Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The filming of The Robbery, part three

Toast TV’s James Gentle spent a sunny weekend shooting his short film, The Robbery. The piece is currently in post-production and will hopefully be completed at the end of May. In the mean time, we thought we’d treat you to some dark and dramatic details of the shoot in a three part series. This blog details the final day of the shoot and some Tascams that just won’t work.

Follow James's production company @KissTheKerb.

Sunday goes by in a relaxed blur. We head back to the scene of yesterday’s crime with our game faces on. This is merely a meeting point before we head off to our final location. Everyone miraculously has the same energy from Saturday. This is gonna be good.

The sunset is beautiful as we drive half a mile down the road to the Benfleet Sewage works, as the sun disappears our location becomes the seedy meeting point we need. We set our cars, our actors, everyone is ready, Thom has excelled himself again with the first shot, it couldn’t be better. We roll. Wait. What’s wrong?

Alex Martin our new soundman (we get through soundmen like Spinal Tap and drummers) calls cut! I thought I was meant to say that? The Tascams are playing up, so the sound is sporadic. We work to resolve the issue, next take, good. Things are back on track. Wait.

Again, the Tascams are failing, battery life now becomes an issue, even though we’ve had them on charge all day. We go down from three radio mics and a boom to one mic and a boom. Surely this must help. No. More issues. We take a break whilst we go get some AA batteries. We go again, this time with all the mics back on. We get another take. But again the issues return. What? We have to get this done tonight! There is no option.

We decide to wrap this location and head back to the house to recharge the tascams, and head to our second location of the evening. Fortunately this doesn’t require sound. Slightly deflated we plough on, but by the end of this scene we are happy again. Our actors are safely ensconced in one of the cars, food and drink by their side.

We wait for Phil and Thom to return with the Tascams. Crunch time. What seems like an age passes. They eventually arrive, I rush over and hold my breath. ‘We’re on’ says Thom, ‘but we have to be quick.’ Action stations, we hurriedly return to our first scene, set up as quickly as possible, stick the Tascams onto charge again (you know, for a boost) and get some scenes done which aren’t sound important.

The moment comes and we plug our mics in. We set. We go. It works! We’ve lost at least two hours but our collective will to get this done persists. The actors pull out performance after performance. Thom pulls out shot after shot. Alex pulls out good sound after good sound.Our final shot is with a glide cam. The Tascams are now almost exhausted. I call cut. Everyone gathers. I take a moment, and relish the words. “That my friends, is a wrap!”

Sitting in the edit suite here at Toast Towers looking back on that weekend, I can’t honestly believe we achieved so much in those three evenings. Thom, Phil and I can’t thank enough everyone who was involved in this film. Our fantastic actors Dan O'Malley, Edward Walters and Tom Coombes. Our wonderful friends who played extras for the evening. Millie Scalchi who was indispensable. Lewis J Clark and Alex Martin for excellent sound and determination in the face of adversity. To everyone at Toast TV and BigBalls Films for the kit, and helping us pull together this first venture of ours.

James Gentle

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