Thursday, 30 April 2009

Splendid: Pilot - Production Diary Part 3.

'Sound Effects & Strange House Part 2'

We arrived at the farm location for day three and immediately people were blown away by the beauty before us.
Gorgeous landscapes and colours and the sky was an uninterrupted blue.
As we set up for our first shots you could feel everyone smiling. Maybe it was the sun and the sheer joy of being surrounded by such liberating countryside, but it also felt good to be doing something fun.

Our first shot was potentially the most difficult of the entire shoot and was a dangerous stunt that Richard Glover was going to perform himself.
Because of budget limitations we only had one shot at this stunt, so it had to be right.
We rehearsed and rehearsed to get the timing and the action just right and then we could put it off no longer.
The fake glass was brought out of the van and everyone held their breath as I shouted action.

SMASH! A roar of approval rang out when the shot was done and everyone shook hands and grinned like children. It was the perfect start to the day and gave everyone exactly the right lift to begin a long day of shooting.
We pressed on with Sarah Morgan's brilliant 'Sound Effects' sketch, with Richard Glover delivering a wonderful quirky performance that had everyone giggling. Not only that, Rich Swingle made it all look gorgeous and atmospheric.
our only problem that day was we were shooting in a barn and there were sheep giving birth behind us! However, given how silly and surreal our sketches were it all seemed very natural.

Later that day, we moved into a sea of yellow...

Strange House Part 2 is probably the most surreal and beautiful thing we shot
during our time making the Splendid pilot. It's a very abstract piece, but hopefully funny too!
It was hard work for everyone moving a load of blue furniture props into the middle of a field, so if it only features briefly in the shot may I request no-one kills me?
I must admit, watching Philip and Suzie painting a television, coffee table and other assorted furniture bright blue made me feel very strange. Had I finally lost the plot?

We packed down that day feeling we had accomplished some amazing footage and had a lot of laughs too.
Sitting around the farm listening to the actors playing their ukulele's, and seeing the crew enjoying the sun made me wish that it could go on forever.
It's hard work, of course, but sometimes it can also be perfectly lovely too.

I think, I found throughout the shoot, that the biggest thrill I got as a director was to improvise on the day and incorporate elements on the hoof.
On day 3 I clapped eyes on a fire engine and managed to construct an entire sequence for a sketch completely on the fly.
As we raced around the farm yard with the fire engine and its crew grinning like kids, I felt good....


Phill Barron said...

Did you paint the fire engine blue?

Dan Turner said...

Phil. I think I may have missed a trick!

*hangs head in shame*