instead, I continued to keep myself busy, and wrote Past. Present. Future. a very (too?) personal rumination of where I was in my “tortured” 19 year old life. This time, Juliet saw sense and turned down the chance to play the female lead of Connie. As I recall her reason at the time was that she felt it was too similar to the other films. I thought this was a ridiculous
excuse as I couldn’t see any similarities. Of course, its only now in hindsight that I see what Juliet was probably really thinking - she’s been in two of my films and still yet to see a bloody frame, so I’m obviously pissing her about...Christ, I think I would have even turned myself down!

I think Mark loved the script, although by now me could have easily been doing them just the time he was partial to the dark side and lived in “the horror house” with 3 goths in Sneinton. Cat was inexpicably the girlfriend of the donkey dicked dipshit stink bag self
proclaimed leader of the house and Mark suggested that she would be ideal to play Connie, plus, as they were already quite good friends, that warmth would easily show on camera. Er....

It seems absurd now, but I’m pretty sure we shot the entire film in a day. An early start from me ensured I was sat in my car outside the horror house waiting for Mark to be inevitably late, then round to pick Cat up who was still late despite us already running behind.

When we picked Cat up I couldn’t help but keep glancing at her in the rear view mirror as she did her make up (late and still not bloody ready!) There was something odd about her when she got in the car that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and now as she sat on the back seat I
was trying to figure it out - then the penny dropped ...

She really did have no, or very little eyebrow hair and really had to paint them on. This was a real shock to myself and Mark, as we’d only ever seen her in full Goth style make up.

First port of call was yet again Sutton-in-Ashfield, home town of myself and Mark, to film on the park where I used to play as a kid. Filming seemed to be running smoothly enough and with the addition of a specific piece of tailored graffiti on the climbing frame platform we
were away. I’d wanted to get an early start on the day, in particular for this scene so what happened wouldn’t happen, but as we were late, it inevitably did happen. Two kids on bikes (why weren’t they at bloody school?) showed up and disrupted the shoot, creating noise and mayhem. They wanted to know what we were doing and I realised the only way to deal with little shits like this was some good old fashioned bribery.

We told the kids we were shooting the new Star Wars film and that Cat was playing Princess Leia. The climbing frame/slide construction we were filming on and all the background would be turned into a spaceship with computer graphics. (OH GEORGE, THE IRONY!)

We told the kids that if they let us film and then came back in two hours we would put them in the film. They left us alone to quickly wrap in this location and bog off before they came back. I sometimes wonder if they got beat up by other kids at school when they told them they’d just seen people making the new Star Wars film...

Naturally, the next location would have its own problems. We went to the cemetery in Sutton adjacent to St Mary’s Church, the location we used in Date. In my typical naive way I didn’t get permission to film there, we just rolled up and started filming. I didn’t mean any disrespect and it’s not as if we were pissing and fornicating on gravestones, but now I can see how us being there could be seen as contentious. The cross we filmed in front of was an actual cross, though there was no name on or around the marker (maybe it was for someone who had no money or family for a burial, or perhaps it was a temporary marker.)

As we were shooting the scene in front of the cross this huge woman straight out of Tom and Jerry (”THOMAASSSSSSS!”) came over and started shouting at us for being disrespectful (not that the marker was anything to do with this woman.)

Cat suddenly whipped out a feisty firey side to herself which we’d never seen and gave as good as she got - the woman had said not only were we being disrespectful, but so was the way that Cat was dressed (implying she looked like a whore or something.) Cat took one look at
this woman in her huge bright yellow shell suit bottoms and bright purple top and suggested that it was SHE who was dressed disrespectfully. I can’t remember what happened next - I think the woman went to report us to someone or something - so we quickly finished the
scene, scuttled back to the trusty Luth Mobile and drove over to Bulwell, where we finished the next scene undisturbed in a church yard there. (This must have been the point in the day where our friend Jim joined us to help with the shoot, as there are stills of all three of us which he must have taken...though he can’t remember being there, and Mark and I can't remember him being there, but he is on one of the production stills, looking through the camera.)

