It's not that nothing's been happening. Rather the opposite.
My leading lady has moved back to London after completing her final scenes in the nick of time, including the scene that we tried to shoot on the very first day of filming and have been trying to schedule ever since, the climactic encounter with the busker, played by Jo Maultby.
Another crucial scene is (mostly) in the can, but not without several crises on the way; the date for the Literary Ladies had been set six weeks in advance, and principal cast members all managed to keep it clear, and I found four guest players to fill the small but vital roles of the ladies...and then one of them had to pull out due to illness four days before we were due to shoot. So, scrambled around, found a replacement...and then two days before the shoot discovered that an absolutely vital member of the cast was severely allergic to cats (of which there were two in the location we were using). By sheer luck the flat of one of guest performers was suitable and available, so after a couple of days of panic, it all seemed set.
And then on the day itself, less than two hours before lift-off, another vital member of the cast texted me to say she had aggravated her back injury (already responsible for one cancelled shoot) and quite literally couldn't move. In vain I pleaded that all she had to do was sit and speak in the scene - she was not risking further injury, which was fair enough. But what were we to do?
There was no way I would get that cast together again, so I did the only thing I could - I shot around the absence.
Literary Ladies and one interloping male; clockwise from left - Thomas, Christabel, Tessa, Sascha, Sharon, Philippa
It meant no really wide shots, which was a pain; the hole left by Caron/Sabrina was variously filled by Thomas Everchild, the ever-reliable Sophie, and even the director for the readthrough.
The talented Chris Andrew was on hand again, mostly to operate the boom, but he found time to play the role of 'Ninjacam' and take a few photos that nobody noticed him getting:
A shame there wasn't time for him to take individual portraits of the ladies - as it is, I turn up in far too many of the shots.
There is more - much more - to tell about the last three weeks, but that seems quite enough for now...
One thing I will add; the weather was like nothing I've ever seen. Relying as usual on natural light (if we had even tried a lighting set up we would have run out of time before we had even half the shots done), I watched the sun go in and come out about once every two minutes. I have several clips which have thumbnails looking completely different at the beginning and end of the clip on the timeline.
I may dedicate this film to the British Summer of 2012...as a sort of propitiation.
It may help for next time.
Oh, and that's another thing - a very scary thing. Despite it all, despite the never-ending hassles and the ongoing stress and the very clear memory of what this has cost me along the way in shredded nerves, I am already thinking about 'next time'...