My shift patterns at work may be about to change again, which would require a fairly major change in the way my life is organised over the next few months. In some ways that might not be too bad an idea, because the work on this year’s Straight 8 has just kicked into overdrive.
Things are a bit different this year. I’m taking a break from the Sick Puppy dynamic and trying something in a Straight 8 stylee with Doco Domsy. This is not me breaking up the band. It’s not even a solo project. It’s trying something drama-based with a friend who I’ve normally only worked with in a documentary dynamic. Changing up, because doing Straight 8 the same way every time is a bit pointless.
The competition has to be about stretching boundaries – of the format, of the stock, of the limitations, of yourself. Otherwise, there’s simply no reason for it. S8 is the most ridiculously constricting manner of making a film that there is. Dogme has nothing on the restrictions of making a Straight 8 film. If Dom hadn’t offered (well, if Dom hadn’t phoned and said “I’ve bought the stock and I need your help”) then I wouldn’t be doing it this year. Straight 8 is flippin’ hard work.
So far so good. We have a script, an idea that I’ve been busting to do as a Straight 8 film for a good few years. We have a decent camera, and Dom knows what he’s doing with it.
The new thing this year has been to put a call out for actors. I thought that it was time to open up the circle of friends that do this every year a little bit. Plus, I was interested to see what the response would be. I was a bit wary, to be honest. The last time we put a call out for technical help on Shooting People, we were let down in the worst way possible (the sorry story of that one, and the film that came out of it, can be found here). I needn’t have worried. Dom put the call out on Wednesday morning. By Friday we’d had 80 responses from interested actors.
The process since then has been to get that 80 down to 1 main part and a tiny supporting role. And it’s been a weird experience. We’ve felt voyeuristic, as we checked out piles of CVs and head shots (and erm, a few more than head shots, if you know what I mean). We’ve felt overwhelmed and humbled (“what on earth does an actor with a CV like that want with our squitty little film?”) And finally, we’ve started to feel that we’re lucky. (“Wow, someone with a CV like that wants to be in our squitty little film!”)
Dom and I spent yesterday in town, meeting our final shortlist. 80 names winnowed down to seven. After that long, strange day, we can say with absolute certainty that we would happily cast any of the actors on that list without a second thought. It has come down to instinct, to the feel that we can work successfully together as a tight-knit team, and that the chosen two would inspire and encourage us on beyond our best.
We have an incredibly good feeling about this, and we shall be putting out two phone calls on Monday. We’re just not sure who we’re going to be calling yet.
(The Starfucker Postscript)
One of our actors invited us to meet her at BAFTA, which we agreed to with barely suppressed squeals of glee. The Member’s Bar is a lovely place to take meetings, darling. Light, airy, and surprisingly reasonable. I recommend the cheeseburgers. Plus, as we left, we bumped into Tim Burton. Which kind of puts a fizz on the day, donchathink?