The rest of the film was shot back at the house on Commercial Road in Bulwell where I was stil living - this would prove to be a very frustrating afternoon.

Cat had already been struggling to remember some of the undigestable lines of dialogue in the previous scenes, but during the lounge scene she hit a brick wall. The sequence had to be broken down into a series of piecemeal shots - I think at one point I may have even fed her the lines to repeat back. Some shots where the camera is looking at Mark the audio is Cat simply reading aloud directly from the script...and it shows. I’m pretty sure this approach continued into the evening, where we shot the bedroom sequence in my housemate/landlord/friend’s bedroom (stand up Paul Harrison) and then the final scene in his little study/office. We
must have wrapped around midnight, maybe around 1 in the morning, I really can’t remember.

Bar the scenes where Cat’s dialogue and performance had to be constructed line by line the editing of the film was relatively smooth - I’m guessing a day again, but it might have been two days, with some additional bits added during half a day to (Mono)(Tone)(Drone) - the
extra pub ambience, the titles etc. Once again the film was edited at the remarkably friendly and welcoming Intermedia (I never tire of being sarcastic of that place and its staff.)

Titles were once again created courtesy of my dodgy titling disc and filming the television, although I went with white at the end for a change.

Although I knew using copyrighted music would scupper my chances of showing the film at any of the short film nights around Nottingham, I wanted to use music from the Manic Street Preachers, as they meant so much to me at the time, and the film was so personal to me. The
repetiton of the line “More and more junk” was achieved through the wonderful lo fi use of two tape decks...

Out of all the films I made after leaving college, this is the biggest turkey and the one I like
least. I usually end up shouting SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP at the screen when I’m watching it. As with Date, boy did I need an editor or someone to slap me down and tell me to stop labouring a point past all need. At the time the sentiments were ones I was genuinely feeling (I had tried to get in touch with some childhood friends and was wondering if these scripts
were repeating themselves...damn, maybe Juliet WAS being honest!) but I’m not sure if catharsis through cinema was the best approach for exorcising these demons.

Plus, and possibly the most staggering stumbling block to this whole sorry farago, is that I can’t believe I was having some sort of mid life and artistic crisis at the age of 19, for god’s sake...

This film, like (Mono)(Tone)(Drone), was reviewed in the same issue of A Bag Of Sand and received a scathing review, in particular the dialogue. Steve Lawson noticed some dialogue lift from Goldeneye, which I hadn’t even realised at the time, and reads into the film far too much,
seeing the opening as a passage from the book Mark is writing - I wish this interpretation were true!

For me, there are a few redeeming features = that is my grandma (dad’s mum) in the pre-titles sequence actually describing photos of my family to Mark (hence Mark saying “Brown eyed Murle”, our Van Morrison inspired nickname for my dad, well, his name is Murle, so its barely a nickname...) I’m just glad I’ve got her captured on film, but not in a horrible family video camera way. I also think there’s some great shots in this film, some really nice compositions...the stills in the stills section seem to look really good.

So maybe that’s the answer - turn down the sound and treat the film as a series of stills. It should play a whole lot better.

Funnily enough, in an odd post script, I'd been thinking about the film recently and wondered if I could re-edit the film just enough to remove some of the more excruciating lines of dialogue and performance aspects...maybe a project for a rainy day (as if I don't have enough to do!)

In the meantime: The making of (Mono)(Tone)(Drone)

(Mono)(Tone)(Drone) is the second film I made after leaving college. You can watch it here

Despite “Date” grinding to an inglorious halt until I managed to film the final sequence I stil held high hopes for continuing work on the other storylines in the “5 Times For” anthology. However, casting was still proving to be elusive which ensured I couldn’t continue...this problem was hampered no end by Tim’s decision not to play Martin In I was really bac k to square one (okay, one and a bit - I still had Mark raring to go in Fall Out.)

