Wednesday, 31 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 6

Woke up very early today so we could truck on down to Slough (hold your applause). We have now moved onto our second filming location which is a huge, basically abandoned animal testing facility bolted onto an old manor house. It's proper big this house too, and its almost labyrinth-like in design, I went up once to scrounge some bits and pieces and got horribly lost.

Yesterday I was also tasked with sourcing and buying a few extra mirrors for our makeup and wardrobe departments.Figured Argos would do me right as they have been decent in the past, my heart sank though when I heard that YODEL were the ones delivering my parcel. The mirrors arrived today a little later than I would have liked, but no real harm done.Catastrophe struck once I opened up the packaging for the biggest mirror ordered that I found it was smashed to pieces - effectively it was DOA.

Damn you YODEL, for being generally rubbish. Try as I might, I always want to give you guys another chance, but today was the last straw. Rest of today went fine, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth from the delivery nightmare.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 5

Back in, and subsequently out of our first location today! Mostly it was a pick-ups kinda day which was manic, and chill at the same time. But it all picked up after we wrapped and had to gut everything out the house. So that's, a few dressed locations, makeup and wardrobe rooms, unit base and a garden to clean up and pack down. It was a small miracle that we managed to do it in 90 minutes!

Monday, 29 May 2017

Not Shooting on a Bank Holiday

Spent my bank holiday in Central London, chilling with Rebecca. It was actually really sad saying goodbye to her at the train station today. I got this gnawing feeling in my stomach, the kind you get after saying farewell to a dear friend after spending weeks with them. But we had a lovely time chowing down on Mexican food and walking up and down South Bank.

Feeling really refreshed and ready to hit set tomorrow now!

Mid Shoot Rest Day

Very much enjoyed just kicking back for a day mid-shoot. Woke up with my legs in agony, they are massively stiff after bombing it down to the shops the other day so today was a good opportunity to relax them. I did go into Central London to drop off a hard drive for Mark, but aside from that, today was spent sleeping and mentally prepping for the days to come.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 4

Holy moly, today was a big one. Wrapped quite late this evening after a mega intense day shooting. For the first time ever, tomorrow will be my first day off during a shoot. We got Sunday and the bank holiday off, but its going to feel very weird not heading to set in the morning.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 3

Arrived at location a little earlier today to take advantage of the complimentary breakfast. Can't go wrong with a bacon and egg muffin first thing, really set me up for what would become the sweatiest day so far. I had to run a few errands in along the local highstreet, although I use the word 'local' quite loosely. Turns out you can run there in about 10 minutes, but in the baking London Summer heat, it felt a hell of a lot longer. The run was mostly so we could buy the entire team a batch of ice cream, the sweat was worth it when I saw the happy faces of the crew.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 2

Barrel rolled into day two and I was mostly dealing with props and other arty bits. Best and worst part of the day was organising a different sticker to put over the top of the Apple logo on a laptop, we went back and forth a lot until we got just what we wanted, but it was a good laugh in the end.

The evening culminated with two grown men being outsmarted by a duvet cover. It was not a proud moment for Mark and me.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Big Shoot: Day 1

Here we go again. Strapped my runner belt on and dived head first into our first big day. For the most part, I helped assemble props and did a fair bit more of lifting and shifting. Did go on a slight detour to Camden Town to pick up a charging cable an old Wildseed client still had stashed away.

Had a really solid first day of shooting and I have a good feeling about the days to come.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Prep for the Big Shoot

Made the big trip down to London to set up shop in our first location. Basically it was a whole lot of van loading and unloading in a very, very nice house. Got a fair bit of experience putting down masses of floor protective wrap (basically a massive roll of sellotape) and putting it along stairs and carpeted areas. Left the house with a good head-start for tomorrow, out first day should go quite well as a result.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Filming Pho

Since its the day before I head off for the big shoot I thought it would be nice for Rebecca and I to go out for a nice dinner out. I had a hankering for Pho, so we lined our stomachs with Vietnamese soup.

