The title is based on the temperature in which my filmmaking burned. More of that later so let me start at the beginning.
I decided to direct a short film so I can push to achieve two things. Develop my writing, have material I can edit with and eventually have something I can show to the movers and shakers. In actual fact my Cameraman friend convinced me I could do it and his encouragement pushed me to give it a try.
Initially I found the setting up daunting as I have never had to produce/ direct but you know what? It was initially easier than I thought. My cameraman friend showed me a suitable location in Fitzrovia, which was perfect. Next was permission to shoot on that location. I went to the Film London website and to my amazement they say “as long as you are not causing an obstruction you don’t need permission to shoot”. For added security you can pay 25-75 quid and have a notice to shoot in case a concerned passer by walks by and wants to be a pain in the ass. The note is not enforceable by the way, just an act of legitimacy so I didn’t bother getting it. Public Liability Insurance (PLI). Need to get one in case a person dies on set but where do I get one? I am a member of BECTU (a British union dealing in Post Production) and automatically I have PLI. Surprisingly sorted!
My cameraman/ friend supplied the kit so next up is actors and sound crew. Ads put out in castingcallpro and mandy.com got me connected to the people I needed. All on board and ready to meet up in Fitzrovia for the shoot day. That is where the easy part ended.
As the shoot date loomed I thought I was prepared, I had a fair idea of what I wanted and rehearsed with the actors before the shoot. The weather said sunny but that was only the bright spot (sort of). It was 8 degrees and bitingly cold (hence the title). One actor turned up in a blazer shirt and tie (in keeping with the character) and would suffer the consequences later.
I set up the first scene and expected the actors to run through the whole 10 minutes, which was a big mistake as it was asking a lot. Where was the logic in my head where we break it up into short pages and make it easier for the actors? The actors kept flubbing their lines due to the short rehearsal window I had. This isn’t theatre where you have weeks of run through. The shot list I had in my head (the worst place to store such information!) was falling apart so I had and a lot of improvising had to happen.
The weather really started to bite and slow down momentum. Three hours in and I did 4 pages out of 10… oops. Break for lunch and hope we shoot the rest. After lunch it started to rain even though the 2 respected weather sites said it was sunny (liars!) so the rest of the shoot was sheltering until the light rain stopped and continue until it came back. Never have I looked at the sky for two reasons in my life and don’t get me started on how I was going to get around the continuity. At one point I blurted out that it was my Lost in La Mancha moment, which got a chuckle.
By 3pm the cold just bit the actors who were unable to say the lines properly due to the intense cold I just rushed to get the lines said in extreme close up so I had *something * to cut with. I was line reading them just so I could get all the words filmed and don’t know as of this post whether it cuts together.
Thank god I am editing it because if I had to present these rushes I would have gotten a disheartening response in terms of what I can use. At least I can squirrel away and get something out there and get inventive!