Determined to keep going with any project, I quickly wrote (Mono)(Tone)(Drone) which was blatantly inspired by Mark’s then often blase attitude towards in a piece of brilliant casting, he pretty much got to play himself (I still can’t tell how much he is acting!)

Juliet came on board to play the lead the female role , which seems incredible in retrospect. She hadn’t seen a frame of “Date” and here I was asking her to star in another film!

I wanted to try and create a world within these films where characters and lives crossed over, despite being in different films. In (Mono)(Tone) (Drone), Mark’s character Tony is and Juliet’s character is confusingly supposed to be the same Alison as in the 5 Times For episodes Bitch and Fall Out. I think this world I wanted to create was a direct influence from Quentin Tarantino and comics I loved at the time.

We quickly shot the film in one morning, again in the Newmarket Inn pub before and just after they opened, hence the very realistic looking patrons drinking in the background. Once again the sound was awful as I was still only using the camera microphone. This really shoudn’t
have been any surprise to me - the opening shot of Juliet was filmed at the far end of the pub, so its no wonder I had to dub this line with audio from a later shot taken much closer. Background noise was also a problem - jump cuts in the background sound meant I had to add an extra layer of pub ambience to cover the joins, muddying the sound to the mess you hear today.

The internal dialogue shots were all done on Super 8 which at least added a different look to the film.

We recorded the over dub dialogue for these Super 8 moments directly into the camera as we sat in my (t)rusty Fiat Uno in the Newmarket car park.

The crapy titles were made using a piece of video titling software I’d pirated from Ilkeston College when I was on my course at West Notts College. As I couldn’t output directly from my knackered Amiga computer to video I had to film the titles running on my shitty little TV,
hence the monterous blur and shimmy you get, pretty much making them unreadable.

Out of all the films on this disc, (Mono)(Tone)(Drone) is still one I like the most. Despite its technical shortcomings, it has a certain charm and some ridiculous rule book out the window camera shots (Point of view from inside a cigarette packet!?!) Juliet’s “apocalyptic rant from
left to right” (as I called it) wasn’t quite as furious as I had hoped but the film was shot and edited as I intended. (Again, it was edited at Intermedia and I probably had it done and dusted in a day easily)

It’s one of the few films of mine that ever got a showing beyond my lounge - (Mono)(Tone)(Drone) was shown at one of the Trampolene film and arts nights at The Maze.
It also got a favourable review in “A Bag Of Sand”, a fanzine dedicated to no budget film making which I contributed to.

(Mono)(Tone)(Drone) has the auspicious prize of being one of the few of my films that I can watch without at some point wanting to shout at the television, which is high praise indeed!

Actors must be like buses...

Within the space of 24 hours last week, I'd been in touch with two actresses for the recasting I need to do in Stranded, which was a great surprise.

Neither of them had come from any advertisements I'd posted - the first came via Debbie (my friend and make up artist on Stranded) and her friend, the second came from my actor Courtney.

Its going to be a couple of weeks or so before I've had chance to meet them both and get them to read for me, but fingers crossed this means I can get the last bit of the shooting done in July.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

5 Times For A Beginning: The Making Of "Date"

I put a compilation dvd together a year or so ago of all the films I made after leaving college but before I embarked on making my no budget feature "Gettin' Some."

This is the essay I wrote about "Date", the first film I made since leaving college which you can watch HERE

The summer of 1995 was a big change for me - in the space of a few months I’d failed to get into university to do a degree in film making, left college and gone on to work full time at Selectadisc and moved out for the first time in my life. I was thrust bitterly in to the real world (I still moan about not getting into uni, though half of it is down to me being a picky bugger) and as a depressive 18 year old had to endure the recognised “Selectadisc school of hard knocks” (it made me the man I am today etc) All of these life changing events helped shape my first project since leaving college - “Five Times For.”