Just finished packing up for the next few weeks, got one case for keeping me warm, decent and smelling nice, while the other has my runner gear and a cheeky 3DS for any down time I may get. I'll try to keep the blog going on a daily basis as per, but I may miss a day or two if work gets rough - I'll try my best though to keep a good thing going.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Weekend beofre the Storm

Went out and about town with another batch of Rebecca's friends, this time we went up and down Park Street a fair few times. That's already quite a steep road to scale, and when you combine the fact that it was a hot day and Rebecca influenced me to wear a cardigan, it didn't make for a good mix. The sweat was worth it though for a paid for chocolate milkshake from Boston Tea Party.

Enjoyed my last proper day off before the big film shoot, when Wednesday rolls around I'll be stepping onto set as an Art Runner - and I can't wait to get stuck in.

Fridge Slogan

Shared the evening with couple Rebecca had made friends with while working at Foyles, and they were an absolute blast to have around. Played a bit of Cosmic Encounter with them and then just chatted the night away with a glass of wine. At risk of sounding like a slogan on a tacky fridge magnet, it really was a good way to end a Saturday.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Going Clear

Continued the great hunt for copyright free pictures of dogs. Its actually scary how much money a lot of stock image websites charge to use of their images, must be a super niche market that I have unknowingly stumbled into.

Went out to the Bear  Pit street food market to finally get my chops around the burger I bought for Mark last week. I took one bite and I felt a real pang of buyers remorse, I opted for some tomato relish as a sauce, and that was literally the only thing I could taste for the first quarter of my burger. After getting into the literal meat though, it was smooth, greasy sailing.

Finished watching Going Clear after a 5 month hiatus - Rebecca fell asleep the first time we tried watching it so we put in on hold for a little while. It is, for all intents and purposes, the most complete doc on Scientology. A detailed account of its history and its very troubling current situation. If you have even the slightest interest in the subject matter, then you've already seen it. For those who haven't, I can't recommended it enough.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Manhattan, Once More

Called up the most chipper sounding first aider I've ever heard. I was head hunting for a trained first aider and came across 'Mark the Medic.' If you check out his website you'll see a photo of a very smiley man in his full gear - eager to make a good impression. I called him up to get a quote on a single filming day and he burst into a flurry of excitement. 'Oh, a filming project!' He declared. Bless him, he must have felt so valued at that point because he stumbled over his words to ask me about the dates and details. It broke my heart when he quoted for a fairly larger sum than the last company I called so I don't think we'll be using him. But Mark, if your out there, keep up the good work.

Been waiting all week to watch Manhattan again in the Cinema's. Rebecca and I made a mental note of it about a month ago, and after it cropped up in Mark Kermode's podcast, the excitement hit  climax. The version we saw was an upscaled 4K edition and it looked beautiful on the big screen. Gordon Willis' cinematography always looked stunning, but this time around you could breathe on every detail. You all know my love for this film by now, so I won't bore you. But I will say that the audience was great too. Bristol's Watershed was packed out and we all shared the laughs. For me, this was the definitive viewing of this film and I'm really glad I could share it with Rebecca and Louis.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Not Free Air

Had Mr James Philpott round for dinner too which was nice. In fact it was a little bit difficult for him to leave. Minutes after stepping out the door I got a call from him saying his tire was flat, luckily we live close to an ASDA petrol station so we got him up and running - had to pay 20p for air though, but I guess its a cheap price to pay.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Dogs. That was my day.

I was asked to source multiple pictures of funny dogs that resembled our main actor for one of our gags. Hope I wasn't too unflattering to him... I didn't actually know anything about different dog breeds until today, now I think I have expanded my knowledge beyond simply Poodles and Labradors, now I can identify Min Pins, and Papillions; pub quiz here I come.

While I immensely enjoyed Takia Watiti's Eagel vs Shark, I had mixed feeling about What we do in the Shadows. Rebecca and I got a chance to check out Hunt for the Wilderpeople this evening and we both commented on how much we enjoyed it. The film was light hearted and full of that now trademarked, New Zealand charm. It was just a story about a juvenile looking for a place to call home with good character development and laughs throughout.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Walkie Talkie Man

Finished up making our set of fake ID's for filming, I know I said this last time, but I'm quite chuffed with how they turned out. My Photoshop skills must be improving!

