I am very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this collaborative adventure and get to work with John. Until recently, I worked as a legal and production assistant at an international film fund. I have a background in theatre production, and script development. The opportunity to assist John on the improvisation sessions with his actors is a role I am thrilled to be stepping into, as well as the production of the film. I’ve always been hugely interested in directors’ approach to directing their actors, both as a former actress, and having also started directing myself. I believe that the best performances are born out of a trusting and creative relationship between directors&their actors, and taking the time to rehearse.

I am looking forward to our casting sessions on the search for our 2 actresses, followed up by diving into a world of improvisation workshops & surprises. In the director’s words: “Let’s make a great film”!

As per title.

Too short? Come on, it’s Sunday and I’m a seventh day recreationalist.

We’ve worked out a rough schedule for how we are going to make this film work.

Looks like I’ve got a busy few months ahead, with time off to promote The Fold at Cannes.

Schedule

p.s. a friend, to whom I am thankful for many bits of wisdom, once told me that the the use of the phrase “emotional beats” comes from a mishearing of something Stanislavski said in a lecture. In the original, Stansilavski said that in acting one had to thread “emotional beads” onto a thread that ran through the narrative, unfortunately, with his thick Russian accent, the person writing this down misheard him and ever since actors have been trying to hit “emotional beats”.

Saffron Burrows wrote a journal about her experience of making an improvised feature called Tempted, it’s on The Guardian website The subtitle of the article makes me a little nervous about posting it, but I think we should be safe with our film.

Actually now I come to think of it, Lying, a film I produced a number of years ago was also based on a lot of improvisation work, although in that case the improv was what was being shot, rather than a part of the rehearsal/story telling process.

I’m still bouncing a couple of potential DoPs through my mind, but I’ve already started to think about what format we might shoot on.

Jay Taylor suggested there might be a possibility of shooting on film as he’s working on a deal that might be able to shoot film for a similar price to digital. It sounds like a great idea and I know how much DoPs love to shoot film, but is it the best option?

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is shooting in monochrome. Why?

Well for a start, the film could be thought of as a film noir. The story is about a moral choice, an either or situation the consequences of which will shape the future of a girls life.

Secondly, this film is about being a challenge for me and I haven’t tried to shoot black and white since my days at film school shooting Kodak reversal 7266 and having a go again would be exciting.

Thirdly, I’m quite into the aesthetic at the moment. I’ve been doing a lot of photography recently and there is a lot to be said for having to focus solely of shade and contrast.

Fourthly, (this one’s a bit technical so skip if you get bored) digital monochrome cameras don’t have a bayer filter, which is what colour cameras have to give a colour image, these filters essentially reduce the potential resolution by a third, so not having one our images could have a lot more detail in them. Which could be interesting…

So what are the options:

1) B&W film, probably ultra-16mm. I think it would be the most fun, but it would be quite a commitment, in both shooting and processing times… and do they even make the good stuff anymore?

2) Ikonoskop A-Cam dll Panchromatic. I’ve been following the development of this camera since it was first talked about many moons ago. It shoots in a format called cinema DNG, has a super16 sized chip and a very cool form factor, but given how long it’s been coming, I’m a little worried about how reliable it is. Go on, tell me I’m not sexy.

3) Red Epic-M Red made a monochrome version of their camera last year. It’s a bit of a beast and I’ve never been a fan of the Red aesthetic (looks a bit digital) and I find their cameras a bit weird looking. But there has been some great stuff shot on it. Don’t hate me for the rubbish music and Slow me up, slow me down.

4) Arri Alexa, shoot in colour and then convert to grey scale. The Alexa is my favourite camera. We shot The Fold on it, but I think doing a conversion is a bit of a cop-out and I would like to make the choice before pre-production, rather than being pressured into changing my mind, into going with colour, in the grading suite.

Angelique and I have been going through the people who have responded to our casting notice on Spotlight.

We had about 150 people in total and then we have tried to get in contact with another 40 or so. Hopefully we’ll get enough good people to fill our castings for next week.

So far there have been a lot of people who seem a little “Ambitious” with their playing age, but the maybe that is to be expected and with a reasonably vague casting notice, (as ours has to be given the nature of the film) people are entitled to be a little creative.

One thing I discovered when casting The Fold was that it was really difficult for girls to fake being 16/17. There was a certain base-layer of confidence that was very hard for them to turn off, but the character arch of Eloise in The Fold essentially required both sides. I think Dakota (who finally got the part) and maybe two other girls could do it. For this film, I think I need someone who can pull the same trick.

As for the mums, on the one hand, there are some wonderful actresses out there who’ve contacted us. So pleased that there are people out there who are attracted to this type of project. On the other hand… there are some really wild haircuts out there.