One man's Mission to simply get through a shoot week...

This is the story of a team of dedicated artists and professionals working together to create something great.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Toilet Humour

What does a Urinal, a kiss and a slap have in common. Answer: They are all in our series of comedy awareness programmes we’re making for US Phone Protection company Asurion. Bloody lovely people to work for. A refreshing change given recent antics.

Like a ball bearing in a pinball machine I bounced across the flashing lights and “chinging” electromagnets of my working life to land (just for a few days) in a slot called Dallas (surprise surprise) where we had set up three consecutive night shoots (like the jetlag wasn’t enough).

Considering the limited pre-pro time we had (thank you for laying the train tracks, Micaiah - deeply impressed) the level of talent we managed to bring to bear on this cool buddy web-series was incredible. Our leads Cody Hinson and Daniel Escudero owned this thing completely, and there were stellar performances (especially from Stalker Ben Mayer and “Kissing Girl” Melissa Odum).

Weird thing this trip were the night shoots. It meant I never got to overlap with my Dallas "family". Strangely lonely as a result. During the day in pore-production and con calls and then an afternoon nap after which the call time rang out at around 6.30pm. The saddest part of an otherwise hilarious trip was my cameraman John and myself trying to get a “wrap” drink in at 2am on Wednesday night in Dallas.

Not a chance. This town is way too "Christian" sometimes I think…

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Dude - where’s my HDSLR?

Yep - still playing catch-up. But I think I deserve a break - this quarter has been the busiest for five years - easily. So

- where were we…

Last week we (as we love to do) crashed two worlds together to make a point for one of our long standing clients. Business and…surf culture? Yes. Funny and incomprehensible at the same time, I was impressed by our mostly American cast and (again) the gorgeous pictures we were getting from the two Canon 60D’s covering the shoot. Yes - it was a complete geekfest with my good friend and ace DoP Steve Trinder. And some nice slo-mo sequences too.

I should also mention also the bloody blinding job turned around in a couple of days by our local Leicester composer Steve Baker. The moment I watched what he’d laid next to the rough edit (rapidly and expertly woven by rock solid editor Richard Leverton) I got one of those lovely magical moments in my job where the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I remember what I’m doing here.

Client seems V. happy (all good news for the future) and reputation in tact we stagger into the next international epic for a shiny new customer based in Nashville, Tennesee. More about that next time…

Monday, 22 November 2010

Days 3 & 4

If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

What crap.

OK so I blew it - a blog every day I said. A record of the shoot week I said. Well I lied. The pace of work AND that certain ginger bearded musical genius friend who supplied the cocktails on the wrap “Dinner” night conspired to lay waste my indefatigable energy and joie de vivre so I was not in any fit state to blog. Suffice to say…

The guys (awesome pic left) went into improv overdrive and as well as shooting what was actually scripted (I have to say this or I might have to apply for refuge status because Ross our editor will kill me for shooting “awesomely-funny-but-totally-uneditable-and-not-what-the-client-signed-off” takes) we had some solid gold moments of comedic genius. And yes - we are going to have to find another hotel to stay in downtown Dallas as they struggle to remove the marks on the flooring…

We were moved on from shooting outside one building because our actor crouched literally 6 inches onto a step outside “their property”. Deserted though it may have been. Of course “Chuck” would have loved to help us out but, like his daddy always took great pains to remind him, rules are rules. Good luck at the gun club Chuck.

Despite Chuck - we found an even better space which belonged to no-one (no-one with security anyhoo) and the new scene was borne. Damn funny. That’s how funny. Diaper filling funny.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Café shoot - Day 1

Today was a great start to our 3 episode shoot. It started with a very cool “imagination” sequence depicting the scene going on is our leading nerd’s head. The scene involving his infatuation with a certain lovely barista named Jen. Fab fun. And sexy as hell…

Great chance to try out the new Canon 60D we took delivery of last week. Very pleased. The capability of shooting 60p is very useful and now I have FCP (inc cinema tools) I was able to confirm the footage on site to check the effect. The guys also created movie magic too - brilliant work under very difficult circumstances thanks to the fact that our location was right next to the local tram system. Good Lord - how many trains???

Special thanks to our crew who kept the quality up even though it got late and tiring and tricky. Tomorrow should be easier (but in this game you never know of course…). Onwards and upwards…

Funny Men

So - in time honoured fashion, we are not allowed to tell you who our client is because it's a security issue. And the films, again, are on the subject of information security so it's not possible to explain who this is there.

