Backroads is a short film made for Colchester Film Festival’s ’60 Hour Film Challenge’
Late July I was asked to be involved with another short film and I couldn’t wait to get back into set life, so I packed up my denim jacket and headed up to London for three long days. A few familiar faces from MELVYN were also apart of the crew, but far from the sunny fields of Suffolk, the location was a rather large town house in Swiss Cottage which meant two things; tube commuting and a lot of Starbucks. This routine was saved by the company of Isobel (1st AD) and Harriett (sound recorder) and their outstanding theories surrounding the characters that inhabit the DLR at 11pm.
The film ‘Cosmic Blues’, directed by Sergey Dominquez, centres the story of Calvin, whose Buddhist ideas about life and death are challenged on the day of his wife’s funeral. The story couldn’t be further from the comedy we’d filmed a few weeks prior and it’s more emotional narrative taught me that filmmaking requires a lot of mental toughness. Take after take of intense scenes for 14 straight hours is tiring, but very rewarding. The cinematographer, James Westlake, did an outstanding job of making it look beautifully melancholy and a haze machine was used to make the shots look reflective of the protagonist’s mournful state.
If there was one thing I had to pull the whole project up on, was it’s inability to pass the Bechtal Test.
Unlike the last shoot, my role on set was 2nd AD (assistant director) which meant a lot of making sure things ran smoothly and that everyone was happy (I even got to wear a headset which made me feel like season 2 Carmen from the L word). This role being a minor one also meant I had a lot of time to help with lots of different members of crew and so I got a crash course in focus pulling and track building, I helped think of different ‘cosmic blues’ puns for the assistant camera to write on the clapper AND I found out that if you sing the mario kart theme song loud enough at least two people will sing along.
All in all, I think I could get used to the whirlwind experience of the film world.