Monday, September 30, 2019

Hokum - Filming Day 1 and 2

Hokum - Day 1 Filming

Last Thursday we kicked off Hokum with some tricky, 'risky' shots - not because of the shots themselves, but because of the production design and location. Thankfully, a look at the dailies proved to be a success. Now, the trick will be incorporating it into the movie and seeing how it looks and feels. 

It was a great night and a chance for those who weren't involved in this shoot, but in later scenes, to come along, show support and generally get a feel for what Hokum is trying to achieve.

Hokum – Day 2 Filming

The outside shoot. Always a real challenge, especially as we move into autumn in England. An early start with a few new introductions, but thankfully, preparation and previous meet ups/discussions meant that any awkward exchanges and uncertainty had already been dispensed with.  It turned out to be a brilliant day’s filming which had its fair share of jeopardy, beautifully mitigated by the spirit, determination and ‘fun’ of all involved. It’s amazing how much is accomplished by having a sense of humour about things and enduring (and hopefully imbuing) a kind of stoic calm. Of course, things can be fraught; tension rises but experience teaches you to stick to the plan and not to lose focus and control. I think we all did that and it hasn’t always happened on recent shoots. I have felt responsible for ‘dropping the ball’ in that respect. So, a definite improvement.  Sure, a few raised voices and ‘colourful’ language happened, but nobody died. Well, somebody did… 

Massive thanks to Hannah Hargraves for stepping up to the challenge and giving her all to a part, which to all intents and purposes is thankless (to play and certainly helpless), but critical.  

A constant frustration was the momentum which kept getting lost due to the weather, failing equipment, dead batteries and aerial activity. It was an intense scene to shoot and to continually stop / start and go through the gears is a real challenge which the actors thankfully worked through. Much praise goes to Jim Low (as usual) and Peter James. Special thanks goes to Ryan Clarke (our sound recordist) for some fabulous impromptu stunt work in a field which wasn’t forgiving, and didn’t provide us with the most accommodating filmic experience. Even the tripods could have done with wellies! Our newcomers, Benjamin Clarke (production assistant) was a real benefit to the team, and his enthusiasm and willingness to muck in, along with our fabulous make up artist, Annmarie Malley, made a tough day much easier. 

The attitude on set was remarkable, considering what was being thrown at us. Undiminished we ploughed through with a sense of purpose and humour. Although standard conventions were dropped for haste during the latter stages, there was always a good sense of resilience and control. A nice discipline to the preparation and my vision. So far, it looks like what I wanted to capture has been achieved. Perhaps not exactly how I imagined it, but then again, it never is and a judicial edit should lift it all. 

Big thanks to Korky Films stalwarts Damien Trent and Mark Hancock. The end of day debrief descended into hilarity (or was it hysterics?) as we concentrated less on any issues we’d encountered and more on our own idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes. What happens in Binley Woods, stays in Binley Woods… This was a good sign, as although problems existed, the general consensus was a sense of achievement. For sure, the honest appraisal of shortcomings (perceived or real) and humility shown at this ‘inquest’ only helps if you strive to improve. It’s a small team and it’s indie filmmaking. Even the most accomplished professionals could suffer in such circumstances; it’s not easy, filmmaking. It’s a battle. But today, we won and it’s prudent to ensure criticism (of self and from others) is contextualised and given some appreciative perspective. There must always be respect in the team and a willingness to support. An understanding of everything that’s being done and the magnitude of what’s being attempted. I think everybody accepts that this movie is not an easy win. 

So, onwards we go, picking up next weekend. We all need a break. The cast and crew worked hard for a solid 12 hours and gave it their all. Apart from anything else, we’ll have memories of a fun day with lots of laughs and lots of perseverance. We have momentum. Promising. Well done team.

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