Monday, October 11, 2010

Killer Women and Free Kittens

If the old saying 'no rest for the wicked' carries any weight, I must be a very naughty boy indeed - because this weekend saw me - or, rather, The Locomotive - back on duty at a film shoot!

The film was a short feature for Jacques magazine - and the first step was a run-through in Brooklyn - going through the practicalities of each planned scene before we went on location to film it. This was important, because sometimes the vision of creative filmmakers conflict with practicalities (like how can the evil killer hang out of the rear window of The Locomotive if the rear window doesn't go down?)

We found a way...

The run through also requires a few substitutions - in this scene, our evil villainess will be bearing down on our heroine, ready to break her head open like a ripe watermelon. However, nobody had a baseball bat on hand, so she had to practice her swing with a slightly less intimidating snow brush.

Once practicalities had been sorted (and somebody had bought a baseball bat) we headed out bright and early to the location of our shoot - a dusty strip of road in the middle of wheat-fields - not unlike where Cary Grant was almost chopped into fish bait by the blades of a crop-duster in North by Northwest.

Five minutes of screen time takes many hours - and many people - to set up and film. We were there sun-up to sun-down.

I've been on a few film shoots now, but they still never fail to amaze me. What we take for granted on our cinema or television screens actually involves an incredible amount of thought, work and vision by the creative and technical people behind the scenes. A few seconds of onscreen action can take a dozen takes or more.

But all the hard work paid off - in more ways than one.

In addition to the buzz of knowing you've got some great footage in the can, our location filming ended on a high note when two half-starved kittens came wandering out of the wheat fields to bother us for food. You could tell by the dirt around their noses that they'd been out and alone for a while - digging up worms and grubs. However, their prospects soon looked up as there were no shortage of crew members willing to adopt them!

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