Making ‘Get Well Soon’ Part 7.

APRIL 2010: Makeup Test, Locking down location.

It was difficult to predict the total budget, as BRAG were managing to procure a lot of services and equipment very much at the last minute for a drastically reduced price. Although BRAG were overseeing the production, Ian and I were in control of the overall spend; we had some difficult decsions to make. The most difficult scenario was posed by location, or rather, the lack thereof.

Almost at the last post, Greg had identified a contact who was happy to move out of his flat for two weekends. The cost to us would be £1200, including time for a camera test and shooting dates. It was certainly the best offer we’d had, and at this late stage, we knew we needed to commit. The flat was great, although the bathroom was rather small. There were some worries about shooting here. Even with the luxury of using a tiny camera, the shoot would be busy; so many people were involved with so much equipment. Additionally, there was no real storage space, plus it was high up in a block of flats. Loading in and out would be difficult.

This was a tense period. Purely in the context of the project, it seemed to me to be a godsend. It was cheaper than anywhere else we had found, plus we seemed to have more flexibility as far as time was concerned – there were no other bookings to contend with because this was somebody’s living space.

Ian felt differently – his perspective was informed by how much he felt this resource should cost, and how much spending this amount of money might skew the overall budget. But after a brief period of heated emails flying back and forth, we all agreed to go ahead with the booking.

Then something unexpected came up. While we were gearing up for the make-up test, Ian was approached by Jack Burnford – the original director for the project. Months previously, Ian had asked whether we might be able to shoot in his home. Understandably, Jack had been worried about this. He knew what this would entail – having your living space taken over for 4, 10 hour camera days, heavy equipment maneuvering past paint work, 20 sets of feet tramping endlessly through your house, etc. However, now he could see we had production backing, Jack volunteered to let us film in his flat in exchange for the opportunity to come back on board as a co-director. His house was perfect. The bathroom was large and had bags of personality. There was an enormous garage for storing all the equipment.

Realistically, it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. Before we knew it, the make-up test and location reconnoitre was diverted to Jack’s house in Barnes. If this had not happened, I doubt we would have been able to finish the film – in hindsight we were very lucky things turned out the way they did.

So – on a bright, fresh day in April, we all turned up at Jack’s house. It was strange to see people who had been email contacts up to this point  now buzzing round the flat; measuring things (actors as well as furniture), checking for reflections, taking photographs, working through make-up and costume changes. In a sense it was all very obvious what needed to take place, but it was a strange psychological departure for me. It was now apparent that all the ideas from the script had been filtered down, broken up into schedules, modules, units of meaning, practical physical directions. It wasn’t just in our heads any more.

In the following days leading up to the shoot, Ian and I joyously tested everyone’s patience by high-balling new script revisions back and forth. Again, very much at the last minute, we ended up with scene list – but due to chaos of trying to finalise our creative ideas, we didn’t have the practical backup – a shot list. While we had a list of the scenes we wanted to film, (we started by doing everything in the bathroom first), the storyboard was still something to give shape to the whole process as opposed to a shot by shot breakdown of what we wanted.

As we geared up for the first weekend of filming, it soon became apparent why this was so important…

APRIL 16: Makeup Test, Location reconnoiter.

By mid April, we had settled on a location. Almost at the last post, Greg had identified a contact who was happy to move out of his flat for two weekends. The photos of the place looked pretty good.

 

The environment was interesting, although the bathroom was rather small. The cost to us would be £1200, including time for a camera test and shooting dates. The location we had was the best that we could get, although it was still far from ideal. Even with the luxury of using a tiny camera, the shoot would be busy; so many people were involved with so much equipment. There was no real storage space, plus it was high up in a block of flats which would have been physically nightmarish for loading and unloading, as well as time consuming. By this point the budget was really getting out of hand, (and we still had no real idea of the costs to come), but we knew we just needed to commit.

 

And then, at the last minute, (the day before the make-up test), Ian was contacted by Jack Burnford, the original director for the project. Ian had asked whether we might be able to shoot in his home months previously, but understandably, Jack had been worried about this. As a director, he knew realistically what this would entail – having your living space taken over for 4, 10 hour camera days, heavy equipment maneuvering past paintwork, 20 sets of feet tramping endlessly through your house.

 

Ian and Jack discussed the predicament – and Jack unexpectedly volunteered to let us film in his flat for nothing in exchange for coming back on board as co-director. It was perfect. The bathroom in his house was large – the bath had bags of personality. There was an enormous garage for storing all the equipment. Before we knew it, the make-up test was diversted to Jack’s house in Barnes.

 

If this had not happened, I doubt we would have been able to finish the film. Having the cost of location totally removed was one thing, but as the shoot progressed, we quickly found herself over the projected budget without the cost of location factored in. In future, I would anticipate that on a low budget, location will hold the same weight as actors before moving ahead with a production schedule. Without money, you need to be calling in favours for locations before you even think about moving ahead with the production schedule.

 

And then – on a bright, fresh day in April,moving from a load of people who had never met temailing each other, to ‘stuff happpening’ peole taking photos, trying makeup,

 

After five or ten minutes, the house was suddenly filled with people measuring things, (actors as well as furniture) checking for reflections, moving stuff about, clambering on furniture and taking photographs. In a sense it was all very obvious what needed to take place, but it was a huge, and strange psychological departure for me.

 

This was the first inkling I had that being a writer on set was quite an unusual thing to happen. At this juncture, it was now apparent that all the ideas from the scrip had been filtered down, broken up into schedules, modules, units of meaning, practical physical directions. As much as I thought the piece was inside my own head, it became totally clear that it was not, that the best thing I could do was sit back and let things happen. For the first time in the whole of the process, it looked like the thing was actually going to happen.

 

In the interim between the makeup test and the first days of shooting, Ian and I joyously tested everyone’s patience by hiballing new script revisions back and forth. Again, very much at the last minute, we ended up with scene list – but due to chaos of trying to finalise our creative ideas, we didn’t have the practical backup – a shotlist. While we had a list of the scenes we wanted to film, (we started by doing everything in the bathroom first), the storyboard was still an admubration – something to give shape to the whole process. It soon became apparent why this was so important. (CAREFUL: NOW)

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One Response to “Making ‘Get Well Soon’ Part 7.”

  1. […] the “Making of” blog posts: – 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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