Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Louise, Sarah, Derek & Me

I'm coming to the end of a term's teaching which sees the second years finish their course and students from both of the classes I've taught have appeared in various films and music videos made by the media students. I'm reminded that straight after The Miracles Of Marta Manole, I took part in a film made by Filipp Chronopoulos.

It was a horror film that was his degree final project. I've completely forgotten the story, but somehow it was all drug-induced (note the three initials of Me's friends). I played Derek.

Zoe Alyssa Cooper, Leo Cox, Claire Ludgate, Filipp and I trooped down to Shenfield in Essex to film in a big house in the country, which was reportedly next door to a very well-known British actress who shall remain nameless.

I remember that our director was sure we had plenty of time to shoot the whole thing. That was before we spent nearly three hours on the second shot. It required me to park a car on the driveway, turn the engine off and exchange some dialogue with my passengers. I couldn't drive. Nobody had thought to ask me. Only the dialogue was in the script so I had no idea it was required. I decline the offer to drive someone else's car off the public highway illegally. The owner of the car drove it perfectly and in long shot you would never have known it wasn't me. Disaster averted.

My next opportunity to disappoint came soon enough. Having never turned the engine on, I'd never been called upon to turn one off. The second shot required me to do exactly that. It wasn't as easy as I thought. The car lurched forward an inch at a time. Key, hand brake, lurch. Take after take after take. It was agony.

I still can't drive. I've never had enough spare money to start learning.

We got there in the end, but the delay meant we wouldn't finish in the allocated time. We shot the interior scenes of the house all night, with the exception of any scenes set in the bathroom. We then shot those the next morning with a bin liner taped over the bathroom window.

I learned a lot about working in front of a camera on this film. I haven't seen it back since we shot it and I'm pretty sure I was terrible in it.

We also filmed interviews as sort of DVD extras, which were improvised and enormous fun to do. I'm pretty sure I was less terrible in them.

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