Monday, 16 August 2010



Deedee drives me to Mark's with all my bags of junk, prop weapons, fake blood ingredients and a large section of carpet for two scenes from the video.

The basic video idea is that the band are holding auditions for new guitarists, but a murderous guitar playing cyborg - once an idealistic young guitar player warped by a mad scientist with Faustian promises of cybernetic guitar talent - attends the audition and having impressed the band and finally achieved his dream of acceptance, finds himself overtaken by his violent programming and begins to slaughter the band until only one survivor remains.

The cyborg will be played by Neil, the guitarist, and the other band members (Mark, Frazer, Pablo) will play themselves. As before, it's just a fun silly video that we are doing all ourselves.

This time, I have managed to get two old friends, Ryan, and his partner Priya, to help me on the production. They will be providing fake blood and gore make up, something they are very good at!! Ryan, who also makes a lot of models and props for film and theatre productions, is also making me a model robotic hand that will serve as a prop during cyborg Neil's transformation from human to cybernetic killing machine at the hands of the mad scientist (which we will shoot on Saturday along with the rest of the video)

The two chunks we will be filming today will be the scenes taking place outside the Explorer's Collective fictional rehearsal studio (which will be Pat Collier's studio on the inside, but Mark's flat on the outside) starring the band, and also a scene which takes place in another band's studio, during an earlier audition in which cyborg Neil killed an anonymous band. This scene is going to be a bloody and gruesome aftermath shot, which requires some extras to play dead and be gored up by Ryan and Priya. I brought an old rug with me which we could cover in blood, and asked some willing friends to play dead people. This was to be shot in the evening, as our extras were coming down after work.

We went outside and shot all the outdoor scenes with the band. The weather was constantly changing from bright to overcast to bucketing rain and back again. We stopped between scenes for the odd spliff while the weather passed over and got a groovy kinda feeling going on. Feeling that perhaps I shouldn't be smoking pot while filming, I took it carefully, and made sure I didn't over indulge and end up splayed out on a couch unable to talk to people as I often end up doing. We shot some more footage when the weather was on our side and in between shoots smoked a bit more. We painted Neil up for a mid-video scene where he was all bloodied up and it looked pretty good.

Neil with a theatrical head wound 

Eventually we all got pretty hungry and went out scouting for food. We walked to the Laban Center in Greenwich which is a famous dance studio that has a decent cafe. On the way in some weird bald guy hanging around near the gates asked us what we were doing, and whether we were students. He then asked us what went on in there: "ballet or somethink?" and what we did and why we were going in. Were we staff? Maybe it was paranoia but he seemed accusatory, as if we had bad intentions. We just wanted some croissants and cake. Or a fry up. told him that we were just looking for a cafe and his face screwed up and he stormed off. I became convinced that he was waiting outside the Laban for us with a screwdriver and he was going to fuck us up. We discussed it at length until we were laughing about it, obnoxious loud stoned snorty laughter which caused some ladies in the cafe to tut loudly. But secretly deep down, I did worry about bumping into him again.

Turns out the cafe wasn't doing food as it was past lunchtime. Confused and hungry we settled for juice and coffees and then went skulking around for some munchies again. We kept an eye open for baldy, I couldn't help seeing his face inside every car that drove past. We found a pub and settled down for some grub but then the place began to fill up with loud obnoxious geezers and some of us began to get the fear and think about fleeing. But then the food came and the desire to cram my face stifled any survival instinct.

Back at Mark's place, and having managed to avoid the baldy bogey man, we shot a couple of more takes and then watched back the footage on Mark's TV in the living room. As each scene played on I became more and more distraught. One scene, which required Neil to be in the street with a large air rifle, was shot half in Mark's garden (so that a SWAT team wouldn't abseil down from helicopters and take us out with extreme prejudice); only the difference in Neil's surrounding was startling, and the two scenes unusable together. Some of the scenes had a lovely depth of field that I was sad to lose. All the scenes with Mark were horribly overexposed, a huge beginner's error where I didn't set the iris correctly and Mark had become a streak of bright white light. Most of these mistakes were made before I even imbibed. How did I get this so wrong?? I began to realise that we would need to do all this again on Sunday. How utterly disappointing. We had another smoke which resulted in me having to have a huge lie down on a sofa while struggling to stay lucid. Then people started arriving for the next scene. Curses. I am learning hard lessons one by one on every shoot I do. The overriding lesson here is, don't party while working. And check your fucking exposure levels, dum dum.

In the evening, Ryan and Priya turned up with a big bag of tricks and proceeded to prep their latex wounds and fake blood in the garden. We set up the room with amplifiers and guitars scattered around, the carpet bloody and spattered, our lights sitting low to cast eerie shadows. I began to feel better, activity was sobering me up. Our willing extras, Joe, Robin and Mark B arrived and after the promised pizza delivery we set to work painting them up, sticking on wounds, and watching Ryan and Priya apply layer after layer of make-up magic which turned three perky lads turned into horrific crime scene corpses. I was disturbed by what I was seeing as the lads lay glassy eyed and dead on the blood stained carpet with a murderous Neil walking among them. I actually felt a little sick. I told Ryan this and he reminded whose idea this whole scene was in the first place.

A succesful shoot and some very nice images. I was very happy with how the evening went, and it made up for the crushing disappointment of the day. Ryan and Priya were marvellous and magical and got along great with everyone. I was actually very nervous about working with them, as they actually know their shit, and I am just winging it on a day by day basis. I was terrified of being rubbish in front of them but they were really supportive and didn't offer advice or tell me to change anything. They just focussed on the make up and did an incredible job.

The wonderful and ever patient Deedee picked me up close to midnight and took me home, whereby I collapsed into bed and had nightmares about the ensuing clusterfuck that would be Saturday. I could already feel that we had taken way too much on board.

1 comment:

  1. I have seen my friend Lorraine dance at Laban, its a nice venue.

    Sorry to hear the saturday did not go as planned but sounds like you came back and kicked ass. I think you have the right idea about partying and working, it you have to have a line somewhere. Plus it allows you to party harder when you are done.