Location scouting and pitch shoot day

Rusty pictured on the left is a patient and skilled cinematogpher.

January the 7th, the first weekend back was the date I had set to carry out a scouting exercise with Rusty the cinematographer for Low Season and With Jake the Producer.

What had started as a chance to check shot set ups look at camera angles, and basically walk throughout he location with Rusty became a much more complex affair, I wanted to go over the ground with these guys I have scouted the location on multiple occasions now and taken stills but needed to move to the next step.

Some shots Like the one we are framing here, I had already found on previous recce’s and wanted to show to Rusty

My somewhat panicked confusion over the date for completion of the pitch video In a way gave me a much needed kick up the behind, writing the video pitch has made me engage with the whole kickstarted in a whole different way, suddenly I was thinking in real world terms, but I will cover that in another blog post.

The need to generate a pitch video made me double up the day and call in Jake and his skills in in interviewing and corporate style capture from his job at the university at the plymouth. He agreed early on to help me with the pitch and that takes a lot of pressure off as a maker who suddenly finds himself in front of the camera.

However suddenly the day was looking like it would be a multitasking challenge.

No this is not me chatting to A nice homeless man, but a walk through of a shot, with Producer Jake (seated) playing a stand in busker.

I really needed a budget just for this recce, as driving from Exeter to plymouth to pick up the guys from PCA with equipment drive back to The first location at Teignmouth, and at the end of the day drive them back to plymouth before heading home to Exeter ended up a costly exercise. But it was worth it.

The marvellous majestic rundown pier at Dawlish, now if we could just gain access….Doh!

On arriving I wanted to take the guys on a physical walk through the different spots I had identified as possible shots, and then end up at the pier. I had in my mind a walking and talking format for the interview to make it less static and dull, and also to take the pressure off me.

We shot B roll as we went and discussed various shots options and framing before arriving to a calm and interesting ocean scene beneath the pier, the light was good and I realised that this would work well as a backdrop, for an interview so we set up under the pier and using a big reflector to bounce back the beautiful mid afternoon light we composed a nice shot. and……

Who am I?  How did I get here?

I dried up like a desert, I had used my need to make a video presentation for my absence as a practice at delivery to camera and felt a little more comfortable (if not overjoyed) at being in from of camera. However suddenly faced with the camera and two eager volunteer filmmakers, I just could not get the lines out, at one point I doubt whether I would have been able to remember my own name!

Try as I might I just could not get a clean delivery of the material, and after an undisclosed time struggling my way through it, with much support and encouragement from Jake and Rusty I made it through in broken small chunks through the whole speech….Once!

I then did a read through of the whole speech with the ability to read it clearly to enable as much cut away as possible.

I have as I write this now got the footage back and will go over it tonight to check how much is usable but a part of me knows that I may have to reshoot the interview part of the pitch and shoot more B roll footage.

that attempt under the pier to deliver the pitch is with out doubt the most horrible thing I have ever done in my time as a film maker.

The reasons If I am honest are simple I panicked with time, rushed it, and neither knew the pitch well enough and also to my annoyance did not put it in a format suitable as off camera cue. When I made the presentation for Inglourious Basterds, I prepared well, and even built a light frame work to surround the camera with all my (readable) cue cards. on the beach I had a mobile phone with a digital copy that I had not had enough time to memorise. Enough said!

In terms of value to both parts of this project, I think at this stage It was a brilliant chance to communicate ideas and find challenges that need to be worked around. I lost a potential location that day in the pier, feeling that the chap we spoke to, possibly the brother of the woman that Jake had spoken to, really fobbed us off when we tried to discuss using the pier as a location. He was elusive and non committal to a fault, I personally felt that although he had not said an absolute no, essentially we where getting the brush off and I have spoken to Jake about finding a new location for the internal pier shot.

Otherwise we made good progress on ideas for how we would shoot and most of all I was able to connect a bit with Rusty and riff on ideas and begin to develop what I hope will be a very fruitful working relationship


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