Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Danger: Props!

Well, just for a laugh. Derek Irwin, Fallen's prop master, will not be able to be on set as he's out of the country when we shoot. So he sourced all the urgent props for the short and gave them to a common friend to give to me. These are: a gun (a BB gun to be precise, a plastic replica, however very realistic), a bunch of envelopes with the NHS logo and that of a fictional legal firm, and a stash of drugs (fake... fake drugs, they are only props). I also had a suitcase with Kieron Jecchinis's costumes as I also needed to do a costume fitting with his body double as his character, at one point in the story, is in the same place in two versions of himself. So there I am, on the way back home, lugging a suitcase with men's clothes and in my handbag a gun and a stash of very realistic looking drugs. As I got into Waterloo station to get my train I saw a couple of cops searching a guy. I swallowed. I moved on. Luckily I look very innocent. If I had been there instead of that guy I would have had this conversation with the fuzz:

Fuzz: We need to frisk you. (well, they probably wouldn't say it like that, but I'm adding some drama)
Me: Sure officer... (wiping brow)
Fuzz: (finding pills) And what have we here?
Me: They are props, fake, I can take one to prove it...
Fuzz: No that'll be alright.. oh... (finding the gun) and what is this?
Me: Sir, another prop, sir...
Fuzz: Is it now? And what have you got in the suitcase? A fake dead body?
Me: No, no. Just clothes.
Fuzz: (opening suitcase) whose clothes are they? Do you lead a double life or something?
Me: No, no, they are props and costumes for a film. Look, let me take a pill (pops down a pill)... See, no effects! I'll show you the gun is just a toy, here, let me load and shoot... (loads, but before shooting she's knocked out by the fuzz who reaches for the handcuffs and then the radio)

Ok, maybe not like that... but that was running through my mind. Not to mention that I had also spent the morning filling clear plastic sachets with icing sugar, to stand for cocaine. Fortunately I didn't have those on me.

It's almost time to rock and roll

Well, these past couple of weeks have literally flown by. What a whirlwind pre-production is!
Despite the usual hiccups, wardrobe malfunctions, location changes, we are in good shape now. Me and the producer Ged Cleugh have been working very hard to get everything and everyone together, we have a fine crew for this ship, which is now ready to sail.
We will be doing some second unit shots on Friday 29 July, then on 30 and 31 all hands on deck for the whole shoot.
I will try to write a little bit about the production and post photos and clips of the behind the scenes.
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


I guess there is no such thing as a smooth shoot. I'm sure there are different degrees of not-quite-smooth, but any filmmaker must have spent at least a night or two lying awake, trying to figure out a way to solve a problem. The history of cinema has countless examples. In fact, I invite you to comment on this post with examples. I'd just start the ball rolling with "Bladerunner."

So, back to my story... due to family and work commitments Gabrielle Reidy, our wonderful actress, would only be available to shoot from the 30 July for a brief period, before going to Croatia and Belfast to shoot a new HBO series about the building of the Titanic. I'm trying to say this with nonchalance, but I'm actually so proud of her I'm bouncing around like tennis ball. Gabrielle is not only one of the two protagonists of "Fallen," but also a great friend of mine and I'm super happy about her new HBO gig. She's a truly amazing actress... watch her and see.

My window of time in which to shoot "Fallen" got a little smaller when I got an email from Kieron Jecchinis saying he would start rehearsals for a new play on 1st August. That means I have 30 and 31 July to make the short. It wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't that we needed 3 days to make it work because Kieron's character has a beard for half of the film and for the second half he's clean shaven. The beard pretty much dictated the shooting logistics. But now I have to do it in 2 days... so... how do I? Well at 1.45am this morning I had my eureka moment and realised I could incorporate the shaving of the beard into the story. Not only that, but I could make that happen at the beginning (both in terms of story's time line and in shooting order) and that would allow us to shoot over 2 days, simplifying the logistics. This with no damage to the story. On the contrary, it actually highlights some time changes which otherwise would have seemed too ambiguous or confusing.

So there we go, first problem solved. In my next post I'll tell you more about wardrobe issues...

Sunday, 10 July 2011

1st AD and DoP

I've just come back home from a chat with the lovely Katherine Shannon, she's on board as my 1st AD. Great stuff.

A few days ago Uncharted Films welcomed on board Stuart Nicholas White as Fallen's DoP. Wonderful DoP and great guy too.

There's a lot of work to be done (detailed storyboard, shots list, props list, breakdown, scheduling), but it's definitely coming together and we are at a good stage. Onward and upwards!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Costumes and a bit of locations

I had a very long day today. Split in 3 parts, me and our costume designer Virginia went first to Camden market for some costume hunting (no joy, it's all changed and the stalls we needed opened at midday! That's silly) then off to Gabrielle Reidy's house to see if she had clothes in her wardrobe that we could use. It went fairly well, she has almost a complete outfit, now we just need shoes and a 3/4 length trenchcoat or duster (and a bag, but that will be easy to get once we find the right shoes). In the 2nd part of the day I went on locations with the producer and the DoP to make sure we were all happy with space, looks and viability. We managed to get permit to use a building next door to the street we are filming in, so that means we have electricity for the lights and use of the loos, which is ace. In the 3rd part of the day, me and Virginia went shopping in Oxford Street. We got some shoes, now I have to see if they fit Gabe. We also got most of the costumes for Kieron Jecchinis's character. Who'd have thought it was so hard to shop for men! Girls are so much easier to dress.

More updates soon...