Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Catch Up On Our Autumn Activities

Well I planned to have this uploaded weeks ago but things have just carried on filling up our schedules.  But here we are, with a more detailed catch up on what’s been occurring, in a few more than 140 characters.

A whole year after the commencement of post production on a feature film and you’d quite possibly expect the film to be completed (or at least soon to be).  For us in Shadowsland we still don’t have the end in sight, and this past September / October has seen even more filming taking place.

So why are we still filming this thing?  Well, certain things we didn’t have time to film last summer, or some things we’ve reviewed and wanted to change the direction of them, and sometimes new ideas have come to us.  These are the reasons why we set up the blue screen again to film more material. 

The beauty of shooting a film this way is that re-filming elements later on is a much easier process.  Sets don’t have to be rebuilt and not all actors from the scenes have to be called back.  This is quite handy if certain actors have changed their hair colour or added facial piercings to themselves (see Chris).

As you’ll have no doubt seen in our social network updates, we were really thrilled to welcome two more actors to the production who have appeared in Doctor Who.  After tweeting Barnaby Edwards, chief dalek operator in the new series, we then asked him if he would be interested in coming up to Sleaford to film a couple of important scenes.  Ian Cullen (who appeared in some Doctor Who episodes with original Doctor William Hartnell, and who also once worked with James Aubrey) had actually written to us when we were filming last year.  I suddenly remembered his email when we were talking to Barnaby and then it hit both Chris and I what a great pairing they would make for these particular scenes.

Instead of setting up in the garage again, this time we gave ourselves a bit more room to move about as we were kindly allowed to set up at the Live Lounge in Sleaford.  It was a fantastic day working with two fantastic actors, and they even helped us pack up the studio again afterwards. What more could you ask for?

The day before this we began work on our soundtrack by recording a 30 piece choir in a local village church.  This was a dream come true for us, quite literally, as the idea started as one of those seemingly farfetched thoughts “Oh wouldn’t it be great if we had a choir singing old Christmas carols on the soundtrack?”  We didn’t know if this was ever going to be realistic, of course, but sometimes you just need the vision and the belief and the universe will make it so.  “Build it and they will come” as the famous line goes.

We were really fortunate to meet a great choirmaster in Eric Wayman who arranged the particular tunes we wanted and made some great suggestions for other carols to record.  The actual choir, Cantemus, produced a sublime sound and it was great meeting the individual choir members.

So what else have we been filming?  Well, we brought back to life our main character (played by Ian Mude) for a couple of brief pick up shots.  It was just like old times when, seconds before calling action, a nearby lawnmower started up and destroyed the sound.  It brought back wonderful memories of us all standing around on the Billywood blue screen in suspension as we waited for the many planes to clear the sky. 

And the other thing to report on is our visit from Sarah Barzyk-Aubrey, the Parisian daughter of our departed friend James Aubrey.  If you didn’t know already, Jimmy worked with us on the casting of the film and was set to play the main role.  I first met his daughter Sarah at his funeral, and earlier this year Sarah contacted me and asked if she could do anything as a tribute to her father.  So, in early October, Sarah travelled back to
England and while she was over here, we filmed a cameo with her, along with an old friend of ours, Oliver Fabian.  Oliver had acted with Jimmy in a film we’d worked on (unfortunately unreleased) and so it felt apt to work with Oliver again by pairing him alongside Sarah.  


It’s been a long journey making this film, but bringing Sarah to the film has given our story extra poignancy.  We’ll be talking more about Jimmy in the not too distant future…

So, as you can see, it’s been a busy time for us.  We’re now getting re-focused on the visual effects as we knuckle down at the computer for the winter.

We have just one more filming day of Shadows left, when we’ll be having one final extras day.  And then there’s the matter of making the final casting in the Shadows of a Stranger film, as we look to record a voice role.

Oh yes, and Chris has also been working on a music video for Sarah Jane Honeywell, which has only just been released.  This was shot in our beloved Billywood at the end of principal filming last year.  It’s a bit of a hard hitting video but the pre-warning says it all.  You can see it here. And yes that’s me on the keyboard.