Saturday, 2 June 2012

Words and Music

Louise, Talia and Miranda

So, we had our readthrough. Do I really need to tell anyone that it didn't go according to plan - that I had two cancellations, one of them only ten minutes before the time we were due to start? And that the same actress (through no fault of her own) had to cancel again the very next day when I tried to organise a follow up? That, in addition, the local hardware shop was unable despite numerous attempts to offer me any solution to my sound equipment problems? That the alternative equipment I borrowed to see whether I might purchase it played up in the same inexplicable fashion?

Didn't think so.

But I come to bury seizures, not to raise them. On the whole, overall, taking everything into consideration, comparatively speaking, looking at the whole picture, things have gone quite well the last three days.

Talia paces out the 'action' - the word should not be taken to mean anything particularly physical is going to occur...

With in fact only three of my principal cast, and one willing stand-in, I had no initial hope that we could work through the whole script, but with a little encouragement from the performers, that's what we did.

Every screenwriter/director probably knows how this feels, the first time around; you're lucky if you hear 35% of the lines in the way you think they should be said. Of course you know it's only the first time, you know it's just to hear the whole thing through, but with one of the performers reading the script completely cold and using this occasion to decide whether she wants to take part, you slowly crumple inside...

However, performers are obviously used to seeing beyond the fumbles of a first reading, since Miranda was happy to sign up once we'd finished. I was also reassured to see that the others were obviously aware of their missteps along the way (which is NOT to imply that my reading of the lines is the only viable one!). Having felt that the script clunked and clanked instead of skipping nimbly along, it was more than a relief to hear Miranda declare that it seemed good, and natural, and not forced.

Due to the unavailability of Amy - playing one of the three principals - for the first half of June, it turned out the easiest thing to shoot first was almost the very end of the film. The climactic scene, in fact; the turning point. So for two consecutive (but not whole) days, I've worked with Talia on the dialogue. Delivery here will be absolutely crucial, especially as her co-star in the scene, the busker played by the extraordinarily talented Jo Maultby doesn't speak a word in reply.
Jo Maultby provides musical counterpoint to Talia's speech

There seemed endless little niggles about the inflection of certain lines, but Talia was patient with my inability to explain precisely what I meant, and we made a lot of progress. For a brief period it seemed the curse of clashing schedules was rearing its head again as we found it impossible to settle on a day for the actual shoot, but eventually we found a day worth trying. Both Jo and Talia are very flexible, so if we fail, all is not lost.

The joy to be derived from having more footage in the can, however, would be a most welcome sensation...

As would a complete cast. I still await a reply from one actress regarding a crucial role, and there have been ominous silences from two others I've recently contacted.

And I still have to line up about twenty female interviewees.

Oh, did I mention that everyone in the film is a woman?

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