Monday, 4 May 2009

Splendid: Pilot - Production Diary Part 8.

Explorers & Wizard

From the moment we all set off at 7am to the location, the black clouds rolled about menacingly in the sky.
I had been monitoring the forecast and it looked grim. Rain all day.
We were filming at the RSPB sanctuary in Bedfordshire, inside a quarry that looked like something from a far away country, with imposing orange rocky hills and unusual and exotic foliage. It was very evocative, and perfect for our

Although the rain was not a problem for the sketch, as it was set in a jungle type of location, the rain slowed us down to a crawl, in terms of filming. We had to wait under umbrellas and grab what we could when the weather brightened for a few moments. Even with that limitation, we still managed to get a lot done, and by the time we resumed in the afternoon, we were in great shape, and the sky had cleared too!

Lunchtime will be largely remembered as walking through the cafe of the RSPB with Richard and Eric, dressed as tribesman.
Mouths dropped open and people stared as we queued up in the cafe for our lunch.

We pressed on, after lunch, with a difficult special effect to achieve, and once again Ja
mie Bishop delivered. It is both ridiculous and brilliant!

Explorers will stand out from the rest of the sketches because of its scope and sheer audacity in what we achieved. You'll see what I mean...

As we wrapped that sketch, and prepared for Wizard, it started to dawn on everyone that this was the last sketch. Number sixteen!

As the evening began drawing in, we filmed at our cave location, and worked hard to achieve a real atmospheric medieval style sketch.
Richard Swingle the DP was grinning as he looked thru the viewfinder, and I knew he'd pulled it off. It looked amazing. Wizard had been lifted off the page into
something really special. A combination of rigorous rehearsals with the actors and Rich's great lighting, together with Jamie's art design. It all gelled to make a real knock-out sketch. In a way it was a symbol of everyting the 8-day shoot had been about.

When we wrapped for the last time, it was an amazing feeling. Johnny "Caution" Harrison, who had produced the pilot alongside me, stood there looking up at me, grinning from ear to ear like a proud uncle, and the cast and crew looked a mixture of happiness at what we had achieved and sadness that it was over. For now...

As the pilot for Splendid enters post-production, I can pause to reflect on one of the best shoots I have ever been on in my life.
As with any project like this, there are the inevitable moments of crisis and drama, but overall this shoot was happy and fun.
Everyone worked really hard, and got on incredibly well.

I think the thing that excited me most about this shoot was putting together a team of some of the most talented people I have ever worked with, and watching them push themselves to the very limit of their creativity.

Thank you...

The Writers:
Jason Arnopp, Piers Beckley, Sarah Morgan.

The Performers:
Richard David Glover, Hayley Jayne Standing, Rea Donovan, Stephen Evans and Eric Lampaert

The Crew:
Richard Swingle - DOP
Mark Sneddon - Focus Puller
Dill Truelove - Camera Assist
Jamie Bishop - Art Director
Sophie Shelton - Sound
Suzie Irlam - Production Co-ordinator
Louise Harris - Production Assistant
Philip Higgs - Runner
Siobhan Furlong, Michelle Court and Michelle Webb - make-up
Marianne Mercer - Costumier
Celina Cadore - Production Admin
John Harrison - Producer
Elstree Props

Splendid is a unique project, because it is inspired by the way shows like Monty Python came about.
A group of people who want to express themselves creatively.
No egos. No talk of demographics or platforms.
Just pure unfiltered creativity.
Richard David Glover and I set out to make a show that was built on a democracy of laughs. An approach derived from the sixties and seventies, where programme makers were concerned primarily with the material and nothing else.
From the writers to the performers to the technicians and now on to the post production team.
Splendid is about a collaboration of talent that wants to make you laugh. No agendas, no hidden meanings.
If we get to make a series, I can promise we will carry on this spirit, and do our best to be very silly indeed.


Philip said...

That made me well up Dan! I know from talking to everyone that Splendid became our family and eventho it was only for 8/9 days, it felt like longer but in a great way.
Thinking about what we did and even just looking at the pictures still makes me laugh in public like a mad man.
Thanks Mr Turner.

Dan said...

"Laughing like a mad man" is a requisite of Splendid!

Keep in touch!

David Lemon said...

Congratulations, Sir. Great to hear the shoot went well- and the silliness on the page made it to the screen!