Was also tasked with reprogramming all of our walkie talkies, we get them in from China because they are hilariously cheap, but you need to hack them and change the frequencies. First 30 minutes of my day was spent pouring over forums and YouTube videos, the program started off in Chinese too so that didn't help. Now though, we have a create full of walkies that are ready to roll!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Back to BBQ's

Around this time last year I found myself attending a lots of BBQs to celebrate the end of the year. Got massive amount of good vibes when Rebecca and I went out to celebrate Mark's early Birthday. We pulled up with a couple of instant BBQ's and grilled some homemade burgers, and I just had a smile on my face the whole time. Even got a cheeky round of Kubb in, my team lost hard, but it was good fun nonetheless. Ended up having a really easy-going and fun weekend doing exactly the kind of thing I always want to do. Now that the Summer is fast approaching, I really hope for more times like this.

Eurovision 2017

At long last, Eurovision 2017 has been and gone. While last year was polished and a spectacle, this year was memorable for some novel reasons. We had a decent yodeling act, some strong low-key hits and a member of the crowd mooning on live-TV - it was all exceptionally entertaining. Successfully predicted, and voted for the winner too, which is always a plus. And it was good to see the UK actually doing pretty well overall.

Just before the evening antics, the Bristol crowd all went down to the Foodie Festival to watch Jamie play in his other band. Really digged his sound and it suited the mood of the festival perfectly.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Searching for Sugarman

Once again, I got to put my photoshop skills to the test as I made mock ID's for some of our extras to wear. We got shop assistants and a bus driver that need these things, and although I had to Google pretty much every step of actually using photoshop, the end result isn't too shabby.

I decided early on today that I wanted to watch a film tonight, it wasn't until I ate my dinner that I got this horrible feeling in my stomach that told me that I just couldn't be bothered. I weighed up any other Friday evening plans and ultimately pushed myself onto Netflix anyway, just to browse the selection. I wanted something easy, interesting and just downright good to make it feel like my evening was spent doing something good. Enter Searching for Sugarman which was all those things, and more. It's rare for a documentary to be as satisfying as this, its just constantly building towards this tremendous payoff which is just perfect. It's a great, and amazing story that's paced well and it taps into something that really resonated with me. It's not a big expose doc with a political agenda, it's just a hell of a good anecdote and it deserved to be shared and made into a film. And I'm so glad it was, because it made my Friday night something a little bit more. 

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Brownies and Bladders

Today's blog is bought to you by possibly the greatest brownie I have ever eaten. There's this little sandwich shop called The Coach House in Bristol, and they do this incredible butterscotch and chocolate brownie that punched above my expectations. It was gooey, and crunchy at the same time and it paired beautifully with my coffee. It set me up for a good rest of my day after lunch and it kept me smiling throughout.

Aside from that, my other big highlight was coming up with a way to make a character look like he was weeing himself on film. Came up with using one of those camel pack / bladder pouch bags that was all the rage with hikers about 7 years ago and modify the valve on it so it could leak when pressed. Little thing like that made me feel kinda great today.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Wedding Planner

Had the bizarre pleasure of hiring through a fancy catering company at different points today. One of the scenes we are doing is set at a fancy dinner and the folks at the hire company must think I am planning a wedding!

After listening to Mark Kermode's review of A Dog's Purpose, I was reminded that I had access to Best in Show, a mockumentary about the lives of people who participate in dog pageants. It was rather curious actually, for a mock, I didn't actually find myself laughing all that much, but I still had a really good time watching it. It carries a similar charm to Big Night in a way as, although the characters are presented as oddballs, its very rarely stretches beyond the realm of reality. The folks in it are just folks. It's clear that attending dog shows is their passion, but you never really see them as people to point and laugh at, they are a little charismatic and bodacious at times, but only because that's part of the lifestyle and as a result, I found it strangely humble and it made for an extreamely wholesome watch.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Props for Days

Continued to peck away at pre-production for Wildseed. I shot a few emails out to some hire companies we need to get quotes from, and I may even have to call a few of them up again tomorrow just to confirm the finer details. Mark said that the pieces are finally all coming together now, and that is only a good thing.

