Saturday, 27 February 2010

Deja Entendu

I'm driving back from London today, listening illegally to my mp3 player in the car when Josh Rouse starts up and I'm transported, instantly, to Perth Theatre and the first few shows of "Abigail's Party". Extraordinary, to mis-quote Noel Coward, how potent house music is. And how enduring.
Even a run as short as "Beauty Queen" leaves its mark - I can't watch that bloody Thomson holidays ad without the shudder of excitement and apprehension that "Welcome to My World" used to generate over the tannoy. And although I'm never likely to hear the original music from "Midnight" in a shop or restaurant for obvious reasons, a few bars of Jonathan Day's jazzy intro and I feel the lack of a kimono immediately.
What's odder is that I can look at those show posters and souvenirs without a pang - it's just the madeleine of the music which does it. Like visiting, very briefly, someone you were once much better friends with.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Wrap Day

Josh is cooking lunch (even though he's the sound designer), Flo (sound recordist) is reading yet another Viking romance, costume designer Ilishio is repairing 1st AD Raz's jacket. And Amin, Loveday and I are trying to come up with the dialogue for the final scene.
It seems bizarre that the closing seconds are still up in the air, but it's rather consistent with the whole process, this collaborative aspect. The issue of John's redemption or otherwise is resolved in this final scene, and being responsible for the clarity or muddiness of these final moments is a worry, as Amin is inevitably called out to frame up shots with DOP Matt.

As you'll have gathered, it's a busy set. One geezer hanging around that we really don't mind at all is Lucca Messer, who is taking some fabulous stills of the action and of the off-camera moments. He manages to be unobtrusive and yet catch the crucial action beautifully, whilst recording the days in reportage style.
Of course, I have too many fajitas at lunch. Thank God this isn't a two-week shoot. I'd have to get my trousers altered.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Location, location

Mercifully there's been no exteriors on this film - that last thing you would want in February is to be outside in the snow on, say, Worlebury encampment in Weston-Super-Mare. You know who you are...
Instead we've been variously shooting in toilets (better than it sounds), hospital wards and corridors and now, for the domestic scenes, in a very plush converted barn. Very nice.
What's setting this apart from the films I've done lately is that it's actually film. And that makes a big difference.
The stakes are always higher as ideally you work on a ratio of 2:1 or at worst 3:1. Ideally, of course, it should be one take but well, that's the Holy Grail. There's also the incomparable experience of actually hearing money being spent as the film stock runs through the camera, coupled with the audible groans from the crew when a plane goes over or you muff a line.
On the flipside there's an amazing focus that you don't seem to get when you're shooting digital, coupled with all the cool paraphernalia that goes with film, too. Exciting.

The Way I Like It...

...was the original title for the film, and in its first incarnation it was a very different movie indeed. It might have been called "Georgia, Peter, Mrs Perry and ummm, John" for all the impact my character had on the story. But by the time the casting happened it was quite different, and it's had several drafts since. Amin, the writer-director, hasn't been an English speaker all that long but he has a very singular turn of phrase which I really like.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Doctor in the House

It was the holy trinity of castings - a corporate, a theatre job (understudy - boo) and a film. And I got the film. Exit Steve Dineen, unemployed actor and handyman bitch...enter John (surname to be decided), consultant heart specialist, breezy charmer and control freak.
Come to think of it. it's all film at the moment. I've just been sent a script for a completely top secret feature that I'm not even allowed to speak about, or discuss the plot of, or speculate about which names might be in the frame for which part.
Luckily I'm a discreet sort of a chap. Unlike someone I did a sabbatical year with, who was contacted by a certain government department and invited in for a cosy chat with some gentlemen who were known only by their initials. He instantly told all of us about it, of course. Sure enough, next day, he had a second, steelier phone call cancelling the appointment

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Casting Diversions

Last week my agent got me three castings.

I just want to let that sentence hang delightfully in the air for a moment...

My everyday opinion of Andy and Tod is that of one who flings himself under Shiva's juggernaut; on weeks like this, though, I truly wish to immolate myself on their flaming pyres. The death of all three of us would halt my career pretty sharpish, though, so I'll just confine myself to ardent gratitude. Cheers boys.