Sunday, 3 May 2009

Splendid: Pilot - Production Diary Part 7.

Weapons Shop, more Sound FX and Police Raid.

Continuing in Elstree studios, we had lots of material to get through. The schedule looked crazy with two full sketches and two studio-based scenes for the sketch we shot on Day three: Sound FX. First up was Weapons Shop by Piers Beckley. This sketch had caused me all sorts of anxiety. I could never quite grasp it like everyone else had in the writers meetings, but it stayed in the pilot schedule regardless, challenging me to work with it. On Day Six I entered the studio with a good nights sleep behind me and felt fresh and full of energy. I started to talk about Weapon Shop with the actor Stephen Evans and it suddenly clicked.
By the time we started rolling I knew we had something special and completely different from the rest.
It called me to approach the sketch in a completely different way from all the rest, with me being interactive with the character standing in front of the camera.
Some of the crew looked at me quizzically as I started shouting at "Norman", the main character, and a few even looked worried.
It was enormous fun, with each take becoming more and more crazy and funnier and funnier. I've never done anything quite like it before, and I'm incredibly excited about it.

After the adrenaline rush of Weapon Shop
we moved on to two scenes that will go at thefront of the Sound FX sketch.

They are both set in the seventies, and after a lot of

fun with costumes and a very loose run thru,
the actors improvised the sketches.

The final sketch of the day caused me a little bit of stress, because out of the all the sketches we were filming this one was my own. It's called Police Raid and I quickly found that whilst I was happy with how we were bringing it to life, I must confess that directing other people's sketches is much more stimulating and rewarding. For some reason it's more liberating as a director to have someone else's work that you can build upon with visual ideas and performance ideas with the actor, but with your own, you feel restricted in some way. Hard to explain, but it did convince me that should the series be commissioned I would not write any more sketches.

After saying all that, I was very happy with the results. The sketch breaks down into three scenes,and the actual 'police raid' itself was hugely fun. We had authentic riot gear and it was high paced, frenetic stuff. Again, very different from everything else we had shot.

It was a brilliant day. probably my favorite, as there was so much invention and improvisation. Within the structure of the scripts we had a lot of scope for ideas and inspiration, so I felt like I had been able to cut loose a little and really have fun.

The next day was our last day of the shooting block, incredible as that seemed. It felt odd. Time had passed so quickly, and yet we had achieved so much.

Our locations for Day 8 were exteriors, and all the forecasts predicted rain all day...

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