“5 Times For” was planned to be an anthology film of 5 different stories “Bitch” would introduce the 3 main characters Martin, Steven and Alison as they sit around the dinner table and bitch about their working lives in general. Then each of these characters would star in their individual story - “Date” followed Martin’s agonised preparations for a date with a girl, “Party” showed Steven at a house party, “Fall Out” followed Alison as she recalls the abrasive argument she has had with her boyfriend and where she could have taken control and lead the debate. Finally “...” was a Goddard inspired play with film conventions which also took
inspiration from a dream like story entitled “To Kill A...” from the Love And Rockets comic books.

Around this time I was spending a ridiculous amount of time in the Broadway cinema’s cafe bar. A typical day off in the week would have been spent in the cafe bar writing and taking advantage of their unlimited coffee refill offer. My friend Mark would join me (usually
turning up late), drink plenty of coffee too then we’d both go off around the city centre zinging from the caffeine and laughing uncontrollably. (And dying to pee.)

There seemed to be a real buzz in the Broadway cafe bar back then, no doubt thanks to the creative people who were working for Intermedia, the production resource house behind the cinema. I don’t really remember how I became friends with them, but I was taken under the wing of several of these regulars - Chris Cooke, Tim Cunningham, Steven Schiel, Louise the projectionist and Matthew (erm...who’s surname I’ve forgotten, and terribly I always used to get him and Steven mixed up.)

When I look back on this it seems remarkable that they gave me the time of day - I’m sure they were all at least 5 years older than me - but apparently didn’t seem to mind this naive 19 year
old hanging out with them, talking film ideas and dreams.

I finished the 5 scripts for “5 Times For” but actors were proving elusive. I’m sure I put some posters up around town (definitely sure there was one up in the Old Angel pub and the sandwich bar where I went every dinner) but it was hardly the greatest high profile campaign.

Mark had agreed to play the boyfriend in “Fall Out” (a role he is still waiting to play apparently - he’d soon change his mind if he read the script now) and Tim came on board to play Martin,
but as I couldn’t find players for Steven and Alison I decided to get the ball rolling and film Date. I just had to find an actress. At the time Juliet Brain was a barmaid at the Broadway cafe bar. In an ironic twist, she was actually my inspiration for the girl that Martin was infatuated with, as I was at the time. So in an art imitating life aspect I asked Juliet if she would be interested in acting in a film (what a line!) I’m pretty sure it became her debut film role, but after that she ended up appearing in several other films made by those cafe bar regulars.

I recall a particular meeting with her to discuss the film which ironically was as painful as some of the scenes from the film - Juliet seemed more interested in doing a crossword...

Its difficult to remember the order we shot the film in - I’m sure we concentrated on the first half of the film, which featured just Tim. In a ridiculously stupid illogical way of making a film, we shot in a variety of locations many miles apart. The bedroom scenes and the shot of Tim underneath the hanging plant were all shot in the house in Bulwell I was living at. However, the shot in a lounge was shot in my parents house all the way back in Sutton-In-Ashfield (about 15 miles away), as was some of the final montage footage and the tape smashing. The florist scene
was also shot in Sutton, as were the church scenes.

Although you can barely see him, Mark appeared in the background of the main church shot with blood on his hands and dripping from behind his sunglasses. Chris, who was also helping
to crew the film quickly distracted an eye patch wearing church clerk so she wouldn’t spot the potentially offensive stigmata. I still can’t remember how we got permission to film in there.

The scene with Tim reading the paper was shot on the top of some stone stairs on the Forest recreation ground. In a further act of stupidity, the video shop exterior was on Commercial
Road in Bulwell, but I’m sure we shot the interiors in a different video shop on Mansfield Road around Carrington - again, about ten miles away from the exterior!