Had an evening all to myself since Rebecca is off to Italy tomorrow for a family holiday. I'm looking at the bed now and I'm just daydreaming about all the extra space I can have, I'm gonna indulge in as much spreading out as possible before she comes back on Sunday.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Podcast Convert

Got involved with the art director for Wildseed's upcoming project over a Skype chat. Together we are pooling together our resources to make sure we have all the right props for the film, we have a strong battle plan at the moment, and between the two of us, I think we are going to smash it.

I decided to finally take up Louis' advice to start listening to podcasts, and I can happily say that it will probably revolutionise the way I walk into work each morning. I am working my way through Mark Kermode's weekly film one and I am really, really digging it.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Kubo and The Two Strings

Saw Dad off for the Bristol 10K this morning, it was probably the earliest I'd gotten up on a Sunday in a little while. We all went for a walk shortly after, ending up at the Tobacco Factory's pop-up market and street food stands. Got the most incredible Jamaican jerked chicken wrap which made the trek all the way to that corner of Bristol worthwhile.

This evening Rebecca and I wereeant to have guests round, but they had to cancel last minute, so we tucked into Kubo and the Two Strings, while it was occasionally flawed film, you could tell there was real heart being poured into the film, and that stood out to me during and long after watching it. It was great to see a film that was actually had a slower pace than most animated films these days, the opening especially set the stage for the mood of it all very well and it stayed true to itself throughout. It was also a bit unsettling and violent at times, so while it may be a tad scary for younger audiences, I say let 'em watch it and be scared!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Durrant's Tearing up Bristol

After a well deserved lie-in Rebecca and I met up with my parents. Dad came down to run a 10K tomorrow morning but they decided to make a thing of it and spend the weekend down in Bristol. We popped into Pinkman's bakery for lunch - never been there before but it was very nice indeed. Then after a little mooch session we had dinner at the Durrant favourite Mezze Palace, met up with Louis and Rachel there too and ate far too much. Ended up in a pub shortly after and we all just chatted the night away, I think we make a great little group when we are all together, we're always a good laugh.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Cutting Edge

Did a bit more prop sourcing today and got to make a few calls to various prop hire companies. Mostly I'm on the lookout for a retractable knife, which actually are harder to come by than you'd think. One company I hired flat out told me that production companies prefer to just VFX that kind of thing now as its not as risky. Found a smattering of options for that and made sure the final list of props and costumes was air-tight and ready for Monday.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Ending Redraft

Got a new ending to the script I'm processing today, the writer said in his email that he was way happier with this version and I can see why. Its much more climactic and is a really tense and engaging way to send it all off, I can already picture it in my head and I know it will be loads of fun to shoot.

Impressed a lot of people at work with my aeropress too. I'm not exaggerating when I say I made a flock of people approached when I pulled it out my bag. They were all so excited by it, despite the fact the office actually has one tucked away somewhere.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Jigsaw Production

Sat down in the Wildseed offices to crack on with some production notes for their next upcoming project. We all had a quick meeting first thing to align ourselves with what needs doing. Mark told me as we we t on lunch that he feels like he has a load of big jigsaw pieces that he's just waiting to put down now to complete the puzzle of the production. Once we get in some nearly finalised scripts over the next few days, everything will start flying.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Break it Down!

Did my first bought of Wildseed work from home today since they were pretty rammed with meetings today by the sounds of it. I read through the most recent draft of the script and corrected an outdated breakdown. Some bits hadn't changed too much, but other parts needed a massive overhaul. It's clear where they had to tone down the violence and darker parts of it, especially as the story reaches its conclusion. I managed to complete a breakdown of the entire script today so I can hit tomorrow in good stead.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Steam Train Wonder

Took Rebecca's parents up and along the harbour side leading up the The SS Great Britain. Actually bumped into a fully operational steam train chugging alongside too so that made for a novel sight for them. We said farewell around midday and Rebecca and I got cracking with a roast dinner which went down a treat; just what I wanted to be tucking into on Bank Holiday Monday.

I'll be starting my first of a handful if weeks with Wildseed Studios again tomorrow as a production assistanty type bloke. Already looking forward to my first day and the job itself sounds like good fun - really glad to be on board!