Soul Searcher: November 18th 2003

Snatched from the jaws of disaster was last night. At one point in the evening it looked like the Mustang wouldn’t come because it wasn’t insured whilst it was in transit on the flatbed, we wouldn’t have a sound recordist despite it being a dialogue heavy scene….. Anyway, we got to location, the front car park of Hum-Ming Gardens Chinese takeaway, and started setting up the lights. “Right, I need these lanterns on,” I said, waving directorialy at the nice red lanterns that adorn the building’s frontage, and had been the whole reason why it was selected as a location.

“Er, do we have access to inside?” says Edd.

“We’re running power from inside, aren’t we?” asks Neil, now slightly worried.

“No, we have a generator,” says Edd, also getting worried.

“That’s for the other scene,” says Neil.

“Ah,” says Edd.

“Oh dear,” says Neil. “But didn’t someone call the owner to confirm we were coming?”

“It says ‘all sorted’ on the locations list,” says Edd. And it did, you know. Back in pre-production the Chinese takeaway had been one of many locations which I’d wound up sorting out, but although I got permission from them I’d never confirmed a date with them. My copy of the locations list made that clear. Edd’s copy had a crucial sentence missing from it. The only person who could possibly have removed it is me, though when and why I have no idea. Guess I’m just a complete tit.

“Right,” thinks Neil (still directorialy, but also a bit panickedly), “we have no sound recordist, I’m not entirely convinced we have the car, the lights that made this location so attractive can’t be switched on, we might get turfed off any minute because we don’t actually have permission and there’s a bloody great van parked right where the actors need to stand. I think we’d better call off….”

And at that very moment a Chinese couple happened by. (Oooh, I’ve always wanted to use “happen” as a verb.) In what, with hindsight, was an extremely rascist jump to conclusion, I asked them if they were anything to do with the takeaway. By some miracle they were. “We’ll get the manager for you,” they said helpfully and went a-knocking on a door just down the road. Presently the manager arrived and I politely explained my balls-up and asked if we could film on his property until midnight, switch on his lanterns and run power out of his kitchen. Being of saintly extraction (I must presume) he cheerfully obliged.

Within five minutes, Edd and Vic had located the owner of the errant van and got it moved, the Mustang had arrived on the flatbed and a student of sound recording from the local college had turned up (later joined by a friend). It was like all the bad luck we’ve had so far had been swiftly paid back.

The scene itself went very well. We had to do a lot of takes because of the traffic noise from the nearby main road, but the performances were compelling and the actors managed to keep the energy up right through to the last angle.

At about midnight we moved just down the road to do a short scene outside the Texaco garage featuring Simon “I was Joe in the original Soul Searcher, I AM HIM” Dovey as a Darth Maul-esque demon (nice one, Becky) and Nick “lead SAS guy in The Beacon” Russell as a random passer-by. Lighting it was a pain in the ass due to the fact that we couldn’t put lights on the forecourt, but finally got it done, headed back to the house for a brief production meeting, then went to bed.

I got up at 9am today in order to start storyboarding the nightclub scene, which we’ve finally confirmed a location for, but it’s now almost 11:30 and I’ve so far managed to find many other things to do instead – ordering bulbs, writing cheques, getting films developed… er, writing this extremely long journal entry. Bollocks, must go storyboard. Bye.

EDD: This is Edd here, Neil is now sitting and watching the rushes from last night and laughing at Ray’s comedy west country accident. From my AD/Producer type view point the production meeting we had last night was very helpfull, getting everyones responsibilities sorted and who’s phoning who, recently because we have had so much to do the lines have become blurred. Oopps should go Neil’s threatening to fire everyone again. Oh, and thanks to Joe Potts for his message of luck.

Soul Searcher: November 18th 2003