Mark had recently worked on a large mural and logo designs for That Cafe Bar (previously known as Truffles, now known as Bar De Nada) on Broad Street and had become friends with the owners. Through this connection we found our location for the first part of the date.
We must have filmed the scenes on a bank holiday Monday, as That Cafe Bar didn’t open Sundays, and insanely we filmed as they were open for business. Due to my lack of confidence and the fact they were trading I didn’t ask to have the music turned off or at least turned down, which would plague the dialogue shot here. (All the sound was recorded using the camera microphone on my Hi-8 camera)

Mark and Chris appeared as grinning members of the public who were supposed to be smirking at him as it looked like he had been stood up.

On a different day (you can see its wet) we went across the road to the Newmarket Inn (at the time a major after work haunt for the Selectadisc crowd.) Once again the dialogue was plagued by background noise, plus my insistence that the 5 main parts of dialogue would only be shot as 5 individual tracking shots, perfectly timed so that we would track past Tim and Juliet for the
same amount of time it took to deliver the lines. This created no end of hassle, not helped by the fact we were filming in the way of the entrance to the gents (as, like the previous scene, the pub was naturally open for business)

The final street scene was shot after this out on Broad Street. Tim and Juliet were understandably frazzled by this point and you can see where they both have to look over to the right of frame, where I’m holding the lines up for them to glance at.

And then following this...a big nothing. I still needed to get some night time footage for the final montage and it wouldn’t be until a year or so later that I would actually film it. My friend
Jim and I went out at 4 in the morning to film the empty city. A police car intrigued by our strange behaviour never seemed to be far behind.

I did edit the rest of the film together up to the final street scene but the film has remained frustratingly unfinished until now.

I did try to come up with different ways to tackle the bad sound in the scenes with Tim and Juliet - at one point I had their dialogue translated in to French, with a view of dubbing the cafe bar scene into French and subtitling it! The dialogue in the pub would have been reduced down to a quick montage of aspects of the tracking shots, with some text joyfully ecplaining what they talked about. None of this was ever implemented.

And now here I am, ten years later, finally finishing the film.

Luckily I still had my original script with all my shooting notes, along with tape logs and paper edits of how I envisaged the final montage. With these notes I’ve been able to finally edit
the concluding montage. Due to some corruption of my S-VHS master tape I’ve had to re-edit part of the farewell street scene.

I’m pleased that this is as close to what it would have been ten years ago, pretentious Joseph Conrad quote included.

My main problem with the film in retrospect is that it desperately needed an editor and script editor to cut the whaffle from the film. I was so precious about every word at the time that everything HAD to go in the film, and the opening half drags as a result of this. I feel a bit sheepish about how strongly it wears its heart on its sleeve too...Sequences such as the montage in the cafe bar and the video shop don’t seem to work and Juliet’s cooling off
towards Tim once they reach the pub seems to make no sense.

I still think the performances seem pretty strong - Tim seems to play the part very well and Juliet worked well too (so much so that I would ask her to work on countless other films after
this, even when I was over my infatuation with her!)

I’m also a big fan of the variety of shots and locations in the film - watch the film on fast forward and it seems to have a real life, energy and movement to it.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Don't Enjoy The Silence


Despite my best efforts to recast in time for filming this weekend, it just hasn't happened.

I blitzed the free casting websites, Shooting People and emailed most of the amateur dramatics societies around the south coast. And the amazing response I had back from all of this?

One person spamming me regarding equipment hire and one actress spamming me, knowing she isn't suitable for the role, but would I keep her CV on file for future productions?

Its probably not surprising - I guess most actresses would have looked at it and realised a week or so isn't enough time to learn the lines properly and get the character sorted, so I'm guessing the urgency has put people off. I do also think there's a bit of a vanity thing when it comes to actors and actresses though - perhaps they think their playing age is wildly off, that they can still pass for early 30s when they're easily looking late 40s. With this in mind, its probable that most don't want to think they're at an age where they can easily play a pensioner.

