God’s own light: My second weekend as co-producer+ on Out of Hours

I’m handing over the blog for the next couple of posts to the mighty Stuart Wright, co-writer, producer and man of many talents on short film Out Of Hours. The second weekend of shooting on location at a Central London office block saw a smaller crew, and a bigger challenge. There was plenty of footage still to get. How would our brave crew cope? Stu fills us in after the jump…

(as ever, please be mindful of the SPOILER ALERT)

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Your correspondent (not pictured: pastries)

Day 3 of the Out of Hours shoot gave God the chance to shine on the skeleton cast and crew that turned up for half a days work. Keith Eyles, with his acting head on, was here to nail the anguish of his character, shamed businessman Mr. Lapin.

Clive Ashenden (director), Simon Aitken (cameras/photography), Virginia Popova (make up) and me (anything they’d let me do) were there to help make that happen.

To be honest the shoot started the day before, frantically darting in and out of mountaineering shops for a safety harness. Never in my entire life have I been so out of my comfort zone buying a bit of kit where we both spoke the same language. I asked if there were instructions with them.

Cotswold sales assistant: “They assume you already know how to use one.”

Me (thinking about demonstrating to everyone): “Oh dear.”

Thankfully the guys in Cotswolds were really helpful and even allowed me to film them fixing the harness to me. (something for the blooper reel! – R)

A cloudy, quiet start to the day gifted us the perfect opportunity for Simon and Clive to quickly grab the exterior shots of our central London office building, inna guerrilla stylee. Meanwhile Keith, Virginia and I tucked into the hot tea and pain au chocolat to kill time while they were away. Well I did. Virginia was busy adding the older than his 35 years make up to Keith’s face … she was done in seconds.

Dressed in his grey Pierre Cardin suit, pale blue shirt and tortoise shell rimmed glasses, Keith looked every bit the tortured executive Clive and I had pictured when we co-wrote the character. In the board room he waited, but the Blackberry never rang or received a text. The worry grew for Mr Lapin on today’s shoot – culminating with a trip to the ninth floor–the roof. Suicide? Maybe!

Yes folks, we were going high production values for our no-budget short – punching well above our Smart Price Asda catering budget. We were making the most of the added production value that a rooftop sequence would add to the film. Hence the need for a safety harness … safety first, fun later on my sets.

While we waited on God to sprinkle a little more magic over the vistas of North, South, East and West London I demo’d the mountaineering kit. By golly the crew got it first time. Smart bunch. All the while the clouds broke up and blue sky, peppered with toy town clouds, gathered around us…

God smiled on us on Saturday. Simon, Clive and Keith climbed to the heady heights of the ninth floor roof – safely guided by a £35 bit of strapping around their backside and d-clip to the bannister. Boy, was it worth it.

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The terrific trio

Standing behind his digital SLR, Simon laughed when Keith lamented it would’ve been great to be able to get a photo of themselves to illustrate such glorious good luck with the weather conditions, all banked on one morning’s light.

Keith’s Mr Lapin played off well against the BT Tower and London Eye. Pretty soon he was hot footing it back down to office level where we did our final insert for the day.

Behind the camera with the rest of us he donned his 1st AD hat for the bullet propelled diet coke can insert. It’s all in the tug of the fishing wire, as Virginia so expertly displayed.

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"Hang on, fellas. I've got a great idea..."

Clive and I were body doubles for our baddies Dee and Dum … well our feet and ankles were at the very least. The machine washable black slacks courtesy of George at Asda held up well for the illusion.

And that was a wrap on Day 3 of the Out of Hours film shoot. A pint of lager was our reward for such good behaviour and efficient/effective filmmaking.

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Cut. print. BEER.

Coming up: day 4, in which the full consequences of “doing a Rob” are explored…

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Rob

Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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