Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Gore-ditioning

It turns out that I’m quite a fan of actors.

Day two of what is going to be a full week of casting is now behind us, and these last couple of days have been some of the most fun I’ve had working on the project so far. Sat in the bowels of what claims to be the “oldest pub in Britain” (an accolade that certain pubs in Nottingham and St Albans might well dispute), people we’ve never met before have been arriving, serving us up our written lines on carefully-chosen platters, and putting enormous smiles on our faces.

And what I enjoy most of all is that this is one of the few occasions that we get to chat about the screenplay in the same terms that we did when we originally wrote it.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m very much the reluctant director. The thing that lured me into this whole movie-making game has always been the writing, and I thank whatever God is still talking to us since we started this project that Jake is there to take care of the “look”. Ask me to pick out which prime I’d want for a particular shot, or my preferred colour palette for the mise-en-scene, and you might as well be asking me the name the constellations in the night sky.

But ask about the narrative and I’m back where I belong. The roles that certain characters play in the story, how our protagonist is slammed through his arc by the actions of others, motivations and inferred back-stories… it’s the planning that went into writing the screenplay, and it’s exactly what actors want to talk about.

It’s a welcome reminder that our 87-page swearing marathon is more than a list of locations to dress, or props to find, or SFX gags to cost up.

So, in case any of them have tuned in to read this, a heartfelt thanks for making the trip to our provincial back-water and letting us taste the potential film behind the screenplay. Some great talent has passed through our pub basement, and I look forward to three more days of the same.

That said, being on full-beam from dawn to dusk is draining on the batteries. It’s Director-Andy that’s been auditioning the prospective cast and throwing out the curve-balls, but it’s Producer-Andy that then has to deal with the day’s work that’s waiting for him at 5:00.

But after that’s all done, it’s that bloody Writer-Andy that then insists on me tossing off five hundred words into a blog. Bullied.

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