Stu Wright is here again to give us the lowdown on the final day of filming on Out Of Hours, the short film he’s co-written with Leading Man Clive. There’s a ton left to do. Blood and other fluids will be spilt…
(Oh, and hey, watch your feet. There are SPOILERS about, and you don’t want to get them on your shoes…)
Day 4 of the Out of Hours shoot was the most prepared I’ve been. That’s not saying a lot about my film making skills, but speaks volumes for the real momentum I sensed from the rest of the cast and crew. We all had to fight our way on a radically reduced Sunday public transport service to meet the 8am call time. There was no way that the tube replacement bus from Leyton to Stratford; or the disappearance of the train to Liverpool St tube; or the trip around the houses on the Jubilee line to Green Park; or the 11 minute wait between tubes on the Victoria line was going to stop me making it.
Eventually I arrived and was greeted by smiles and waves from my director-cum-co-producer/writer Clive with his cousin Adele in McDonalds outside Warren St tube. I watched with envy as she finished off her protein/fat enriched breakie – Tempted, but strong, I raced over to Sainsburys to get some pre-production goods I’d forgotten… DAMN! They’re closed until midday.
Returning defeated with a newly installed weakened will I quickly opted for the sausage mcmuffin breakfast and black coffee. Using my lanyard of ‘POWER’ I got us into the building and our makeshift production office, booted up the computer and soon we were joined by cameraman/DoP Simon. The seductive, yet plainly greasy odor, of a McDs breakfast was too much for most on the crew and as others arrived they resisted my chocolate chip brioche/pain au chocolat spread and bolted out of the door for more flattened sausage fair.
Oh yeah … Day 4 of the shoot. We had our Alice (aka Maria Thomas) on set first and her partner Keith was all about the behind the camera action today as 1st AD, pointing and pushing us all to get to the end of filming at 8pm per the call sheet… fingers crossed.
Eyes down for the first few shots of the day – Alice entering/exiting the office. Impeccably performed and beautifully shot. Like a lot of the process, it has shed a whole new light on an office I have worked in for over ten years. The angles, action and natural light really show off the building in a cinematic way like I never imagined was possible. Here I learnt the art of the soft stick* and end slating** … well I was told what to do and I followed clear instructions. But I grew as a person – honest.
Next Henry arrived. While he was in make up – powdering his face and slicking back his locks – Alice was off down to the basement for some chase shots and inserts.
I snuck out to get some food colouring from Sainsburys – they don’t sell any at the Tottenham Court Rd branch. Naively I bought some cordial and to her credit Virginia didn’t laugh me out of town as I saw how water based it was vs real food colouring. Doh! Growing as a person… continuous improvement is the key.
I was soon back in the thick of it. My new found experience and enthusiasm was put to good use. As Alice repeatedly knocked over a discarded take away cup of cold tea, I duly tidied up ready for takes 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7… ha! We nailed it. Leaping into the unknown while the rest of the crew discussed the next shot I was in like flint and mopped up the spilt tea. Admiring my work the crew stepped out of their conflab ready to shoot Henry’s feet by the pool of tea Alice had left… NO!
Clive: “What’ve you done that for?”
I looked across…Gutted. No answer.
So began a game of photographing stills from my laptop screen of the rushes to get a pool of tea/location of the lid continuity shot that somehow resembled what Alice had left behind.
Right now I was learning the art of more haste and less speed, look before you leap and wait until you are told the set is finished with – like I already said, I grew as a person. (Clive told me that the art of leaping in and tidying up before the crew are done with the mess is now called “doing a Rob”. For the explanation, have a look at my blog for day 1 of the shoot. – R)
Thankfully there was no real harm done and it was soon mended. I retired back to the safety of transferring files from memory card to computer and external hard drive.
Lunchtime. Everyone decanted to the Indian across the road for some spicy delights while I located some dark red food colouring from Tesco’s on Goodge St. I didn’t completely miss out. I got a take away lunch box of chicken biryani to pick up on my way back from the shops. Mmmm.
The temptation to listen to the Carling Cup Final throbbing in my head – I resisted. Well it was nowhere near 4pm either. Spurs were winning 2-0 so all is well for Liverpool. Later I had a chance to check the scores and a massacre had occurred. Arsenal had fought back and knocked in a further 3 to win 5-2. I shan’t bore you film people with much more sport, but Liverpool did eventually win, on penalties. In the meantime, Ben Shockley joined the fun in the car park. The great partnership between Henry and Ben was evident throughout as they acted off each other like tag team baddies prowling after their prey. We eventually broke at 6:30pm for more scran and a deep breath before the final bloody scenes/inserts could be filmed.
It had been a solid afternoon’s filming of the cat and mouse scenes. In my head it had expanded a fairly large underground car park into a labyrinth that Alice could lose herself in and Dee and Dum might trap her in at any second. Amazing trickery of the eye and Simon’s camera skills captured our actors at the top of their game.
With Keith’s 1st AD voice rattling in Clive’s ear and around the set, the shoot never lost momentum for a second. Simon, Virginia and Adele had stayed in the cold car park prepping for the finale while we all cosied ourselves upstairs in the office.
BANG! Let the gore and death scene inserts/close ups begin. Boom we got it. Boom we got another. Shots were captured with rapid regularity. Judging by the smiles of the crew and the emotions pouring out of the cast, it was with a great deal of success too. Red, gooey golden syrup infused fake blood flowed and before we knew it, Out of Hours was in the can.
A wash and brush up later, and we were basking in the afterglow of our little filmic triumph. A pint and a bit of self-congratulatory chit chat soon develops into what do we might do next… exciting times. I’m sure our director was able to enjoy a pint too but now he has the editing job stretched out in front of him.
Thanks to all the cast and crew for their hard work, patience and good humour on the shoot. I certainly grew as a person as a result of the experience. Out of hours… Over and out!
(Me again. Just wanted to say thanks again to Stu for the blog posts this week. Splendid work from a genuinely lovely guy. The man knows his pastries, and is the proud owner of one of the finest moustaches in Christendom. A pleasure working with you, sir!)
*Soft stick – using a clapperboard on a close up in a way that doesn’t deafen the actor. Gently does it…
**End slate/end board – clapping at the end of a shot rather than the beginning. Handy when you’re shooting in a hurry, or if you can’t squeeze the clapperboy into shot easily.