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Posts Tagged ‘tailormade productions’

Hello All –

Sorry for radio silence – we have had our heads down of late and been extremely busy. Firstly finance is so very very nearly secured for “My Soviet Kitchen”, it’s all a matter of getting the right actor to realize how brilliant the project is, then we are all systems go. The current plan is to shoot in March next year in Georgia, Russia, Oxford and Pinewood. We have been preparing as much as we can, meeting with lovely potential Heads of Department, as well as shooting various camera tests at Take 2 with our cinematographer David Rom.

Brek has recently directed a brilliantly funny new short play, The 3 Turn, at the Olde Red Lion theatre pub in Islington. All this alongside organising her Caribbean wedding….. multi-tasking a go go! Elizabeth meanwhile has been working as co-writer and script editor on an international array of projects, including Richard Goldgewicht’s Brazilian “Futebol” feature and Tatjana Acimovic’s “Anka” – a Croatian children’s story. Mon dieu!

The new Tailormade website that we talked about earlier in the year you might have noticed has been put on hold. We came across some stumbling blocks regarding the build and then everything took off regarding MSK so it was parked whilst we concentrated on the film. We are planning on picking this back up in the Spring, will keep you posted.

OK – one New Year’s resolution is to blog more frequently!

Happy Christmas and A Joyous New Year –

Love the tailormaidens.

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Jet-setting “Sea Change style” has been the defining characteristic of May 2009. Beautiful scenery (Lake District, Cote D’Azur), hiding dark secrets (VOSA fines and Cannes Film Festival)! The legacy of the production continues to haunt us just as the edit pulls us forward.

We spent 7 hours on trains up and down from Penrith in a day to attend the hearing at the Magistrates Court for an overweight art department vehicle unluckily caught on the road up to Scotland back in November. We’d known we’d be fined but by how much? My right leg wobbled uncontrollably in my only smart suit as I stood whilst they delivered their verdict….

No sooner had we returned to London then we were off again, taking the early morning Easyjet flight to Nice from Luton. With a deliberately packed, ‘short and sweet’ schedule of 48 hours, we crammed in 6 meetings a day plus the inevitable parties by night.

Our friends Nick Scott and Fiona Brownlie of The Winners Productions had space for us in their perfect little apartment at the end of the Croisette in Palm Beach, just the right distance from the frenetic mass of humanity around le Palais. Getting there however meant bypassing Jim Carrey and Colin Firth as they threw ‘snowballs’ in the 25 degree heat to promote yet another version of A Christmas Carol, bah humbug.

Meetings took us from hotel room to hotel room (not in that way, ahem) and café to café to meet with foreign distributors interested in buying the film. The first day ended with us moonlighting as Times gossip columists and attending the Spandau Ballet party at the appropriately named Nikki Beach. I fell in love with Martin Kemp who has just directed his first low budget horror feature. He’s awesome. On so many levels I felt we really bonded but he hasn’t called me since.

Struggling for the majority of the second day with shin splints and a sore head, we continued our meetings like troopers and ended on a high note at the superb Scottish Screen party right on the beach. We saw Anne Sheehan, our Exec Producer now at Prescience, Nigel Thomas of Matador, Carole Sheridan of SS, Frances Harvey of Soda and the usual suspects padding around in the sand.

Our male escorts (not in that way, promise!) Bertrand “the Muscles” and Rob took time from their busy sunbathing schedules to catch up on the day’s events over a bottle of wine at the Grand. We finally returned to Luton feeling very satisfied if a little disjointed by the whirlwind of activity…and straight into the arms of producer Charlotte who had managed to secure funding for the flashback sequences in Kent!

Roll on the summer!

PS More podcasts to come very soon so please stay tuned.

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Just back from a whistlestop trip to Mull. I flew up and back in 36
hours in order to get the main house location in order. In the last
five months, a lot of our beloved props (including Calum’s ‘treasure’
and the false walls of Nikki’s room) have been languishing in the
barn and needed sorting out. It was great to see the
island in the daylight and relative warmth, and to return to a place
full of memories with just me and trusty sidekicks Ryan Hendrick and
Rob McCroary. We needed a van and our friends at MacKays Garage and
Hire automatically handed the keys over to Ryan so familiar a sight
is he!

We had dinner with some old friends at Macgregors Roadhouse in
Craignure and reminisced on the good, the bad and the ugly of the
shoot. Despite the brevity of my visit, it was sad leaving and
driving the A82 back to Glasgow. I was also devastated to find my
Caledonian MacBrayne Coffee Express Loyalty Card wasn’t valid on the
ferry to Oban…two stamps left to get before my free capuccino
(usually the first sign of civilisation)

Meanwhile down South, the edit continues apace at Speade – we are
excited to now include Matthew Herbert’s temp tracks in the assembly.
There is a genuinely fun atmosphere that abounds along the corridors
of their Poland Street premises and the awesome contents of their
orange Smeg fridge….

