Sunday, 17 June 2012

Getting Closer...?

Caron, who plays Sabrina

So, how to start this post without seeming to whinge again? I can't tell you about the one cast member who couldn't make the date for a very important scene, which resulted in it having to be postponed for a full month because there was a different problem every subsequent week. I can't tell you about the second readthrough that was all over the place because we didn't have enough people. I can't tell you about the two-week silence from the provider of our most important location, despite my repeated entreaties for info. I can't possibly even mention that the one night I was supposed to skip down the block to check out another location was the night the occupant managed to get herself locked in, with a lock so badly damaged that help had to be sent to get her out...

No, I won't mention any of that. I won't even say that we had a decent amount of work lined up to do today, recording voiceover and interviewees, and that it virtually all got shelved because of a sore throat. I won't even speculate about the possibility of considering mentioning the fact that my original target for completing the filming is less than two weeks hence and we've shot about five minutes' worth...

No, I am here to celebrate. A friend said: 'Write about the wonder of filmmaking'. I'm assuming by wonder he meant wondering whether the thing will ever get into gear...

Talia with Lana, who plays Peanut

No, enough of that. Good things. We have a Faith! Ok, I stupidly forgot to take any photos because of aforementioned shambolic nature of the readthrough, but we have excellent actress Jessica Laity-Jones on board, fresh from triumph in Doctor Faustus in the Brighton fringe. In the meantime, content yourselves with the picture of Talia with Lana Harper, conveniently showing the upper and lower extremes of height among the main cast. Lana's readthrough went extremely well; despite having been busy moving she obviously grasped Peanut's character at once. I only await news of her availability on 29th June to see if we can go frolicking in the country for a few hours... (Er, that's the whole crew, not me and Lana...)

Anyway, the sole single solitary bit of filming we managed today was the short interview sequence with Kelsey Cameron, a pint-sized veritable embodiment of pure frolicksomeness. Despite not having acted for over a year and feeling nervous, she was just fine.

Kelsey, uncharacteristically still

And what awaits us in the week ahead? Actually, not very much. More interviewees on Thursday, but nothing else confirmed as yet. A location visit with the cast, I hope! Perhaps one end of a few phone conversations; perhaps even the other end, too. Hard to plan when your leading lady is ill!

I was supposed to write about wonder. But what can you say? It slips through your fingers - it defies definition. Kelsey will appear to interact with Talia even though she was looking at nothing, and somehow, with editing, in that and other scenes the shots, sound and acting will coalesce into some representation of a human experience, something that will perhaps make people laugh, or at least smile, and maybe even shed a tear. And they may finish the film having glimpsed corners of the human heart that they don't often visit.

That's where the wonder resides, for me - not specifically in filmmaking, but in storytelling; in bringing to life human beings who have no reality and making people care for them and want to see how their life will turn out. As Stephen King put it - telling us the truth about ourselves by telling lies about people who never existed. That's what it's all about, in the end - not budget or production values or even ideas. It's about people, and about empathy and compassion. It's about getting closer - to others and to aspects of ourselves.

Note: The title of this blog is in tribute to Paul McCartney, who reaches 70 in just five hours, and whose song of the same name I used to shape a tribute to him.

p.s. One utterly invaluable lesson I have learned from this post; don't try to write while cooking, or you may end up with soggy pasta...

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