I did have this a little bit when originally casting "Stranded" - there are 3 female roles, a teenager, her late 30s/ early 40s mother and the pensioner. I had a lot of people contact me for the film, though several never stated which role they thought they were suitable for, or would like to be considered for and I'd have an awful lot of women in their late 20s/ early 30s which just didn't fit any role. Perhaps they were spamming me in a way and hoping for the best, but going through CVs and collating the information can be a time consuming process.

A slight bit of good news though - Debbie, my friend and regular make up artist, has found a pensioner who does am dram, named Pat. I spoke to her last night and she seems very keen. She's out of action for a few weeks, so we'll get together afterwards and see if she's suitable. I'll re-advetise the role in the meantime as I'd rather have too much than too little choice.

Judging by the weather and reports in the news yesterday that the Glastonbury festival is going to be "hit by a monsoon" its probably for the best that I won't be filming in June though!

Monday, 1 June 2009

A Brief Visit To The Trenches

Last week was a strange one and typical of the struggles I seem to have making films.

We filmed on Saturday, though a few weeks previously I had no idea what was happening with the film. One of my actors seemed unable, or unwilling to commit to a filming date, which was leaving me stressed and confused. Communication with the actor seemed temperamental, which didn't help and I was worrying whether the actor had a commitment issue.

In fact, I was convinced the actor had a commitment issue and decided to try and call the actor's bluff. Several days later the actor got in touch, which was weird, as I really thought the actor wouldn't and in my head I'd already been trying to figure out a plan of how I could still use the footage that had been shot with the actor.

Ironically, following this I chased up another actor for the shoot which has been scheduled for mid June for over 6 weeks, but who was worryingly not responding to my emails, my texts nor to my phone calls. I managed to collar the actor, who told me that they would no longer be able to do the proposed filming date in June due to paid work they were being offered, which was fair enough, that it was hopefully long term work with the play touring, which was disappointing but couldn't be helped, and as such they were pulling out of the film. I was fine with this reasoning, but then the actor had to go and say "I think my juices have ran dry for your film anyway."

It didn't come as a surprise, in a way. The actor had been cast since September 2007 and we'd yet to shoot a single thing with the actor. The actor had been privy to the scheduling nightmare that I'd had with this film, which part of me feels is necessary, as I think its only polite to keep people in the loop with what's going on, but at the same time it was probably detrimental to the actor's confidence and enthusiasm for the film. I guess there's a fine line between too little and too much information and I've yet to grasp it.

So, thinking I'd lost one actor, I'd in fact lost another. I've got less than two weeks to recast the role, sort out the costume and hope the actor can learn the lines in time - realistically, I've got about a week. I've posted a bulletin on the usual suspects websites and emailed as many amateur dramatics societies as I could around the region. Fingers crossed it gets sorted.

The shoot on Saturday was a touch worrying and stressful - the usual transport issues with people getting to the location, which suggests even more that I shouldn't work with people beyond the region unless they have their own transport and then, as we were filming in a public place during a wonderful day, we had to constantly stop for people to go by, or for their noise to quieten down. I was expecting some disruption, but not as much as we had to put up with. What shouldn't have taken that long naturally did. I really should reconsider changing that ironic Faster Productions mantle.

Its always good to see my regular crew all catching up every time we get together to film. I can see I'm working with a really good bunch of people who I can trust.

I woke Sunday morning aching all over. Not from a particularly physically gruelling shoot, but probably more from an accumulation of tension that has finally dissipated now this shoot is over with. Anthony, the d.o.p, contacted me to say the footage looked great. What I could see from the viewfinder looked really lush.

So in less than two weeks this film will either be completely in the can, or I'll be chasing another filming date. The next shoot will be odd as we're having to "shemp" the actor we've just shot with this weekend - hopefully my good friend Mark may be free to fill the role - and the shots I've figured out in my head should mean we can get away with the shemp. I hope.