Brek and Clare remain very busy with their respective films The
Wolfman and The Infidel (yikes, frightening combo!) as they approach
delivery and production respectively; it’s been fascinating watching
the projects unfold.

I’m preparing to fly out with Emily on another whistlestop tour of
wild landscapes and even wilder people – Cannes Film Festival! More
as it comes!!

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It’s now the end of March and plans are still afoot to go up to Mull to finish off our shoot in mid April. Sam is busily putting together a rough assemble which will determine how much extra footage we actually need! Emily is busy prepping the logistics and Geraldine is trying to ensure we don’t get ourselves into another financial pickle!

Elizabeth has her finance head on and is researching away into pockets of money, one which will hopefully come into fruition very soon – fingers crossed!

Brek has been very busy this last week not on The Sea Change but rather making a short video for Downham Library – Downham Library – part of a new innovatively design community centre. It should be online in the new few weeks so we’ll post the link. It’s a pretty amazing place and worth checking out if you are in the area.

In the downtime from everything Sea Change related we are also making some headway with developing new projects. Something that gets us all very excited, flip charts at the ready!

Remember to follow us on twitter http://twitter.com/Theseachange and add us a friend on facebook if you haven’t already.

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As our personal fortunes dip and wain, our work environment keeps getting more and more flash. We are moving offices for the third and hopefully final time to Marketplace off Oxford Street thanks to a close friend who wants to support the arts.
The colour scheme and minimalist design of the space will be ruined by our arrival as we come laden with two house plants, some garden furniture, twenty boxes of props, a huge roll of bubble wrap, half of Viking Direct in spare stationary and two ‘Welcome to Mull’ tea towels. Luckily there are also three state of the art, sound proofed meeting rooms so our frequently impassioned exchanges can be appropriately muffled.

We have spent the majority of our time on the film working out the details of the budget: both costs to date and future spend. The strategy for raising completion funds is multi-stranded with all of us busy pursuing one or other. The six minute promo has been working its magic but it’s clearly time to get cracking on the main assembly as this will inform our 6 days of additional photography. Fitting these days around Colin Morgan’s availability as he heads on to his second series of Merlin in Wales and France is another major juggle. And then there’s the insurance claim…the mix of the sublime and the ridiculous never fails to amaze and amuse us.

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I have received the incredible honor of being a guest blogger for The Sea Change, which I am truly excited about. My name is Linnéa Rundgren and I’m a freelance journalist.

It has been two days since I got back, and all the impressions are starting to sink in. As a complete outsider I was just waiting for an excuse to travel up to this remote island of Mull, having heard so much about the project throughout the last three years as well as watching with participation how many woolen socks and hats were packed into my sister-in-law’s suitcase before she left. So when I got the offer to personally deliver the ‘rushes’ (a sample of what the final filmed material will look like) last Sunday morning it took me about two seconds to think about it and accept.

An eleven hour train journey including one interchange in Glasgow, a night in an Oban hotel room listening to stormy winds rattling the window, and a ferry trip later (must admit I had underestimated how remote this island is), I finally reached the mighty Mull.

Before I start throwing superlatives about my intense visit to the film crew around me – trust me, it was a rush – let me just set the scene here. Imagine waking up in a freezing cold and dark town (Oban) with hardly anyone around at 7.30am. The papers haven’t even arrived yet so I have my breakfast cereal in an empty hotel restaurant, listening to the silence. When I step outside the wind has calmed somewhat and the only source of light is from the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry, which leaves for Mull at 8am. Still pitch black when we set loose and start the journey across the sea. I choose to avoid the smelly breakfast buffet downstairs and find some seats upstairs. Here we sit in silence, a dozen other recently awaken passengers and I, watching the sun rise behind the snow-covered mountains, sweeping away the mist over the water. Having lived in Britain for six years now I’m quite used to grand buildings, castles, not to mention memorials. However, they are usually surrounded by a well-groomed garden and a snack bar. That’s why this morning’s view is so spectacular as I spot the most beautiful castle resting on top of steep cliffs, which calm waves crashing into them. It looks as if it is untouched by both tourism and time. I just sit there and take it in. I think of my fellow Londoners traveling like cattle on the tube.

Does that explain how beautiful and peaceful it is here. Hope so. Back to memories from Mull. I got off the ferry in Craignure where local resident Peter picked me up and drove me to the set whilst filling me in with the colloquial film vocabulary. I picked up that ‘wrapping’ seemed to be a good time of the day, i.e. the end of the day.

