Friday, 20 May 2011

All pork and no action

If you listen very carefully, you just might be able to hear the sound of one of those wheels coming off.

The exhaustive winning streak had to end eventually, and today finally brought us one of those production set-backs. This morning our school location fell through.

This had seemed like a done deal, but at the eleventh hour our Location Release contract terms and the length of the shoot were just too much for the school to accept. The contract is based on the standard template from the Guerilla Film-Makers Handbook, and is open to discussion; however there’s not so much we can do about the amount of time it takes to make a movie. And so that was that.

But the weird thing is that the bad news almost came as a relief. Finally we have a definite answer, albeit not the one we were hoping for.

The whole business of film production moves so fast, and the worst thing is the not knowing something. We celebrate the “yeses”, we move on the “nos”, but the “maybes” just stall the process. At that point you are ceding control over the project time-line to someone else, who may not be all about the zombies. On a high-budget movie everybody gets paid, and it’s much more of a business transaction; on a low-budget shoot like ours you rely on love and passion to bring it to the screen.

We adapt and we overcome. And if we’ve learned one thing from Watergate it’s to always have a back-up plan.

When despondency threatens to set in, you need to send in the heavy hitters, and today was ultimately made splendid by the fruits of some of Jake’s earlier tarting. The working week ended with a visit to the constituency surgery of Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne (lib), who clearly has better things to worry about at the moment than chatting to a couple of local film-makers.

And the man was the absolute sweetest of all fellows. I suppose that it’s difficult to convince thousands of people to leave their warm houses and put a cross next to your name if you’re not the personable type, but he gave us one of the most productive twenty minute bursts of chat that we have had since starting the project. Without us even raising the subject he offered to hook us up with a possible financier, and then he gave us the benefit of his intimate knowledge of the local educational establishments.

He is all about one school in particular, which has a long-standing commitment to performing arts. And any email to a head-teacher that starts with an introduction from the local MP is likely to survive longer in the inbox.

The only downside is that he declined our offer to zombie-up and join the horde.

So, all in all, it’s difficult to know how to feel about today. Thankfully we have found articulation in seasoned pork rind. While smashing a post-work Friday pint at the Charmed boozer of choice, an otherwise perfectly satisfactory bag of scratchings spawned this hairy monster at the bottom of the packet. Taste after taste of salty pork goodness, followed by something we simply weren’t prepared to swallow. I think I’ll dispense with the standard sign-off and just let the snacks do the talking.

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