It’s a wrap! A look back on the past few days of shooting…
Georgia’s Angel, my latest short film, wrapped Sunday afternoon after an intense couple of days filming at various locations around Yorkshire. Blimey – how tired is everybody today? I’ve spoken to a few of the crew and we’re all equally knackered but I’m looking through the rushes now and the footage is immense. Here’s a look back the last few days and some pictures. Thanks to Nigel MacInaney for the still photos.
Manic day – into Sheffield Independent Film first thing to pick up some lighting and then back home to tidying off a little bit of paperwork that’s needed for this evening. I arranged the hire of a Red Rock M2 depth of field adaptor and a selection of Canon and Nikon lenses, though we’ll probably only use the 35mm and 50mm. The drive down to Birmingham to pick them up was pleasant enough although made longer by the speed limits between jcts 21 and 28. We hired the adaptor from Stewart Addison at Panny Hire for a reasonable rate. Only drawback is he has to have it back Sunday as he’s off to Venice on Tuesday for a shoot and is taking it with him.
Back into Sheffield late on to pick up an Inverness Jacket for Wayne Russell from Molly Limpet’s Theatrical hire on Chesterfield Road in Woodseats. The traffic was a nightmare. Took me longer to go 400 yards in Woodseats than it did to get to Woodseats from Rotherham.
Then to pick up some tape stock and Sophie Platts, the lead actress. I’m driving Sophie straight from her home to the location in West Yorkshire. For some reason she has roughly 50, 000 bags with her. Of course, she insists all of these are essential. Tissues, medicines, sweets, chocolates, Red Bull, Lucozade, a kitchen sink, clothes, gloves. I fear at first that I may need a bigger car but she manages to squeeze everything into the Tardis-like dimensions of my Audi TT and we set off, with me extra careful over the speedbumps in case the extra baggage causes the back end to scuff.
We arrive at Oakworth railway station at about half past nine and I have to say the location is awesomely impressive, more so as it is dark and the station master has lit the oil lamps on the platform and has set two roaring coal fires going in the ticket office and Ladies’ Waiting Room. Holli Wain, make-up artist is here as are the rest of the crew – Dave Walker (sound); Liam Sanderson (DoP), Rob Yeomans (producer), Wayne Russell (who plays Clarence) and Liam Senior (who plays a dark, unnamed shadowy figure). We are without a continuity runner as I’ve been let down at the very last minute.
After an hour setting up lighting and the camera we’re good to go and start filming. Things progress well and everyone does their bit, in spite of the intense cold (minus 3). Wayne Russell gives his usual polished performance. Sophie Platts is amazing, a revelation on camera. The rehearsals earlier in the week have teased out some nice subtleties in the characters actions, mannerisms, dialects. Liam Senior waits patiently for his brief stint of shooting and then performs with genuine sinister menace. His position on set is a pain to light but Liam manages it. Rob gets frustrated as time presses on – we have lots of shots to do and are running out of time. Eventually we make it to the end of the shot list and able to de-rig and pack up and go home.
Sophie and I clambered back into the Audi and … it won’t start. The engine dies and makes no sound. In the rear-view mirror I can see everyone pulling away. Fortunately the station masters are on hand to jump start the car and we set off. Sophie dozes, I drive and the sun rises on another day. It feels like Sunday but it is actually a Saturday morning when I drop her off home and then head for my own bed, having been up 24 hours and driven nearly 400 miles in that time.
Three hours sleep. The call sheet has arrived but there are changes to be made, locations to be added. I plan to go and get the location details, add them to an updated sheet, re-issue it and then grab an hour or two sleep this afternoon. It doesn’t quite work out like that. Everyone else seems to be in bed but I’m wired and having had little sleep since Thursday night ratty and arsey with my wife and daughter. Best to shut the studio door and keep away from them! They seem quite happy with that. I notice I’m not eating very much either, but I don’t feel hungry. The intent on making this is driving, driving, driving me with a force I’ve never quite known. call sheets re-issued and I speak to one or two of the parents of the boys who are joining the cast tonight. They seem quite excited. Then I crash for half an hour or so. I wake up to a Sheffield Wednesday home victory – I should’ve gone today but didn’t have the time.
Off to pick up Sophie and her baggae train again. We arrive on location pretty much on time, an industrial estate on the edge of Rotherham. Liam Sanderson has concerns about the lighting but we supplement the ambient lighting of the streetlights with our own. After some street shots our extras arrive – 3 young boys from Wickersley who have agreed to play what is described in the script as “chavvy lads”. With a bit of direction from me they manage to pull off a convincing performance!
Some of the shots tonight call for a bit of risk and winging our luck. We pull them off though – in fact the footage from the shot taken on the bus looks really cool. Holli Wain pulls out the stops with make up too – we needed two specific looks for Georgia this evening and she got both of them nailed.
We get ahead of the schedule and take a break in Burger King to warm up and think about what’s next. Freezing cold, this evening, much more than last night. There is a thick frost everywhere and the sky is crystal clear. The police cruise by during filming to make sure we’re not robbing the industrial units we’re filming next to. They were very amiable and interested.
Sunday, final day of filming and unusual to see the cast and crew in daylight. Liam jokes that we looked better in the dark! Sophie brings less bags this morning. My car groans a sigh of relief. She has a cold coming on – we all do, thanks to the icy conditions last night.
First shot of the day is in a cemetery. Wayne Russell looks very appropriate in his Inverness jacket, walking amongst the headstones. Sophie and I are wondering how best to play this scene. It’s emotional, and difficult for her, a situation she’s not been in. I give her some direction and Wayne offers some advice. I’m happy for her to bring what she can and then we’ll tweak it as necessary in subsequent re-take. It only takes three takes, all subtly different. We are there an hour and then move on before relatives of the dead start to turn up to tend to the memorials.
Next up is a shot in a play park with a younger child. I’m not too happy with this set up. It’s quick and easy to do but it doesn’t look right. Out of everything I think this is the only pick up I think I’ll need to do.
The final shots are all taken inside, in the warmth of a residential home on a nearby estate. Again, Holli is on fire with the make-up and Sophie has no trouble doing a difficult shot that would have made less professional actresses uncomfortable. I have some ideas that we try out and they improve the original vision for the scene. Time for the final shot comes – it’s a bit more celebratory than some of the things we’ve filmed today and last night and it goes well. With the cut we wrap and there is a clap and a cheer. Nigel MacInaney, who has joined us for the final day, takes some crew and individual shots and we de-rig, clear up and clear out.
A strange calm falls on me and a certain sadness too. I have really enjoyed the company of everyone involved in this production over the past three days and those I’ve worked with in the past few weeks. I feel as well that I’ve discovered someone in Sophie Platts, who could have a great future ahead of her if she chooses to continue acting. She’s indicated she might change the direction of her education and continue to follow a career in performance. I’m reminded of a line from my film – “Make the right choice, Georgia”.
I hope she does.