Filmmaker In Residence Project: Pre-Production 4 (Final Days)

That was a Monday no-one was expecting. Lead actor James arrived on the Sunday evening, as did Justin, and we all congregated for breakfast to start the week of final preparation and production starting, only to hear that our DoP Ryan had been detained at Heathrow. 

He flew in from Memphis and let slip he was making a film, not working on one mind, with friends. Seven hours of waiting including a long interview and his entry was refused. 

Maybe we should have expected it but the fact was we were a HoD down and 3 days away from first scene.

What happened in the wake of that though was symptomatic of how Justin and I have always worked - rolling with the punches, figuring it out on the fly, making a new plan. It was also symptomatic of one of the most rewarding aspects of this whole experience, which has been working in Cornwall. People are nice. They want to support your work and your project and they want to do it on your terms in your budget. It's been amazing to call food and catering companies and venues all over the county and just have them say 'sure, I can do that, what do you need?'

I didn't know many people locally before this but I knew one filmmaker called Ryan Mackfall who I messaged about the DoP situation and he put us in touch with someone he'd worked with a lot, also called Ryan, who miraculously free for the whole shoot. He is not really replacing our Ryan because it's late in the day to come in as DoP but it's brilliant to have such a supportive and easy-going pro around to be a conduit between Justin and the student assistants.

The students have been fantastic the past couple of days as we have geared up for wheels up. Long days in a rehearsal room as we have finalised equipment, schedules, costumes and the link. They've done what they have been asked, been patient, and asked good questions. They've been a dream so far.

It was also humbling to listen to Justin discuss the film as a whole when we sat down and discussed the schedule. He really gets the jagged, fluid, dreamlike aspirations of my script. He's interested in making something real, and raw, not safe and polished. That's so exciting to me.

And now we go.