Day one of our insane attempt to complete a five minute long movie inside 48 hours began at 12:00 today, the 14th of April.
We arrived at our first location – Speke aerodrome in Liverpool and received our instructions.
The Speke aerodrome is home to the Jetstream club – a bunch of plane enthusiasts who give over a fantastic amount of time, effort and money to the restoration of aeroplanes. They have a number of planes there, all in varying states of repair.
They’ve even built a fully functional flight simulator into the cockpit of a Jetstream (hence the club’s name). If you are ever in the area, go down there and have a go, pay your subs and fly a plane – help support these guys; what they do is very cool indeed! (Plus, they helped us out big style – thanks chaps!)
Alistair got the text message from the competition organisers. He broke the news to us that the title of our movie was to be “Unwritten”, the line of dialogue we had to include was “a perfectly normal person is rare in our society” and the prop that has to be included in the film is a badge saying “I heart… something or other” on it and it has to be pinned to someone or something during the course of the movie.
We met with our actress for the day, Alice Hillman, who – as luck would have it – was wonderfully helpful and easy going. She didn’t even seem mind the slightly panicked looks upon our faces when we realised the enormity of the task ahead of us.
I mean, how the Hell could we write something that would include a Goddamn badge with ‘I heart who-knows-what’ on it?
A script was duly fashioned and the set was dressed – the nosecone of an old 747 which would, for our purposes, double as the cockpit of a spaceship. We draped green screen material over the exterior of the nosecone and tarted up the interior with a few well-placed iPads with groovy graphics on them.
Tim constructed a make-shift dolly out of a sacktruck (his actual dolly would never have worked in such a cramped environment) and set up his lighting.
Meanwhile, Alice and I sat in one of the Jetstream Club’s other planes in order to learn our lines.
Yes, I did say ‘our’. I am afraid to say that I was ‘acting’ too. Ouch.
After a few runs through the words it seemed like even I could remember what I was supposed to say and when I was supposed to say it, so we broke for lunch. Our production assistant (for which you can read my lovely wife, Fay), had prepared rolls and crisps and fruit and biscuits and a huge pot of coffee.
Suitably wired with caffeine, we commenced the shoot.
It was immediately clear that the environment we were shooting in was extraordinarily difficult to work in – the cramped, close-quarters conditions made Tim’s life as DoP inordinately difficult; but he rose to the challenge like a man who frankly had no choice, and we were able to do about 10 different takes before calling a wrap.
Alistair, Tim and I then headed back to Tim’s house in Warrington. Alistair’s workstation was rigged up on the bench next to Tim’s and the lengthy task of downloading, backing up and sorting the media files commenced.
After an evening meal of takeaway pizza Tim started working on some images of a spaceship exterior whilst Alistair and I edited the audio rushes.
It is now 21:40, some nine hours and forty minutes into the challenge.
Alistair has now pulled some of the video rushes onto his workstation and we are going to start on a rough edit whilst Tim completes his work on the spaceship exterior FX shot.
After that, Tim will finesse our edit a bit, we’ll add the audio track, commence the FX footage, grade the whole thing… we should have something approaching a completed edit of today’s shoot before we go to our next location – Moore Nature Reserve – for 10:00 tomorrow morning (although at this rate of progress we will doubtless have to leave it all rendering whilst we go to the location tomorrow).
Sleep, as they say, is for wimps.