Suffice to say, here we are again with bloody funny talent, and this time in my second home, Dallas Texas. Only on this occasion I have brought with me our delightful new Asst. Producer Micaiah, and my buddy DP Steve Trinder, cameraman supremo. So now we have the best team ever. And the funniest scripts since Uberman. And a client to die for. Nuff said.

I'll try to keep the photos and blogs coming this week but it's a massive week for T&S. For now there's a piccy of our rehearsal / last minute spicing up session. These are our leading duo, Steve Walters and Joey Oglesby from L.A. Very funny and great fun. See you in a few...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Not a good look

Every super hero needs a sidekick, and our Uberman is no exception. Riz arrived on day 4 to play Carl (or "Ubercarl) and stepped seamlessly into the cast. This character is the unwilling best friend of our hero, and usually ends up catching the painful end of his office antics. The 'T' shirt is a present from the intergalactic lummox. Fetching....

Again - a great day spent laughing for a living. I should mention our esteemed client, who have been wonderfully supportive, quick to react and a genuine part of the creative process. A very special thank you goes out to Katherine, Pam, Alex, Rob and all of the others who have allowed us to disrupt their day. You are stars now and should start developing a rider list for each and every day at the office (you know, blue M&M's, champagne, M&S prawn sandwiches...). I'm sure your managers will understand - if not - refer them to your agent, of course!

Big day tomorrow with illusions and magic on our effects day.

So close now...can't wait to see all of this great stuff back at the editing suite.

Somewhere that's green...

Day three and still no signs of slowing on the rip roaring comedy juggernaut that is our shoot for...oh wait...I can't say (nearly forgot...;-).

A fun time was had in Basingstoke town centre with two aliens, one of whom you've met, but the other (Princess Quasar) a fitting date for our super hero. Definitely love at first sight - and how could she resist with Uberman turning on the charm in the form of a ukelele ballad.

Rain nearly stopped play - but the team pulled together and we got the shots. Everything is looking amazing, and thanks to Charlotte for fielding completely unexpected improv missiles with aplomb (and huge laughs). Ever danced telepathically...? It's bloody funny to watch.

So - just over half way through and there's enough blooper material to make a feature length movie. This will be one of our greatest projects. I can feel it in me water.

TTFN - more tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Day 2: Poor Peter

Ah - an actors life. Sleeping in til noon, reading the Stage over a cappuccino at a Soho cafe, then perhaps spend the afternoon prepping for an audition. Followed by an evening with poets and artisans putting the world to rights over a bottle of Absinthe.

OR - being tied to a chair for an hour in a server room in Basingstoke. Probably not what Peter signed up for when he agreed to help us with our films. But his commitment to the cause definitely raised the comedy bar on our jolly little production.

Actually - it was another example of how utterly blessed we've been this week, with talent and helpfulness all round. It's quite hard to act when you can't see or speak 0r speak - but his reaction to the somewhat intimidating talents of our leads was pitch perfect.

Even when I tried to show our blindfolded actor what to do before realising he couldn't actually see me...(OK - so it'd felt a long week even on day 2 - give me a break). Definitely a senior moment.

Ah well - onwards and upwards. Anyone got any scissors?

Monday, 12 July 2010

Big Important Shoot Day 1

OK - off to a great start. Always a really good sign when the DoP needed to retake due to laughing causing camera shake. And this guy's seen it all, believe me.

It is really helping that we cast brilliant and talented actors, and happen to have 5 of of our best scripts for as long as I can remember. Sometimes all of the ingredients just seem to come together and this project is on of those. I can't mention the client name, but suffice to say they are a client you'd kill for, so we are thrilled at the prospect of delivering such a 'knock-it-out-of-the-park' campaign.

Fantastic timing and performances, plus lots of absolutely golden improv thanks to our actors Matt Tompkins, from sunny Dallas, and Rhona Croker from London. Crew as ever are on form, like a family gathering once again, Steve T as DoP and Paul Hellard on Sound. The lovely Gillian keeping us in shape and Macaiah ruling the scripts with a rod of iron. There are times when I really cannot believe I make my living doing this - but this is one of them. We'll keep you posted faster than a speeding bullet...or something.