Five minutes later we arrived at the waterfront, where the first scene of the day had just been filmed in the freezing water. The atmosphere was pretty relaxed – mostly because the scene was over I gather – but also a bit tense. Everyone was just about finished dismantling the set and got ready to head straight off to the next one, whilst trying to warm up with cups of tea. Two members of the crew stood a few yards away sorting out some kind of disagreement. Lovely Liz introduced me to the crew. Even though the handshakes were cold, most of the crew managed to smile (or was it simply that their jaws had frozen, I do not know). If it was a genuine smile I am even more impressed after three hours in the water.

Since there was no time to stand around Liz and I started walking whilst she told the plan for the day, schedule changes and events. After a quick stop at the base station (which I’m sure is called something different in film language), consisting of a few trucks including the catering vehicle as well as a school bus where they eat and gather heat in between scenes, it was time to go to the location for the next scene. Apparently there was no time to go to the originally intended filming spot on the other side of the island, so they quickly had to find a new one. In the car I got a taster of the crew banter, of which I understood about half. If I would have picked it all up I would have extended my vocabulary massively.

To me the location looked like any piece of forest, but according to Liz, Brek and Rain it was close to perfection. They barely had time to wait for the car to stop before they rushed out, jumped over the damp ditch and started walking around eagerly discussing potential angles, camera movements and light. They got very excited about the spot indeed, apart from a few pine trees that apparently were in the way. “I can’t believe people just leave their Christmas trees out here!” I heard someone shout as I started to walk back and forth along the road to keep my blood from freezing in my veins. Embarrassingly my outfit for the “London winter” wasn’t enough for Scottish temperature.

Anyway, soon the sound guys arrived (apparently the best team according to themselves) and kindly let me sit in their car with maximum heat on whilst they unloaded their stuff (about two trolleys full) to take into the deep soft and damp moss. Very much appreciated. After that it didn’t take many seconds until the entire 50 yard stretch of gravel road along the spot was packed with trucks and equipment, people rushing and running around knowing exactly what to do and where to be. A bit like Santa’s toy factory I imagine. I heard a lot of “Excellent”, “love it” and “beautiful” from the very impressive cinematographer Rain Li as she made the final adjustments. Some of the male crew found it very amusing to unzip the make-up girls’ stomach bag whenever they passed him. They let him get on with it for a while before they had to work. The last ones I walked passed just before everyone had to be quiet were the light guys. Just before lunch everyone was ready and I got to witness my first film shoot. Very exciting! If the small camera used for documentation didn’t have a flat battery I would have filmed the shooting myself there in the deep moss between trees and overgrown hillocks and stubs (and Christmas trees). But instead I just stood there (on a wooden lid as my boots weren’t water proof) taking in all the action – and excitement! The scene was when Callum tells Nikki about the little people and with this atmosphere you could almost imagine these little creatures lurking behind trees. Very impressed with the actors, especially in this temperature. Did I mention it was cold?

Generally I really have to say that I admire the hard work put into this film by everyone. Admittedly I don’t know how other films are made but even I can say that filming everything in 20 days is definitely something. I was given the timetable for the day so I could follow what was going on – a booklet of 13 pages.

At the end of the second ”CUT” (at least a word I know from movies) it was time for lunch, served in the school bus of course. I barely finished chewing my fifth bite of prawn curry before everyone shot off again to do more close-ups at the same location. I chose to stay where I was.

This is what a tight timetable does, and apparently not to everyone’s excitement. Forget one hour lunches and tea breaks. What a contrast to the otherwise so peaceful surroundings. But the locals seem to love it – especially Peter and David who were, and still are I think, helping out with pretty much everything.

As the sun started to set with a golden glow and Will the 1st AD (whose feet still weren’t dry since the morning) started to order people to go into the water for the final scene of the day (interrupted by Liz crying with laughter after watching the stunts trying to get into their wetsuits, apparently looking as if they were given birth to), it was time for me to go back to the mainland. Far too soon, but to be honest I was freezing.

‘Imagine doing this if the weather wasn’t behaving so perfectly as it did today’, I thought to myself as I boarded the ferry and ordered a hot chocolate. As I got back to Glasgow later that evening, the weather forecast issued severe weather warnings as heavy snowfall and strong winds were predicted. Oh well, I hope the crew made it to the pub after the swim to focus on something else.

The things I witnessed during those eight hours were enough to fill three days. And there, half way into the filming, it was easy to spot the exhaustion in their eyes from early mornings and late nights. On top of that there are the frozen toes and practical problems such as diesel stations closing at 5.30pm or simply running out, that are impossible to predict. Despite this all I see and hear is laughter, banter and encouragement. Perhaps that is the only way to get through it. Perhaps they are simply having fun. Either way, it is truly inspiring to see so many great people supporting this fantastic project.

I take my hat off to all of you up in Mull. This will be something amazing.

Thanks again to the entire team for letting me shadow you all for a few hours, and best of luck with the rest of the filming!

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